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New Shadow Board of Young People set to drive forward Cumbria’s prosperity

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP), responsible for working in partnership to support businesses to deliver economic growth in Cumbria, is to create a Shadow Board, which will give younger people the opportunity to inform and advise the main Board on its strategy and investment decisions.

Members will be aged 18-35, live or work in Cumbria and have a real interest in all aspects of the economic growth agenda. Sectoral representation and the type and size of businesses will be carefully considered to ensure that the Shadow Board fully reflects the make-up of Cumbria’s economy, with individuals invited from the private, public and voluntary sectors.

The decision to develop the Shadow Board builds upon the significant progress that Cumbria LEP has made in making sure that its Board fully represents the community it serves. Over the last twelve months it has worked to encourage female representation, which meant that it met its 2020 gender equality milestone target a year ahead of schedule. It has also appointed a Board Diversity Champion, Andrew Wren, who has been leading the charge in making sure that CLEP delivers its commitment to equality and diversity.

Andrew said: “In considering the equality, diversity and inclusivity of the Board, we are genuinely committed to representing the communities that we serve. We have made excellent progress on gender representation and we now want to make equally strong progress on broader diversity issues and encouraging representation from under-represented groups.

“In Cumbria, we recognise that one of these groups is our young people as we have the slowest growing population of any LEP area in the country. It is therefore really important that we hear from our young people and that they have a strong voice in shaping our economic future as we need all of your young people to want to live, work and build their career here.”

Caleb Deeks, Director, Policy, Delivery and Private Office with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Cumbria LEP’s Sponsor Director, attended the latest Cumbria LEP Board meeting and welcomed the Shadow Board initiative.

He said: “The Department is committed to improving the diversity of all LEP Boards, as outlined in the Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships report, and one of the key under-represented groups in Cumbria is young people, given the declining working age population, so this move is to be applauded.”

Jo Lappin, Cumbria LEP Chief Executive, said: “We recognise that young people are one of our most valuable assets and it’s therefore really important that they have a stake in the future of our economy and are involved in influencing CLEP’s activities going forward. The Shadow Board is an excellent opportunity to make sure that this happens.

“The Board has made a really important commitment to introduce a Shadow Board and at their next meeting will consider the arrangements for introducing this.”

The nominations process, role description and working arrangements will be considered by the CLEP Board at its next meeting on 27 September.

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