A major new project to give the Lancaster region a stronger and more competitive advantage has been launched to business leaders and community representatives.

The launch of the Lancaster Story will feature a number of influential speakers including Si Bellamy OBE, head of Eden Project International.

As excitement builds following the recent announcement of Eden’s proposed new attraction in Morecambe, Si will be talking more about the project and how it will help to transform the area.

Also speaking at the event are Prof Dame Sue Black (Lancaster University), Susan Parsonage (chief executive of Lancaster City Council), Alison Clark (Arts Council) and Alistair Eagles (CEO of Sea Truck Ferries and President of the Lancaster Chamber).

The launch is the culmination of intensive work by organisations and individuals from across the wider Lancaster community, who came together in 2017 to develop an exciting ‘place brand’ to attract investment, jobs, students, visitors and people to live in the area.

The brand puts the spotlight on the Lancaster region as an area which celebrates its culture and heritage, energises entrepreneurial excellence and is the location of choice for businesses and people wanting to relocate.

At its core is a strong narrative and cleverly articulated visual language that sums up the region’s key elements – connectivity, culture, history, future aspirations and community.

Championing and leading the strategic promotion of the brand will be the Place Board, a partnership of local business professionals, entrepreneurs and representatives from the public sector.

They will develop an exciting strategy for promoting the region and leading efforts to make the area more attractive to businesses, investors and visitors.

A series of workshops in the New Year are also being arranged to help local businesses adopt the brand and become ambassadors for the Lancaster region.

Alistair Eagles, who will also be chairing the Place Board said: “I really love our region and honestly believe that we are entering an exciting new chapter in our history. The Bay Gateway has opened up a wealth of new opportunities and we now have some of the best transport links in the country, not only by road and rail but also by sea. Critical to our future will be attracting more businesses into the area and to do that we need to shout loud and proud about who we are and what we have to offer, to stand out from the crowd. I believe the launch of the Lancaster Story will do just that and drive real improvement and growth.”

Also taking a seat on the Place Board is prominent local businessman Michael Gibson, who added: “Lancaster is a fantastic place to live and work with talented, creative and innovative people at every turn and companies growing and thriving.

“We’ve been hiding this away for too long and now is our opportunity to shout to the world about just how great Lancaster and the district is so we can seize the opportunities to build the high-skilled high-wage economy that benefits everyone.”

The brand’s visual identity is rooted in the Lancaster district’s diverse community and is represented as a kaleidoscope that unfolds to reveal its distinct areas of the city, rural countryside and coastal areas.

The process was kick-started by Lancaster City Council as part of its priority of creating strong conditions for growth so businesses can thrive and create new jobs.

Coun Janice Hanson, the city council’s Cabinet member for regeneration and planning, added: “There are many compelling reasons for businesses to invest in the Lancaster region but what we have lacked until now is a way to tell our story. “The launch of the place brand will help us to develop the local economy, attract visitors and build civic pride in our wonderful area.”

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