Business leaders launch Blackburn and Darwen ‘story’

Published Tuesday 22 March 2016 at 7:00

A major initiative is launched today to throw a spotlight on all that is outstanding in Blackburn and Darwen – in a bid to attract more investors, visitors, tourists  and residents.

The new Blackburn and Darwen ‘story’ will be unveiled at a breakfast event for business leaders and public and voluntary sector organisations at Blackburn’s iconic Cathedral Quarter.

It is the culmination of 18 months’ work led by the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) – a multi-agency group that represents the diverse public, private and third sectors in Blackburn and Darwen – to understand and challenge stereotypical perceptions of the borough.

It aims to celebrate the area’s greatest strengths and assets and raise the profile of the place to encourage people to live, work and encourage opportunity and prosperity. The work has been prompted by the LSP’s Plan for Prosperity 2014-20, which identified image and marketing as a key priority.

Around 200 people are expected to attend the event and they will be tasked with taking positive messages about Blackburn and Darwen out into Lancashire, the North West region and further afield to help put it firmly on the map.

Speakers at the event include Ian Brown, a local businessman and Director of the HIVE network, Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Wayne Wild, of Darwen-based WEC, Harriet Roberts of Blackburn BID and Joyceylyn Neve of the Seafood Pub Company. Business leaders will announce the next steps for promoting the place and leading efforts to make the area more attractive to business, investors and visitors.

Cllr Phil Riley said:

From a local authority perspective we’re tremendously excited about the potential of this initiative and fully supportive of it.

This is all about the place where we live and we’re delighted that it’s being led by our Local Strategic Partnership and in particular our colleagues in the business community. As a council we will be doing our best to ensure that all aspects of our work across the place is aligned behind this new approach and story.

We need to ensure our voice is heard, we need to influence and impress people, most of whom will never have been here, and we need to compete like never before. This new approach puts us on the front foot and I hope everybody will get behind this approach and show their support.”

Mo Isap - Chair of Blackburn with Darwen Local Strategic Partnership

Mo Isap, Chair of Blackburn with Darwen Local Strategic Partnership

Mo Isap, Chair of Blackburn with Darwen Local Strategic Partnership, said:

We should never underestimate the power and importance of place. We have emotional connections with place and this influences business and investment decisions. The way Blackburn and Darwen are thought about and the experiences they provide really matter.

The ‘Blackburn with Darwen story’ has been developed to identify what makes us distinctive by creating a competitive and compelling narrative that all organisations can use to promote the place effectively.

In determining our story we have looked at how the place is perceived, what people say about us. The story we have created is for everyone, in all aspects of life and it is especially important for how we talk about ourselves to those outside the area. At the heart of our story we realised that we needed to identify the assets and strengths that define what we are all about; what makes this place and its people special and what makes them great.

“The Blackburn with Darwen brand will help reinstate our place as the land of opportunity, of community, of leisure and prosperity.”

Blackburn and Darwen website homepage

The Blackburn and Darwen place web portal

A dedicated place web portal has also been launched today. For more information visit:

A short video has also been put together showcasing everything that is great about the borough.


About the speakers:

  • Wayne Wild, Group Commercial Director, WEC
    Based in Darwen, WEC comprises 14 companies specialising in individual areas of engineering and fabrication, supplying a diverse range of industries including rail, nuclear and defence.
  • Harriet Roberts, Management Consultant for Blackburn BID and Media Manager for Heritage Open Days
    In the last two years Harriet has created a high profile programme of creative partnership events and campaigns for the town centre which are part of a wider remit to change perceptions and increase visitors.
  • Ian Brown, director of HIVE business leaders network, local businessman and driving force behind the HIVE business school.
  • Joycelyn Neve, Managing Director, Seafood Pub Company
    The Seafood Pub Compnay is a multi-award winning group of gastropubs in Lancashire, including the Oyster and Otter.
  • Ruth Connor, Chief Executive, Marketing Lancashire
    Marketing Lancashire is responsible for building the Lancashire brand across national and international markets as a place to do business, invest, live, visit and study.




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