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Whitehaven Education Campus | Development

Plans for a new education campus and community sports facilities in Whitehaven have taken a huge step forward with confirmation that the necessary multi-million pound funding package is now in place enabling the project to move to a more detailed planning phase, including consultation with the local school communities.


The unprecedented £33million investment will come from a range of partners including Britain’s Energy Coast, Copeland Community Fund, Cumbria County Council, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Sellafield Ltd. 


The campus proposal will include new state of the art facilities for St Benedict’s Catholic High School and Mayfield Special School and bring them together on the current St Benedict’s site replacing the buildings, radically improving the teaching and learning environment and creating the potential for boosting pupils’ aspiration and attainment.


As part of a two pronged approach, aimed at improving the whole community’s health and well-being as well as education, the proposal includes new, community accessible, sports provision on the campus site as well as new and refurbished facilities at Whitehaven Sports Centre. 

Overall the proposal is about investing in Copeland’s future, ensuring that there is the knowledge, skills and good health in the community to get the most from the opportunities presented by the anticipated growth of the nuclear and renewables industry.

With confirmation of the availability of funding, consultation with parents, pupils and the wider local community is set to start in September. The consultation will look at the design and layout of the new schools and sports facilities, as well as considering how to maximise the educational and broader health and well-being benefits of the new campus approach.


On current plans building work on the new campus could start as early as next summer, with the campus opening in 2018.


Jamie Reed MP, said:

“This has been a passion of mine for a decade now. The work has been painstaking and at times gruelling but this shows what can be achieved when we all share a common vision.

"These investments will be transformative for Whitehaven and for thousands of young people and their families now and in the future. It’s an enormous step forward. New schools, a new hospital, new nuclear investments. We’re building a new and exciting future and our best days are ahead of us.


“It’s a remarkable project, many doubted we could achieve it, but we don’t stop here - there’s more to be done. I’m personally grateful to all of the partners for backing the vision - and my message for the people of Copeland is clear: prepare to succeed."


Cllr Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council, said:

“Assembling a funding package of this size in the current financial climate is an incredible achievement. With the new campus, the potential is there to really transform the education of young people in Whitehaven and improve the health and well-being of the whole community. There has been a huge amount of work behind the scenes over the past two years to make this happen and all the funders are to be congratulated for grasping the opportunity this project presents. It is this kind of visionary approach the area needs to respond to the demand that will be created by the future growth of the nuclear and renewables industries. This really is a moment to celebrate.”


John Clarke, CEO of the NDA said: 
“We well understand the need to ensure local young people have the opportunity to benefit from the career opportunities that the nuclear industry can provide. We have over a 100 year mission at Sellafield and ensuring we can attract a motivated skilled workforce well into the future is crucial to our success. Also by improving facilities in the area that benefit the wider population creates an exciting package of infrastructure developments, building on other investments we have made across West Cumbria.”


Mayor of Copeland, Mike Starkie said:

“This is a great investment in education and sports facilities for the people of Copeland. I am pleased that Copeland Council has been a catalyst for this project. Working together, collaboratively we have been able to achieve this agreement.”

Chairman of Copeland Community Fund, John Rowlands said:

“Copeland Community Fund have a strong track record in supporting projects enabling community wellbeing.  The Campus will be provide access to new and improved sporting facilities for residents of Copeland through our support of the project.  This will build on the strong socio economic work of the fund in enabling new community facilities, addressing local health indicators and helping residents develop their potential.”

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