Board asks Darreners to share their views on the town
The Darwen Town Deal board is inviting residents to support their work to secure up to £25m to help kick start the transformation of the town and surrounding area.
The board is made up of experts all with links to Darwen who are giving their time and skills to develop an investment plan to bid for as much of the funding as possible – as the full £25m isn’t guaranteed.
They’ve already spoken to residents, businesses and community groups to help shape the plans and now they’re looking for residents to take part in new focus groups and online digital walks.
Chair of the Darwen Town Deal Board, Wayne Wild, Group Commercial Director of WEC Group – one of the town’s biggest employers, said:
As a board, we are working really hard on behalf of the residents in Darwen.
We all have strong links to the town and want to do the very best we can to secure as much of the money as possible.
What we need now is for residents to volunteer to take part in new focus groups. Due to the restrictions currently in place to control the spread of coronavirus, these will need to be held online to ensure we keep everyone safe.
It’s a chance for residents, businesses and representatives from community groups – all those who really know and love Darwen – to share their thoughts on what makes Darwen special, what the town means to them and how they use the town centre and the surrounding landscape.
We will use the feedback as part of the work we’re doing on the investment plan which will be submitted in the early New Year.
The Government has set out guidelines for how the money needs to be spent with a focus on projects that will improve the local economy and regenerate the area.
This includes things like new buildings and developments, new facilities and infrastructure – including roads, gateways and digital connectivity.
The funding isn’t really designed for community projects as such, but £750,000 has been made available for initiatives that residents have said are important, including restoring the iconic Darwen Tower.
Mr Wild added:
In normal times, we would have loved to have been able to bring residents together in a room and have these discussions, but we’re adapting and doing everything we can to work within the guidelines, but still ensure residents have a chance to have their say.
Everything we are doing is for them and the future of our town.
Before the new tier 3 restrictions were put in place, we’d already been out and about in the town centre stopping people and talking to them and some really valuable feedback has already been shared.
We’ve also been talking to businesses and community groups and are using what they say to underpin the work we’re doing.
The new focus groups will be held virtually and there’s also be a chance to arrange digital walks to give residents the chance to tour the town and tell us what is important to them.
I’d like to thank everyone who has already given their time and encourage people to come forward to sign-up for the new groups.”
You can find out more information and sign-up to the events by visiting the new Darwen Town Deal Website: www.darwentowndeal.co.uk