This newly established team will be responsible for channelling funding from the nation-wide Coastal Communities Fund, to best meet the unique geographic, social and environmental needs of this area.

Barrow-in-Furness is Exceptional.

Barrow comes top of all 325 English boroughs for the quality of its landscapes and the number of its nature reserves in a 2016 survey by the Royal Society of Arts and Industry commissioned by the Heritage Lottery.

…but its ranks 162nd for how its communities use their landscape.

In keeping with Art Gene’s methodology the project involves seeking out and channelling community-led, future-focused solutions which trigger sustainable change and address long-established problems.

Our starting point is a green infrastructure plan to support and enhance current business and social initiatives. This will shape a number of potential community-led projects to make environmental improvements and new connections to existing greenspaces.

Due to the scale of this project (in financial, geographic and partnership terms), the Coastal Communities Team will be an opportunity for Art Gene to demonstrate on a national scale – particularly to local authorities and government agencies – that methods like ours produce better and longer-term value and results than top-down business leader led grants (which often haemorrhage money and profit relatively few).

Health and Wellbeing Indicators

The average life expectancy in the borough for males is 76.9 years (England average:79.5) and for 81.6 for females (England average: 83.2). There are also significant health inequalities within districts of Barrow, with a 12.7 year gap between the wards with the highest and lowest healthy life expectancies.

Together, the Cumbrian Coastal Communities Team is tackling the preventable health inequality of the area, which includes obesity, preventable cancers and liver diseases. We will be addressing their reasons, and proposing solutions that mine the unique natural resources our coastal communities have at their doorstep. Importantly, we will never be considering people as needing to be helped: we will think of them as a great part of the many assets our area has to offer, and will be working out how to both celebrate and utilise their strengths to build powerful, healthier communities.

The over-riding needs in the most deprived areas are:

  • Jobs
  • Low levels of entrepreneurship
  • Slow self-esteem
  • Poor health
  • Degraded environment
  • Poor place identity

Our previous projects have all approached social, built and environmental challenges with our unique blend of intelligence, heart and creativity. Over the years we have increasingly learnt techniques to pose questions and listen, record and distil answers; honed a range of methods to communicate information and bring learning and training opportunities throughout the communities we touch. Together, we discover which interventions to make – how to ‘give form to need’ – and never compromise on what to consider feasible.

People Involved – Click to view

For more detailed information, please download our Economic Place Plan here, or visit the Coastal Communities website here, or contact us with a question.

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