Essential health and social care education and training is to be delivered from the ground floor of Blackpool Council’s Bickerstaffe House headquarters, following the formation of a strategic alliance between Blackpool Council, Blackpool and The Fylde College and Lancaster University earlier this year.

Initial programmes to be delivered from Bickerstaffe House from September are aimed at those wishing to embark on a career in health and social care and professional development courses for those already working in the sector.

Later in the autumn, Lancaster University will begin using Bickerstaffe as a satellite to its Health Innovation Campus. 

Professor John Goodacre, Associate Dean for Engagement and Innovation in Health and Medicine at Lancaster University, said:

“From a health perspective, the building will provide a focus for linking the alliance to the new Health Innovation Campus at Lancaster University, with the aim of co-creating and co-developing innovation for population health.

“This will involve different staff and students across the university at different times, depending on how individual projects and collaborations develop. It will draw upon the university’s expertise in research, teaching and engagement in Health, and upon the various Health Innovation Groups which are being established in preparation for the Health Innovation Campus.”

Professor Andrew Atherton, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Lancaster University, added:

“We are pleased to be part of a strategic alliance that will deliver health and wellbeing improvements for the residents of Blackpool and the Fylde.”

The site will also include representatives from Better Start, HeadStart, Fulfilling Lives and the Fylde Coast Health and Social Care Career Academy.

It is hoped that bringing together the complementary skills and strengths of each partner organisation in one location will drive innovative approaches to improving health. It will also provide a platform for maximising the delivery and impact of new initiatives, for ensuring a joint approach towards future infrastructure and programme development and for attracting funding and resources to support further activity.

Cllr Graham Cain, Cabinet Secretary at Blackpool Council, said:

“We are delighted that this innovative project will be based at Bickerstaffe House. In addition to the benefits that the scheme will bring it is also fantastic news for the town centre businesses.

“Bringing students right into the heart of the town centre should also be a boost to shops, cafes and bars.”  

Bev Robinson OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of Blackpool and The Fylde College, added:

“We are delighted to be joining with our partners in the strategic alliance to deliver much-needed health and social care education and training out of Bickerstaffe House.

‘At B&FC we highly value our relationships with employers. Together, we co-create and develop the skills and knowledge which are essential for today’s workforce whilst securing rewarding careers for our students.

“Health and social care is a key priority for Blackpool and Lancashire as a whole, with forecasts suggesting employment in the county’s HSC sector is set to grow. This is in a context where skills gaps, an ageing workforce and staff recruitment and retention issues are already challenges. There has never been a more important time to invest in health and social care education and training for our community.’’

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