Blackburn and Darwen are market towns located on the edge of Lancashire’s Ribble Valley, at the heart of the North West region; with a population of 146,700, of which 28.7% is aged between 0-19 and the proportion of Asian heritage population is 26.5%.
Only 20 miles from Manchester and an hour’s drive from Liverpool, the M65 directly links to the M6, M61 and M66 motorways providing easy access to the region’s two international airports and towns and cities across the North of England.
As two former mill towns the traditional narrative has been one of post-industrial social issues, deprivation challenge and decline. In the past this approach has been successful in attracting government and grant funding; but it was recognised that to attract inward investment and be seen as a desirable place to visit, live, do business it is vital that the area is more positively positioned and promotes itself better.
With increasing competition from other locations locally, regionally and nationally, and the need to be strongly positioned to make the most of the Northern Powerhouse, thinkingplace was commissioned to develop a forward looking narrative and brand for Blackburn and Darwen.
Our work is still ongoing but to date includes:
What they say
“Their approach was refreshing, bespoke to our needs and challenged how we all thought about the place and their emphasis in creating place not organisational ownership for promoting Blackburn and Darwen struck a note with all the stakeholders. They really got ‘under the skin’ of the place and prioritised aspects of the area that hadn’t received sufficient prominence such as the extremely young population. We always received ‘straight talking’, constructive and very good value support and advice. Throughout the process it felt like Blackburn and Darwen was their home or workplace as their insight, passion and enthusiasm was infectious and inspiring.”
Chair, Blackburn with Darwen Local Strategic Partnership