By Rachael Grealish
Barclays has chosen Whitehaven Bus Station as the location for its first Eagle Lab in Cumbria.
The news was announced today, Wednesday May 12, as the £8.2 million transformation of the landmark building nears completion.
Sellafield Ltd invested £5.7 million to kickstart the bus station redevelopment with developer BEC.
The project is a cornerstone of the company’s Social Impact Multiplied (SiX) programme, funded by its owner the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).
The Whitehaven Eagle Lab is the 24th in Barclays’ nationwide network.
It will offer co-working, office and meeting space, plus a space where entrepreneurs, individuals and businesses can access innovative tools, curated events, and the right network to innovate.
Jamie Reed, head of corporate affairs for Sellafield Ltd, has called it a ‘new chapter’ for the Copeland community.
The former Labour MP said: “The opening of the Eagle Lab is a new chapter in the economic development of West Cumbria.
“This is the culmination of a vision that began when we unveiled our plans for the bus station in 2017.
“I’m thrilled with the transformation of the building and excited to see our community grasp the opportunities it will bring.
“The project has been designed to support the NDA group’s strategy to deliver sustainable investment to drive long-term economic growth for local communities.”
Entrepreneurs can also access banking services, business expertise, mentoring and coaching.
Jon Hope, director of Barclays Eagle Labs, said: “We’ll bring our Eagle Labs philosophy to Whitehaven, helping to provide start-ups and scale-ups a home and fostering the connections to help them grow, while our Digital Eagles will provide training in digital skills to help upskill the wider community.”
Both Copeland’s mayor and MP have welcomed the the development calling it an ‘exciting’ investment to the area.
Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “This is an incredibly exciting development.
“Barclays choosing to invest in Whitehaven is a real acknowledgement of the exciting opportunities and business environment here.
“The Eagle Lab will be a key enabler for our economic strategy for Copeland to become a globally recognised place of innovation and opportunity.”
Copeland MP Trudy Harrison said: “I’m delighted to welcome Barclays back to Whitehaven.
“It’s wonderful to see such a prestigious, blue chip brand investing in our community.”
Henri Murison, chief executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “Barclays, Sellafield Ltd and BEC are showing what can be achieved away from major urban conurbations right across the north of England.
“The Eagle Lab is a real coup for West Cumbria that will help to drive economic growth. The leadership shown by Sellafield Ltd on this agenda as well as in education, regeneration, and economic diversification is an example to businesses right across the country.”
The Bus Station is scheduled to open on 25 May. The building will also feature an all-day, 125-seat food and drink venue called The Peddler.