iSH gains vital backing to help regenerate community with jobs, skills, and industry opportunities

24th February 2022

Hundreds of jobs are set to be created after a regeneration initiative of regional, national and international significance gained vital backing.
The Industrial Solutions Hub (iSH) will bring a range of economic and social benefits to West Cumbria through wide-ranging projects which will have a positive impact on people, the economy, the community and the environment.

Based in Cleator Moor, iSH has been given the backing of Copeland Borough Council which signals the start of iSH pushing ahead with its exciting plans which will lead to hundreds of jobs.

iSH will create a solutions hub where businesses in Cumbria will be able to collaborate and work with other specialist companies from around the UK and the rest of the world to deliver solutions to industry challenges which can then be exported around the globe, helping organisations expand and create further job opportunities.

In addition, iSH aims to create a hub where research and development can take place, ideas can be developed and products manufactured. It will also offer business support.

At a meeting on Tuesday Copeland Council agreed to the establishment of the iSH company as a wholly owned ‘arms-length’ private company funded by Sellafield and the NDA in its early years.

John Maddison, iSH programme director, said: “This is a hugely significant day for iSH and we thank Copeland Borough Council, Sellafield and the NDA for their vision and their commitment to a programme which will help regenerate lives and businesses as well as an entire community.

“iSH is about Making Ideas Work. It’s about creating the environment for jobs, employment, skills and training opportunities, it’s about entrepreneurs, businesses and industry coming together to collaborate and design, develop and manufacture innovative solutions. And, most of all, through that success and business growth, it’s about making a positive difference to people’s lives and regenerating a community.

“It will be a massive boost for Cleator Moor and West Cumbria bringing hundreds of people to the area for their daily business. They may decide to live here, they will certainly spend their money here.”

Copeland Borough Council chief executive Pat Graham said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity for the Cleator Moor community, it will be at the heart of an initiative which will bring wide-ranging benefits to the whole Copeland community.

“The iSH project aims to capitalise on the world-leading capability that exists within the Sellafield Ltd site, its workforce and supply chain, to grow capability beyond Sellafield Ltd and its mission, to provide a wider breadth of opportunity for businesses and individuals in the local economy, to encourage diversity and innovation, to provide new job opportunities and improve social conditions for local communities.

“In the medium term the iSH Company will enable the local economy to diversify into new sectors, markets and industries utilising existing expertise to allow business activities to develop, grow and export.

“Through this, the ambition is to make the region a Centre of Excellence for businesses and business activities which are not solely related to the Sellafield site.

“For the town, investment will come flooding in and the opportunities created will benefit every generation.”
Part of the initial funding for the iSH project comes through the Cleator Moor Town Deal. The Town Deal Board, working with Copeland Borough Council, secured an offer of £22.5m from Government in June 2021 for five different projects which will help the area and its communities to thrive for years to come.

One of these projects is Enterprising Town, Phase 1 of iSH to develop new facilities at the Leconfield Estate in Cleator Moor in order to harness new employment opportunities for the community and to attract further investment and skills to the area.

The Town Deal project at Leconfield focuses on utilising funding offered by the Government and other sources to create a new, flexible hub and commercial building space as well as improvements and landscaping to the existing site, benefiting both the community and estate tenants through the longer term development of skills and business support.

John said: “iSH, in partnership with the Town Deal, is about people and the regeneration of a place. It’s very rare you get this kind of chance to bring new opportunities to a place and to make such a positive difference in that place.

“There is so much capability in the local community. I can’t see anywhere else in the UK which has the opportunity to grab hold of such innovative capability and evolve it into something more, something bigger, something different.

“We have a unique opportunity here to work together to bring about positive change.”

The whole of the Town Deal’s Enterprising Town project is due to be completed in the next two to five years. The full larger site across Cleator Moor is likely to be complete in the next 10 to 15 years.