University presence for Blackpool town centre

Autumn 2018: Hundreds of workers from Slater Gordon Solutions Motor, in Sir Frank Whittle Way, South Shore, will move into the council offices in Bickerstaffe Square.
Autumn 2018: Hundreds of workers from Slater Gordon Solutions Motor, in Sir Frank Whittle Way, South Shore, will move into the council offices in Bickerstaffe Square.
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A vacant space in a flagship council building is be used to bring a university presence to Blackpool town centre.

A vacant space in a flagship council building is be used to bring a university presence to Blackpool town centre.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with left to right Blackpool Council chief executive Neil Jack, Bev Robinson and Prof Andrew Atherton from Lancaster University, which launched the strategic alliance

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with left to right Blackpool Council chief executive Neil Jack, Bev Robinson and Prof Andrew Atherton from Lancaster University, which launched the strategic alliance

Education chiefs and Blackpool Council have linked up to create a specialist health and social care training and research hub.

It will be based on part of the ground floor at the council’s Bickerstaffe House base on Talbot Road.

The new venture will take over space previously occupied by a fitness centre, which the council closed when a private gym opened in 2016 on the ground floor of the Talbot Road multi-storey car park.

The council is working with Blackpool and The Fylde College and Lancaster University to create the hub, which will deliver courses from September.

Coun Graham Cain, cabinet secretary at Blackpool Council, said: “We are delighted this innovative project will be based at Bickerstaffe House.

“In addition to the benefits the scheme will bring, it is also fantastic news for the town centre businesses.

“Bringing students right into the heart of the town centre should also be a boost to shops, cafes and bars.”

The courses will initially be aimed at people seeking a career in health and social care or who are already working in that sector.

The research arm of the initiative will consider solutions to some of Blackpool’s health problems such as obesity and shorter-than-average levels of life expectancy.

Bev Robinson, principal and chief executive of Blackpool and The Fylde College, said: “We are delighted to be joining with our partners to deliver much-needed health and social care education and training out of Bickerstaffe House. Health and social care is a key priority for Blackpool and Lancashire as a whole, with forecasts suggesting employment in the county’s health and social care sector is set to grow.”

Professor John Goodacre, associate dean for engagement and innovation in health and medicine at Lancaster University, said: “From a health perspective, the building will provide a focus for linking the alliance to the new Health Innovation Campus at Lancaster University, with the aim of co-creating and co-developing innovation for population health.”

The site will also include representatives from Better Start, HeadStart, Fulfilling Lives and the Fylde Coast Health and Social Care Career Academy.