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Our CEO, Michael’s Blog for March 2024

Welcome to the first blog for 2024 from our CEO, Michael Pemberton. It's been a busy start to 2024 for BEC; for our team, our partners and our projects. Read on to find out more ...

Left: Michael Pemberton, Chief Executive Officer, BEC

Project Updates

Firstly, we have successfully been able to get all of the funding in place to bring forward the development of the Digital and Gaming Hub in the Whittles building in Whitehaven. Everyone who has been involved has worked so hard to get that over the line and when I look at what we will do with the Hub, it will have such a positive impact on so many young people, particularly in the local area.

It’s one of those projects that you just can’t help but get incredibly excited about. I feel like a little boy that woke up on Christmas Day and I’m unwrapping the presents and it’s just a huge sense of excitement for us here at BEC.

However, there’s also the high expectation that we have set as a benchmark with the Bus Station project. I fully expect the Digital and Gaming Hub in the former Whittles site to go beyond them, so I’m really excited that the project is moving forward in such a positive direction.

The team has also been engaged in lots of social impact activities. The Good Lives Project continues to go from strength to strength and the team at the Forest School at Westlakes Science Park is ensuring that the program continues to move in a really positive way. Seeing young people enjoying nature and learning along the way is a wonderful thing to see.

New Initiatives

Paula, our HR & Executive Assistant, led her first mental health and well-being program, which was open to all tenants within Westlakes Science Park.

This was very well received and I think it’s an incredible initiative which is completely staff-led.

We continue to work hard on the Revive project. The Revive project, if you don’t know, is a project that is based in the heart of Mirehouse in Whitehaven and is a very special type of recycling centre.

It is the brainchild of Emma Williamson, our Community Impact Manager and we’ve really come together and pushed forward on the project. It’s such a brilliant project and I am very proud to say that we’ve secured all the funding in place that is needed to make it a success. Emma is starting to build the team that’s needed to operate, so these are exciting times!

Attending the Cumberland Economic Summit

I was very proud to attend the first-ever Cumberland Economic Summit. I found the whole thing to be really uplifting, and motivational and gave a very clear outline of the tasks that lie ahead for Cumberland as a county.

We’re a proud partner within Cumberland and I see our organisation as one of the tools available to the leadership team of Cumberland to be able to deliver to communities, so I see our 2030 strategy perfectly aligned with the aspirations of the county.

I expect this team to go even harder and even further in the coming months to be able to support Cumberland in its wider ambition. It’s definitely been a very busy first quarter of 2024 for BEC.

Staff Updates - Promotions and Team Changes

There have been some internal changes to the BEC team, with some promotions as well as some team changes.

When staff members leave you have the opportunity to recruit, like for like, or take the opportunity to recognise great performances within the existing team, promote internally and open up further opportunities for new people to come in and join and that’s exactly what we’ve done.

I’m so proud to say that Gemma Leadbetter has taken on the role of Chief Operating Officer within BEC – a role that she is so ready and able to take on… and I don’t believe that we’ve even seen a fraction of what she will do within that role yet. I think she’s going to be a breath of fresh air in that role.

The second promotion that I can announce with great pride is Bill Graham. Bill is like Gemma – an incredibly hard-working individual who puts the team first before himself. It is absolutely wonderful to say that Bill’s taken on the role of Director of Properties, so that the whole of our property portfolio, both built and unbuilt, is now under his care. This is really good news for the future of BEC and these two changes are key appointments for us.

We’ve also had some movement in our other teams. Within our management team, Andrea Bird has agreed to become a Project Manager and we’re upskilling her to take on that role. I would like to say that this is a role made for Andrea and she will be absolutely brilliant at it. This change presented an opportunity to promote Mark Armstrong, who will take on the leadership role of our facility services.

Two other important changes – Lucy McGlennon is going to take on more of a managerial role as our Customer Relations Manager and Rebecca Nicholson has really stepped up and I’m excited to announce that she is taking on the Finance Manager role.

These are great success stories across all levels and what that’s also done is allow us to bring new people into our business and we’ve been carrying out interviews over the last month or so.

It’s incredibly powerful when you hear people who aren’t in the business who then come and talk to you about why they want to be part of the business and you listen to their understanding or awareness of what BEC are doing in their community and why they want to be part of it.

Our values are even more relevant, more so now than they’ve ever been. The work that we’re doing is being recognised and has huge reach and the team that’s delivering it are well respected, well trained and really passionate about what they do, and others want to be a part of that.

We have recruited three new members to come and join us at BEC; Chloe, Pauline and Aiden, who will all be joining us on the 2nd of April within our Customer Service team.

Special Staff Mentions

Every single member of the BEC team goes above and beyond every single day. There’s not a shred of doubt in my mind about that.

I have personally received incredible feedback, provided to us by Sellafield, for the work of Lucy and Gemma, both of whom have clearly gone above and beyond what we would normally expect in terms of delivery points. When I look at things from an external stakeholder point of view, we have absolutely delighted our clients and these two members of staff have been acknowledged and recognised for the services that they provided, which is fantastic.

I would also like to recognise that Paula has really worked hard to deliver the well-being forum and the feedback we have received from that was upstanding. It is something that Paula feels very passionate about and took the initiative to set the forum up in her own time.

I’d also like to mention Sam Beardmore and the feedback that I receive on an incredibly regular basis from Barclays Eagle Labs team and the teams within The Good Lives Project. They are so grateful for the way Sam deals with them, approaches them and breaks down barriers to allow them to perform to their full potential.

I feel incredibly humble and I’m very blessed to have an amazing group of people who share the ambition and vision that we have. This vision sets out the positive impact we will bring to communities and those who perhaps are less fortunate and we will be resilient and tenacious in the execution of our task.

What's To come?

We’ve already commissioned a project board for our Digital and Gaming Hub and people will start to see activity happening on that site as we’re about to appoint contractors to take on the project. Seeing activity happening is very, very important for people in and around the community, to show that we are dedicated to delivering on our projects and what we can bring to West Cumbria,

We will continue to work hard with The Carlton at Maryport and with the community in the area, as well as wider Cumberland to bring forward the change that it deserves. We have secured a multimillion-pound investment and BEC has a role to play in delivering the changes. I am confident that, under Bill’s stewardship, progress will continue to happen.

Revive will continue to progress forward with Emma, Andrea and Kian Graham leading the project. We’ll start to see that being landed and things will be ramping up soon which is very exciting.

For the rest of the teams, it’s business as usual, and that means continuing to impress every single tenant and every single customer who comes to the parks and sites that we have. We also must continue to push forward on the delivery of excellence at the Bus Station in Whitehaven to maintain that level of quality and excellence that is expected of a BEC project.

Finally, we have just signed off the BEC 12-month business plan which keeps us in line with our 2030 strategy that takes us to net zero. We create these stepping stones each year to allow us to get to that place in 2030.

Of course with Easter coming up, I hope that the team, in one way or another, finds a way to relax, to reflect, to recharge and be ready to go again after the Easter break.