A MAJOR conference involving the country's movers and shakers has heard how the county is a 'great place to live, work and invest'.

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership chief executive Jo Lappin was one of the guest speakers at a panel discussion as part of the Invest North online conference and exhibition which attracted almost 300 delegates from throughout the UK.

The virtual event took place on Wednesday and is an influential gathering of political and business leaders.

Grant Schapps MP, secretary of state for transport, was one of the keynote speakers at the event.

It also featured contributions from Andy Burnham, mayor of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and Jamie Driscoll, mayor of the North of Tyne Combined Authority.

The conference brought together a wide range of delegates who considered how the North can move forward and accelerate its post-Coronavirus recovery.

The subjects being discussed included how the North of England can achieve net zero carbon emissions, diversity and equality, innovation, together with growth and investment, among a range of others.

Mrs Lappin took part in a panel debate called Northern Place Makers, which examined how "the way we live and work has been changed by the pandemic and what opportunities those changes provide for local communities".

She said: “We were delighted that Cumbria LEP had the opportunity to contribute to this discussion.

“The past 12 months have proved extremely challenging. 

"However, significant challenges can act as a catalyst for change and create new opportunities, one being the change in working arrangements that can benefit both businesses and employees.

“For some people, although clearly not all, flexible hours and remote working using digital technology, such as video conferencing, has allowed them to continue working and contributing to their business and the economy.

“People want greater access to green spaces and the natural environment. 

"More people are now thinking they can continue to progress their professional career but have a different lifestyle at the same time.

“Locations that may have once seemed distant are now proving increasingly attractive to a growing number of people.

"Where better to discover that work-life balance than in Cumbria? 

"It really does have it all – beautiful locations, affordable homes and a quality lifestyle. We are at the Heart of the UK with good connectivity to many different locations.

“We have so much to offer and explore, including two World Heritage Sites, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, more Michelin star restaurants than anywhere north of London, and fantastic arts, culture and heritage offers.

“We need creativity, imagination and ingenuity to re-purpose our communities to exploit the opportunities ahead.

“It was great to have the chance to make those points to a wider audience and help reinforce Cumbria’s live, work and invest offer."

Recently the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership has been encouraging traders to take part in three programmes, in support the county's businesses, before they end on  March 31.

They involve up to three hours of accountancy and legal support for Small and Medium Businesses, guidance on trading post-Brexit, and assistance in business growth into global markets.

Mrs Lappin, said: “Last year was a year unlike any other. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic was felt locally, nationally and globally, and as 2021 unfolds, we want all of our businesses to know that we are here for them, whatever type of support they need."

For information on how to get involved go to: www.thecumbrialep.co.uk