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£0.5 Million win for Morecambe Bay Partnership

Thursday, 14th February 2013

A Boost to the Local Tourism and Economy

Morecambe Bay Partnership has secured half a million pounds for Bay-wide tourism projects from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund.  Susannah Bleakley who co-ordinated the bid said: “This is great news for the Bay area - we hope this will bring an economic boost to the whole area, support over 260 tourism-related jobs and safeguard many thousands more.  The funding will be used to connect and sign a 200Km ‘Bay Cycle Way’, deliver events, develop trails and apps to improve information for visitors and provide over 300 training places to support tourism businesses.  Our Scheme is called ‘700 Days to transform the Bay’ – the money is time-limited, we have just two years to deliver.

700 Days will create new opportunities for visitors from near and far to explore and enjoy this fascinating area.  Focusing on four clusters around the Bay, the Scheme aims to develop a distinctive, yet diverse offer within each cluster, and support the marketing of a more compelling destination.  We want to bring more visitors who stay longer, travel sustainably, spend more, and repeat their visits.”
Cllr Tony Markley, Cumbria County Council Cabinet Member for Economy & Highways said, “The visitor economy is one of Cumbria’s key sectors with potential for sustainable growth.  We are delighted to see 700 Days go ahead – this imaginative scheme will help to open up the Bay area, not least through the development of a Bay Cycle Route, and also provide visitors with more information and a greater overall visitor experience.  This investment will boost trade and benefiting the whole Bay area making it more attractive to live and invest in, as well as visit.”

Richard Greenwood, Chair of the 700 Days Board and Development Director at Cumbria Tourism said, “We believe this Scheme can make a tangible difference to tourism opportunities around the Bay.  In designing 700 Days we’ve been careful to see that uplift in visitor numbers does not merely displace spending from elsewhere in Cumbria and Lancashire.  For this reason the Scheme seeks to raise quality, add value and increase visitor spending, particularly amongst the growing number of cultural and natural tourists that we anticipate will be attracted to the area. There’s also an international dimension - we would expect to see an increase in overseas visitors to Morecambe Bay over the next 2-3 years as a result of the activity proposed.”

Economic analysis of the impact of the Scheme, concluded:  “The Scheme can deliver a 3% uplift in tourism spend and employment by end of 2016.  This is an increase in tourism revenue of £15 million, which equates to 268 new indirect jobs around the Bay with a further 8,200 jobs safeguarded.”
In addition, the Scheme will deliver 300 training places, connect 200 Km of cycleway, develop 3 new training courses, support 100 businesses and generate new business opportunities. Further value will come from attracting talent, building skills, improving the image of the area, and making more of the existing assets. 

Captain Graham Maclean, Morecambe Bay Partnership Chair (formerly of Heysham Ports) said, “This adds to an impressive string of success - £2 million for Headlands to Headspace (H2H), £0.6 million for the Nature Improvement Area, and £1.2 million for Source to Sea.  The way this Schemes dovetails with these other major investments, means it will deliver more bang for buck and an excellent return on investment.”

Susannah Bleakley of Morecambe Bay Partnership added, “We have more projects in the pipeline and want to make more good things happen, so that Morecambe Bay is recognised as an outstanding natural and cultural heritage site.  Sadly, for too long the Bay has been marginalised, yet this project shows the power of the Bay as a unifying force that can drive positive changes for our communities.” 

About the Coastal Communities Fund:

20 projects were selected for funding from the Coastal Communities Scheme on the basis that they would promote sustainable economic growth and jobs in their communities, and offer training or innovative business opportunities for the local area.

Money is allocated to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and is equal to 50 per cent of the revenues generated by the Crown Estate's marine assets in that area. It is distributed in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund's 'BIG Fund'.  Based on the Crown Estate's Marine revenues in 2010/11 (£47 million) the overall fund was worth just under £24 million in 2012.  Funds can be used to support both capital and revenue projects and communities are encouraged to match funds with other pots of money. 

In August 2012, the Department for Communities and Local Government announced the funding breakdown for the UK for the Coastal Communities Fund for 2013/2014, which will increase from £24m to £28m.

About Morecambe Bay Partnership
Morecambe Bay Partnership is a local charity which takes action to improve the environment and quality of life around the Bay.  The Partnership is delivering a number of large grant-funded programmes around the Bay.  As well as co-ordinating beach cleans and other activities around the Bay from Barrow to Fleetwood, helping to bring local people and organisations together.

For further information, please contact:

Susannah Bleakley, Partnership Manager, Morecambe Bay Partnership
01539 735900 or 07825 583 6563
PLEASE NOTE Susannah will be unavailable on Monday 11 Feb but is happy to pre-record interviews…

Alternative Contact: Richard Greenwood, Cumbria Tourism, 01539 825024 or 822222 or 07985 658 830 mobile,

For images or a map/diagram of the area please contact Charlotte Thompson, Cumbria County Council media unit on 01228 226 325.

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