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It is a huge pleasure and a privilege to join you today at the official opening of the next phase of the Glass Works – and to see the future of Barnsley town centre take shape around us.
The Glass Works – and the wider regeneration of our town centre – is intrinsically, uniquely Barnsley.
It is a project that is rooted in our town’s proud industrial heritage, a celebration of the Miner and the Glassblower who stand shoulder-to-shoulder on our town’s coat of arms.
But it also sits right at the cutting-edge of the future – a modern market complex, delicious international cuisine in the Market Kitchen, the fantastic Library @ The Lightbox, and world-leading retailers and entertainment facilities – with much more to come!
It symbolises our town’s ethos: proud of our past, optimistic about our future.
I know – from my constituency postbag and email inbox! – that not everyone believed we’d get to where we are today.
To say it’s taken patience from residents and businesses is an understatement.
But, whatever the challenges – from the global financial crash to the Covid-19 pandemic – Barnsley Council and their partners have worked tirelessly to keep the project on track.
I’m immensely proud to have supported this project from the very start, both as the local MP and as the Mayor of South Yorkshire.
Not only because it’s vital for our town’s future prosperity – of course it is – but because of the huge difference it has, and will continue to make to the regional economy:
Creating 70 full time jobs, with a further 650 projected at completion.
Safeguarding 200 jobs through the redevelopment of Barnsley Markets in Phase 1.
Investing in the local economy – with developer Henry Boot spending £26 million with Barnsley based suppliers.
Supporting training and skills, through the creation of 28 new, and supporting 43 existing, apprenticeships…
…And that’s just the start!
There’s much more to come as the Glass Works continues to take shape around us.
Now, I don’t want to keep you here too long – I know that you’d much rather be exploring all that the Glass Works has to offer or grabbing a cup of tea in the Market Kitchen!
So I will close with a massive thank you to all involved in organising today’s opening and to all of you for coming along today to support.