Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster Member Meeting


Today I attended the monthly BECBC member meeting at Energus, Lillyhall (Workington) . There were over 100 in the auditorium again, which seems to be the case every month now. The membership of the cluster now exceeds 200, and 13 new members were listed on screen for January 2014.

We had the usual networking opportunities at the start and the mid morning break. The member introductions at the start of the meeting give everyone the opportunity to introduce themselves and answer a question or comment on a topic set by the chair (Sean Balmer). Today was New Years’ Resolutions we had set ourselves. As the microphone was passed around, most responses referred to keeping fit, drinking less and general health and well-being. Mine was to remain positive about Manchester United’s prospects this season but I had to concede on how difficult that has now become! There were some really funny responses including Adrian Davis-Johnston’s pursuit of looking good in his “Dukers”.

There was a full programme of member presentations through the morning and the highlights included:

  • The launch of the BECBC business awards for 2014. Sally Seed of Stoneleigh Communications got up to give us the details for this year. The awards will take place on Thursday 6 November 2014 and the details on entry and sponsorship are available on the BECBC website.
  • Danny Frost presented on the work of Britain’s Energy Coast Fab Lab and the upcoming open days in Cockermouth on 14 and 15 February 2014. Danny gave a really energetic and passionate account of what they do - “A Fab Lab is a place where anybody can make virtually anything” and they are in operation around the world. Robots, electronic devices, creative art and much more. See for more details.
  • Steve Szostak (CEO of BEC) gave a summary of the BEC annual report that has been published, including their achievements with Albion Square, Port Of Workington container handling facilities, the Construction Skills Centre and over 480 jobs created or safeguarded. After a member question Steve confirmed that a business plan will be published for next year and for as far into the future as possible based on confirmed funding. It was emphasised that BEC’s efforts were certainly not just concerned with nuclear socio economic money going back into nuclear, but that it is was of far wider-reaching benefit to West Cumbria.
  • Tony Wilson and Brian Lightowler gave us feedback on the success of the BEC Information Security Conference last month.
  • Steve Nicholson gave a passionate talk about the work of the Sellafield Worker’s Campaign including their desire for THORP not to be decommissioned yet, the disappointment of the GDF decision last year and their welcoming of the recent news on Toshiba’s recent purchase of a 60% stake in NuGen for The Moorside new build project.

Richard Askew – Corporate Director, Lillyhall Office, Workington