St Helens Chamber to help deliver ‘lifetime’ programme 

The partnership behind the multi-million pound transformation of the derelict Parkside Colliery site in Newton-le-Willows has struck a ‘ground-breaking’ deal to maximise the investment’s impact on local communities. 

Parkside Regeneration LLP, the joint venture between developer Langtree and St Helens Council, has appointed St Helens Chamber to deliver a youth and business engagement programme across the construction lifetime of the Parkside project. 

Expected outputs cover the spectrum from ‘meet the buyer’ events to local apprenticeships, training opportunities, school visits and a range of low carbon initiatives.  

Lisa Harris, St Helens Borough Council Executive Director for Place, said: “Parkside is a truly transformational project for St Helens Borough and is now moving from vision into reality. The aim of this appointment  is to ensure the development delivers true social value for the Borough, to provide quality jobs and opportunities for our residents and businesses.  St Helens Chamber are a key partner who have an excellent track record of supporting and pairing up businesses with job seekers and will help drive the focus on providing opportunities for local residents and businesses, to ensure we spread the benefits of Parkside across the borough.” 

John Downes, chairman of Parkside Regeneration and group chief executive of Langtree said:

“From day one of the planning process seven years ago we committed to ensuring that Parkside delivers real value to the communities of St Helens borough.  It’s payback time now and I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Contracts have now been exchanged with St Helens Chamber to deliver a multi-layered programme of activity each year that includes: 

  • 21 apprenticeships 
  • 20 traineeships 
  • 200 engagements with school children 
  • 20 engagements with local SMEs 
  • 20 low carbon activities supported 

“We’re delighted to be working closely with Parkside Regeneration to ensure social value and inclusive growth flows through to benefit local residents of all ages.    Our first activity will be to engage the project’s professional teams in our schools programme, enabling tangible insights into career choices and inspiring local young people,” said Tracy Mawson, the Chamber’s chief executive.   

“The Parkside board is determined that we clearly address the needs of local communities and ensure the outcomes from the development are felt as widely as possible.” 

The Chamber will work with local stakeholders and its network to drive awareness of and participation in the Parkside programme, which is set to last the seven years of the scheme’s development and construction timescale.

Rachel Willacy, head of business services at St Helens Chamber, added:  “We have a strong training provision and will train local people so they can access the opportunities the Parkside project will bring through apprenticeships, traineeships, and our education programmes.  Our network of stakeholders and partners means we are well placed to engage with local businesses to offer them any support they may need, in order to benefit from construction contracts and opportunities on the site.”  

The Parkside Joint Venture are also hoping to work with one of the company’s shareholders, PGIM Real Estate, to explore the possibility of bringing the YouthBuild programme to St Helens.  The scheme, acknowledged as one of the world’s most advanced youth participation initiatives, helps engage and prepare young people for the world of work through education, skills training, career counselling and leadership development. 

“I started my career at Parkside as a sixteen year-old and enjoyed a high-quality apprenticeship as a mining surveyor, but the reality is that at that time the job market was largely a choice between the coal industry and the glass industry,” explains John Downes.   “Parkside’s ultimate occupiers will be providing a wide range of jobs in areas such as advance manufacturing, logistics, technology, sales, marketing, estates management and process engineering and in developing Parkside we want to ensure that today’s sixteen year-olds get the best possible advice to help them build successful careers.  PGIM’s YouthBuild programme, complementing the Chamber’s own work, will hopefully provide local young people with a range of choices.” 

Parkside Regeneration last month confirmed that a large multi-disciplinary team of engineers, architects, planners and landscape architects have begun work on the detailed plans for the development’s first units.   “It’s all systems go, and it’s nice to now be able to extend that to our social value programme, too,” added John Downes. 

In addition St Helens Council has now begun constructing the £38m [LH2] Parkside Link Road, which will connect the site to Junction 22 of the M6 motorway.  The road is scheduled to be completed before the first units are available for occupation. The delivery of this important infrastructure has been supported by a £24m grant from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and will also deliver real social value and inclusive growth benefits for the Borough.