Barnsley showcases its incredible transformation to senior government official

Barnsley Council was delighted to host Sarah Healey CB CVO, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), on a visit to Barnsley town centre on Thursday, 11 January.

Sarah Healey is the most senior civil servant in the department responsible for supporting local government, housing, planning, regeneration, and levelling up nationwide.

We greeted Sarah with levelling up in action, showing tangible examples of how local areas can thrive with essential government funding. The visit was a great opportunity to showcase our success in driving the regeneration of Barnsley town centre and, more broadly, in developing Barnsley’s economy, following our double Council of the Year wins.

The visit included stops at Barnsley College Sixth Form and Barnsley Civic before moving on to our award-winning The Glass Works retail and leisure offer, and Market Kitchen, a part of our modern market experience.

The tour was a chance for government colleagues to see projects that benefit from our £10.2 million Barnsley Futures Levelling Up Fund bid, helping to transform young people’s cultural and well-being facilities. This included the site for the Northern Academy for Vocal Excellence (NAVE), to be the permanent home for Barnsley Youth Choir, and the Youth Activity Park, which will be located next to the state-of-the-art Youth Zone and includes a skate park, bike track, new active routes and play spaces.

Ms Healey also had the opportunity to hear about our aspirations for more health on the high street initiatives in the future following the success of the flagship NHS Community Diagnostic Centre located in the heart of The Glass Works development, providing state-of-the-art health facilities for residents.

Councillor Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, said: “We were very pleased to welcome Sarah Healey to Barnsley and to show her the fantastic transformation that has taken place in our town centre. Barnsley is a great example of how local government can drive positive change and deliver for its communities.

We had a positive discussion with Sarah and look forward to working with her department to continue our journey of levelling up Barnsley and making it a place of possibilities for everyone.”

Sarah Healey CB CVO, Permanent Secretary of DLUHC, said: “It was a privilege to hear about the plans for the NAVE, as a new home for the world-renowned Barnsley Youth Choir, and to see first-hand how they are taking shape in the heart of Barnsley’s incredible town centre.

“Our levelling up funding is supporting the council and its local partners to continue impressive work improving the town centre for the whole community.

 “Barnsley Council is transforming the town’s future, and it’s fantastic this has been recognised through its impressive haul of Council of the Year awards.”

Image (left to right) Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, Sarah Healey CB CVO, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), Sarah Norman, Chief Executive of Barnsley Council, Matt O'Neill, Executive Director for Growth and Sustainability at Barnsley Council.


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