Influential Blackpool group appoints new chair

By Tim Aldred

04 May 2023

John Fallon of Blackpool Pride Of Place

Experienced businessman John Fallon has been appointed chair of the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership, an organisation which has played a role in driving forward the resort's social agenda.

The partnership is part of Business in the Community (BITC), The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, and has been working to make Blackpool a fairer and greener place to live and work since 2017.

John Fallon is the former CEO of Pearson plc, and has worked across business, education and international development.

He takes over from Christine Hodgson, chair of Severn Trent, who has led the Partnership since 2017.

Under Christine’s leadership, the partnership, in collaboration with Blackpool Council, created the Blackpool Town Prospectus – a 2030 Agenda for Action. The prospectus outlines the collective ambition that BITC, the council and other stakeholders are working to achieve for the residents, businesses and communities of Blackpool by 2030.

In 2018, the first Blackpool Town Prospectus’ primary ask was to have a Town Deal from the government, and in 2021, Blackpool was awarded the largest single Town Deal of £40m, to realise seven projects in the town.

In 2022, Blackpool agreed to a strategic Levelling Up Partnership with the government which has resulted in over £90m of funding so far.

The priority for the partnership under the leadership of its new chair is to continue creating long-term transformative change in Blackpool, including continuing to work with the government through its strategic partnership and ensuring that the government’s commitment to levelling up Blackpool is maintained.

John said: "Blackpool is a very special place and the partnership’s role is to bring together and support everyone committed to making the town a great place to live and work in, as well as to visit.

"Great progress has been made during Christine’s tenure, but there is still much to be done. I’m thrilled that Christine will continue to be involved and look forward to working with her and colleagues to build on that momentum.”

Christine Hodgson said: "As my time as chair of the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership comes to an end, I would like to wish John all the best in the role.

"Over the past few years, we have seen so much positive change in Blackpool, and I have enjoyed working with those who understand that we all have a part to play in supporting the people of Blackpool.

"I look forward to supporting the Partnership as it continues to drive positive change in Blackpool. I am delighted to be taking up the role of life president for the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership.”

Baroness Jo Valentine, director of place at Business in the Community, added: "Since 2017, BITC has made a long-term commitment to support Blackpool, and I believe that Christine has been instrumental in driving the work that has been done to date.

"From the hard work of Christine and the Partnership, we have seen Blackpool transform in front of our eyes, and I know John will continue against our objectives to make Blackpool a fairer place to live and work."

Neil Jack, chief executive of Blackpool Council, said: "I would like to place on record our gratitude to Christine for the tremendous commitment she has shown to all things Blackpool through the Pride of Place Partnership. We are delighted that her involvement will continue in her new capacity as life president.

“At the same time, I would like to congratulate John on his appointment as the new chair of the partnership – we look forward to working with him on our continuing journey to deliver transformational change in Blackpool.”

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