Welcome To Furness Economic Development Forum

The Furness Economic Development Forum (FEDF) operates from Unit 4, Trinity Enterprise Centre at Furness Business Park, Barrow. Its office is adjacent to that of Cumbria Growth Hub. Coastal Communities Funds secured in June 2015 provide a key resource facilitating strengthening of supply chains, transforming skills and complementing resources from Dong Energy Community Fund, Ogden Trust, trade unions and other sources.

Your two main contacts  at FEDF are:

Company Directors, local government leaders and Central Government can follow the work of FEDF at  www.fedf.co.uk or Twitter @fedfsupplychain.

FEDF’s economic development priorities are set out in a “Delivery Plan” which has a focus on:

  • employment education and skills;
  • infrastructure;
  • business engagement;
  • quality of life improvements.

FEDF also deals with inward investment, can help local companies to find sites premises for  expansion or finance for investment.  Through its Accommodation Hub service it helps firms to find accommodation for  their incoming workforces in apartments, flats, houses or other facilities locally. It also assists developers pinpoint potential for new hotel and other forms of accommodation delivery.

FEDF has a good insight into the economy using original commissioned and its own research which companies can call upon to help identify new business opportunities.

FEDF is a public, private sector partnership. Its Chairperson is  Jackie Arnold MBE.
The current membership is as follows:
John Woodcock, MP for Barrow and Furness
BAE Systems Maritime Submarines
Barrow BID (Business Improvement District)
Cumbria Chamber of Commerce/Cumbria Growth Hub
Cumbria Tourism
Dong Energy
Federation of Small Businesses
Furness College
Holker Estates
Keep our Future Afloat Campaign(Unite/GMB)
Barrow in Furness Borough Council
Cumbria County Council
South Lakeland District Council
NHS Clinical Commissioning Group

FEDF’s objective is to support the economic growth of the Furness area (defined as the area within the Barrow and Furness Parliamentary Constituency boundary) and its companies through leadership, direct provision of services by partner organisations, by influencing others and coordination.

FEDF evolved from an initiative led by John Woodcock, MP for Barrow and Furness, whose report A National Cradle for Advanced Manufacturing – Towards a new economic vision for Furness’ ,June 2012,updated in June 2013 provided a framework for the first FEDF Delivery Plan,formally launched on 5th December 2014 which covers the period 2014 to 2017.

The 2014-2017 Delivery Plan is a rolling forward list of priorities which has widespread buy-in across the business, local government, voluntary and health sectors.

The Delivery Plan’s focus is on four economic drivers:
– education, employment and skills for the future;
– business engagement, especially supply chain strengthening and growth, and Growth Hub support;
– infrastructure modernisation including business park developments and improving housing choice;
– quality of life enhancement.

FEDF” works closely with Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to contribute to delivery of its strategy, facilitate economic growth through the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan , the LEP Skills Plan, its Infrastructure Plan, and its Growth Deals with Government. It also collaborates with Liverpool LEP and Humber LEP as part of an initiative to promote the ports of the Humber, Merseyside and Barrow as Gateways to the Northern Powerhouse Region. FEDF represents Cumbrian interests on the Northwest Manufacturing Forum and is liaison point for UK’s Oil and Gas Authority in Northwest England.

To meet the needs of these investments the Furness area need to grow its own workforce and attract in more skilled people, part of FEDF’s Delivery Plan involves raising awareness of the opportunities to work in Furness in globally operating, state of the art, large and sme sized businesses. It also involves offering bursaries to smes to take on apprentices and supporting the work of Furness Education and Skills Partnership (FESP) in a joint initiative involving Royal Academy of Engineering, Dong Energy Community Fund.

In delivering  the area’s economic development priorities. FEDF works with numerous private sector partners and organisations such as Cumbria Growth Hub, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, Furness College and liaises with trade unions.

FEDF works closely with Cumbria Growth Hub to ensure companies can potentially access its discretionary funds and advice. Currently the main contacts there are Adrian Luckham and Martin Toomey. Cumbria Chamber of Commerce also assists especially through its new business start-up scheme through advisors such as Sonya Lengweiler and Department of International Trade’s export advisors.

FEDF  can help companies to call upon the Northern Powerhouse Fund and that of Enterprise Answers either directly or through Cumbria Chamber of Commerce its Growth Hub  or LEP Growth Deal Funding.

FEDF is currently delivering projects in partnership with Cumbria Chamber of Commerce (some supplier support) and Furness College(apprenticeship bursaries for sme sized firms).It also works with Department for International Trade and is part of an officials Support Group acting on behalf of FEDF comprising officers of FEDF, Barrow Council, Furness College and Bae Systems with help from Cumbria Council,South Lakeland Council.

FEDF’s flagship schemes are to deliver proposals  to strengthen supply chains and transform skills. These are is funded by Coastal Communities Fund via direct grant from DCLG to Barrow Borough Council. Through the Fund businesses and individuals are offered support through work-streams which include:

CONTRACT PIPELINES AWARENESS RAISING enabling your businesses to easily access information on active and upcoming pipeline of contracts,the packages of work involved and minimum requirements for pre-qualification to tender for work.
FEDF’s unique guide to “opening doors to major projects” introduces you to planned and current investments in SW Cumbria in new life sciences, defence, subsea electronics, energy, road power, transport and rail developments, new manufacturing activity or public sector schools, health care and business park development that offer supplier opportunities.
The aim is to inform company owners, procurement and marketing teams of the huge amount of new investment and to facilitate access to key contacts within the organisations proposing developments, their main contractors or suppliers.
We can also help companies access local and national supplier opportunities on projects such as Hinkley C power station(HS2) and other schemes in either the private sector, local authority Utilities, NHS capital programmes or the National Infrastructure Programme. This information is offered on a 1-to-1 basis and through targeted events, web or app services.

INTENSIVE ONE-TO-ONE SUPPORT to help firms with assistance which can include for example identification of who to contact in large companies, understanding and developing accreditations or pre-qualification registrations, access to finance grants, finding sites for suppliers or skills or developing systems and processes to become fit to bid for and win contracts. Expert advisers can be provided to help businesses develop responses to contracts’ requirements and understand accreditation needs, pre-qualification requirements and put in place processes, procedures, capacity and capability to then go on to bid for contracts. Where required training and advice can be offered through the scheme to address these factors;

CAPABILITIES GUIDE DEVELOPMENT informs large companies about capacity and capabilities in the coastal area’s business base and enable sme sized companies to explore collaborative ventures by understanding what is on offer in other businesses. This information is available on a 1-to-1 basis.

GAP ANALYSIS OF SUPPLY CHAIN CAPABILITY identifies opportunities for companies to exploit gaps with new market offerings. It also helps to attract inward investment whereby incoming firms can work with local suppliers or foster growth of new businesses locally which seek to fill identified gaps.

•DEVELOPMENT OF A FURNESS SUPPLIER GROUP OR GROUPS to facilitate flexible new ways for small groups of firms to address supply chain barriers, develop ways to provide innovative supply chain offers, or facilitate networking access to best practice. By enabling firms to network, form new connections and know who to talk with they can pave the way for bidding for and winning contracts;

BROKERING LINKS BETWEEN SUPPLIERS AND BUYERS so that meaningful relationships can be forged and businesses can be encouraged to develop supply chain partnerships. Also to enable project contract needs and innovation requirements to be better understood. We will provide this help on a 1-to-1 basis or through events seminars, workshops or small groups. Specific meet the specifier or meet the buyer opportunities also emerge from this work-stream;

DELIVERY OF SUPPLY CHAIN GROWTH BEST PRACTICE ASSISTANCE through conferences, workshops, seminars to help build capacity, these to include;
– bespoke workshops and events to de-mystify the tender process and brief firms on prequalifying requirements;
– supplier to supplier networking and help to build collaborative ventures were SMEs can pool their resources;
– facilitating access to finance such as Cumbria Chamber of Commerce’s Growth Hub, Cumbria Growth Fund grants, innovation, export and other help including University expertise;

CAREER PATH AND NEW JOBS AWARENESS RAISING alerting residents to the opportunities these developments present for individuals to take up new career paths, jobs or apprenticeships; provision of information on skills demand and supply and access to resources of Furness College, Universities, private sector providers and bodies such as National Skills Academy Nuclear, Choose South Cumbria @_southcumbria.

APPRENTICESHIP BURSARIES – SUBSIDIES discretionary bursaries are available to assist sme owners (provided their firms are operating in supply chains) to take on new apprentices that become the supply chain workforce of the future. The offers range from £1,000 to £2,500 per apprentice and are available through an application process led by Furness College;

These services help companies to both address the most challenging barriers facing their organisations in developing a supply chain presence and deliver help to enable the businesses to position themselves to bid for and win new contract opportunities.


In Jan 2017 there were 4,650 people in Cumbria claiming either JSA or Universal Credit (those not in employment but required to seek work),The number in Barrow borough fell by 5.It increased by 40 in South Lakeland District.

Barrow has 1,120 claimants Cumbria’s highest total it also has the highest rate at 2.7%;There are 775 males and 375 females affected. The males rate of 3.7% and female rate of 1.7%  are the highest in Cumbria. Copeland at 2.3% is the next highest. Barrow and Copeland each have 4.6% aged 18-24 unemployment. Barrow has  only 43 NEETs aged 16-17 third highest in Cumbria.

Ward unemployment in Barrow is as follows

  • Barrow Island   120 7.2%
  • Barrow Central170 6.1%
  • Dalton North        45 1.1% Dalton has 100 out of work
  • Dalton South        55 1.5%
  • Hawcoat                 15  0.6%
  • Hindpool             200  5.5%
  • Newbarns              65 1.9%
  • Ormsgill                160 4.2%
  • Parkside                   70 1.9%
  • Risedale                 145 3.8%
  • Roosecote               20 0.8%
  • Walney North       50 1.7% Walney has 110 out of work
  • Walney South       60 1.9%

Central + Hindpool have 370 seeking work

Ward unemployment in South Lakeland is as follows

  • Broughton              10  0.6%
  • Cartmel                       5  0.2%
  • Coniston                     0  0%
  • Grange North          5  0.4%
  • Grange South           5 0.5%
  • Hawkshead                0
  • Holker                           0
  • Low Furness              0
  • Mid Furness              5 0.3%
  • Staveley Cartmel15 0.5%
  • Ulverston Central 5 0.6%  Ulverston has  only 100 out of work
  • Ulverston East     20 1.8%
  • Ulverston North 35 2.2%
  • Ulverston South 10 0.7%
  • Ulverston Town  10 1.0%
  • Ulverston West   20 1.7%

Furness and Cartmel has only 145 out of work Barrow has 1120 total unemployed pool is 1,265.

There were 6,917 job postings in Cumbria in the quarter to Jan 2017.Barrow had 519, Carlisle 1,854 and South Lakeland 995.

Barrow had the highest start up rate per 100 active enterprises with 13.8 starts per 100 active enterprises, next was Carlisle at 9.5.England average is 17.9.


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