PLANS to extend a government scheme that offers grants to struggling coastal towns have been welcomed by local business leaders in Barrow and Furness.
Barrow received a £900,000 grant from the Coastal Communities Fund for 2012-13 and 2013-14, and looks set to receive another cash boost next year.
The government has extended the project to 2014-15 to help seaside towns fend off high unemployment levels. Nationally, £29m will be made available for towns to bid for.
Furness Enterprise said the cash boost has so far benefited the town and they were delighted the fund is continuing.
It comes as Barrow was named as the ninth most deprived large coastal town in England by the Office for National Statistics.
The research split coastal towns into smaller areas and placed each area into one of five ‘quintiles’ based on how deprived it was, measured by things such as unemployment levels and access to health services.
Almost half of Barrow was placed under the most deprived category – more than double the national average.
Val Robinson, funding and new-start manager at Furness Enterprise, said they were addressing the town’s unemployment problem by encouraging new businesses.
Ms Robinson said: “We don’t get jobs for life anymore so self-employment is a solution that can put a person in control of their own future.
“One way of getting through the economic hardship in Barrow is by growing our own way out. People can’t rely on jobs being there for them so they create their own.’’
Furness Enterprise aims to find employment for 275 people by 2015. So far, it has created 64 jobs.