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  • Oliver Hodgson

Conference showcases range of support available

Mike Starkie hosted Copeland's first social inclusion conference. PIC: Oliver Hodgson

THE range of support available for Copeland’s residents has been highlighted at the borough’s first Social Inclusion Conference.

Copeland Council held the conference in St Bees on Friday; the purpose of which was to showcase projects run by the council and partners that aim to provide equal opportunities for residents of all ages.

Trudy Harrison PIC: Oliver Hodgson

Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, hosted the conference and speaking were: Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland; Jamie Reed, Head of Corporate Affairs at Sellafield Ltd; Hazel Blears, Advisor to Well Whitehaven; Joanne Crowe, Operations Manager at Phoenix Enterprise Centre; Suzanne Wilson, Research Fellow in Social Inclusion and Community Engagement at the Centre for Citizenship and Community, University of Central Lancashire; Rachel Holliday, Founder and Director of Time To Change; Julie Betteridge, Director of Growth and Inclusive Communities at Copeland Borough Council, and Pat Graham, Chief Executive of Copeland Borough Council.

The conference shared details and success stories from the range of inclusion programmes that are operating across Copeland. These included:

  • The Well Whitehaven project and the Women Out West centre to improve the health and wellbeing of residents in Whitehaven and the surrounding areas;

  • Calderwood House homeless support service in Egremont;

  • The Realising Our Potential project (with Lakes College) to improve life-skills for those with physical or learning disabilities;

  • Copeland Council’s housing support for people suffering domestic abuse or sexual exploitation;

  • The Copeland Work and Skills Partnership that runs employability workshops and training schemes;

  • Phoenix Enterprise Centre’s digital inclusion project across Cleator Moor, Whitehaven and Millom.

Jamie Reed PIC: Oliver Hodgson

Mr Starkie said: “The conference was a huge success, and the fact that it drove such interest demonstrates the supportive community that we live in.

“Support for our social inclusion programme is unanimous across Copeland Council, and this commitment is shared across our wide range of partners, without whom we could not be making such a difference to our residents’ lives.

“I believe our social inclusion programme is unprecedented among local authorities across the country and, through strong partnership working, we continue to develop and reinforce the programme, providing positive results wherever we look.

“The conference gave ourselves and partners the opportunity to shine a light on the programme, and also to understand where there are gaps in our provision as we continue to develop it in the future.

“I’d like to thank all our speakers, exhibitors and guests for supporting the event, with particular thanks to Sellafield Ltd for not only sponsoring the conference but for its continued commitment to the social agenda across West Cumbria.”

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