Ruth is helping influence region's economic future on new forum

7 February 2020

One of our officers is taking a pivotal role addressing key issues facing the region’s economic growth.

Ruth Leahy, an Economy and Culture Specialist, has been chosen as one of 16 members of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership's new Futures Forum, made up of people aged 18-35, who are committed to making sure that their views and that of their peers seriously influence Cumbria’s economic strategy and investment decisions.

Her appointment came on the back of Ruth’s recent trip to the US and Canadian Rockies through a prestigious Churchill Fellowship award to explore strategies aimed at increasing the number of young people living and working in rural areas.

The Futures Forum will develop proposals as to how key issues could be addressed, for consideration by the CLEP Board and other governance bodies, as well as giving their views on papers before Board meetings.

As well as having a say on all aspects of the economic agenda, Futures Forum members are set to receive developmental support, including mentoring, to help them to progress in their careers and equip them to operate at Board level.

Ruth said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to work with my peers to ensure that our young people are represented at a strategic level. Cumbria is facing a decline in its working age population, and innovative solutions are needed to ensure Cumbria’s economy doesn’t fall foul of this trend.”

The forum held its first meeting in January, with members keen to explore how they could support CLEP’s work on promoting Cumbria as a great place to live, work and invest, innovation, net zero carbon and clean energy generation. The Forum members, aged between 18 and 35, all live or work in Cumbria and have a strong interest in all aspects of the economic growth agenda.

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, our Portfolio Holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: “It is great to see the Cumbria LEP bringing younger people with a professional interest in the economic growth agenda to the heart of their decision making.

"Ruth has shown through her work at SLDC and projects like her research made possible by her Churchill Fellowship award how her commitment, dedication, skill and expertise make a real difference to our future residents. I am delighted she has been appointed to the Futures Forum and look forward to seeing it be a positive and serious influence on the region’s economy.”

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