Barnsley Futures – Levelling Up Fund Bid

Genecon was appointed to support The Barnsley Future Levelling Up Fund Bid in 2022.

We managed a multi-consultancy team who developed the bid, and were responsible for the economic case submission

Barnsleys bid was successful and awarded £10.2m to transform cultural and well-being facilities in the town centre.

The funding will be used to deliver:

  • The creation of a new Northern Academy for Vocal Excellence (NAVE) to deliver outstanding singing tuition to young people and serve as a permanent home to the world-renowned Barnsley Youth Choir (ranked 5th best in the world).  
  • A new activity park as part town centre’s forthcoming Youth Zone, including a skate park, bike track, new active routes and play spaces  
  • A Young People’s Wellbeing Hub ‘H.O.M.E.’  to provide fit-for-purpose places for services focused on emotional well-being and resilience including a broad range of mental health and well-being activity.  
  • The refurbishment of The Civic cultural centre to secure its future and extend its reach, bringing into use parts of the building not used for many years so it can work with and attract new audiences, particularly young people under 30, and develop their skills and talents. 

The Barnsley Futures had notable characteristics which made the application compelling, and will make the projects’ delivery impactful: 

  1. The package has a clear focus which responds to an identified challenge for Barnsley.  

Young people in Barnsley face a poor start in life (and often a poorer start than elsewhere in the country).  Therefore, Barnsley Futures is focused on creating facilities to benefit of young people and give them a better start in life.  

  1. Investment will unlock the potential of existing local community assets and strengths. 

By supporting the Youth Choir, Youth Hub and Civic, the funding is being used to capitalise on great things people in Barnsley are already doing and significantly increase their positive impact. 

  1. The projects fit within a wider masterplan for Barnsley’s regeneration. 

The investments will complement and be within walking distance of each other, and all accessible from the Glass Works and the Seam (both supported by the Future High Streets Fund), which are transforming the retail, leisure, and employment offer in the town centre. 

  1. The bid brings together stakeholders and residents to achieve its vision.  

Rather than Barnsley Council working alone to try deliver the desired outcomes, the projects were designed and will be delivered alongside other organisations, who themselves will co-design the projects and services with residents. 

  1. It addresses multiple levelling up missions. 

Through providing access to life-changing activities, the funding will improve the health and well-being, educational attainment, pride in place, and economic outcomes amongst young people. 

Levelling Up bids elsewhere shared some or all these characteristics, but we feel Barnsley Futures does all the above especially well. Congratulations to Barnsley Council for bringing together such a package, through months (and years) of hard work.