IT may not be so grim up North after all.
For university researchers have concluded what many of us already know – that Barrow is one of the happiest places to live in Britain.
The survey, conducted across the 273 District Council areas of England, Scotland and Wales, named Barrow as the 19th happiest place to live.
Factors such as education, employment, health and crime rates were taken into account.
Researchers also looked at lifestyles and what people thought of their own wellbeing.
The findings have not come as a shock to the great and good of Barrow.
Business Secretary and Barrow and Furness MP John Hutton said: “I am not surprised that Barrow is where it is in this survey.
“In addition to low crime rates, clean air, high employment levels and the other issues covered, our two main soccer and rugby clubs are also doing well which adds to the feel good factor in the town. Yet more reason to Love Barrow.”
Barrow’s Mayor, councillor Dave Roberts believes that Barrow’s happy status lies with its people.
He said: “Barrow has traditionally always been a close-knit community, there are many people who work together in the main industries we have here and I think that as people, we care about one another.”
A factor researchers deemed important in determining the happiness of a town was the length of time a person had spent living there. Staying in an area for more than five years was an indicator of wellbeing. Cllr Roberts believes this may have given Barrow an upper hand in the survey.
He said: “There are lots of people here who have lived here all their lives. There are few people who ever actually leave for good, which means that they must be happy here.”
Val Holden, a regeneration officer for Barrow Borough Council, lived in Roose as a teenager and says that the local surroundings is one of the major factors contributing to Barrow’s happiness.
She said: “I used to enjoy cycling round Cavendish Dock and down the old railway line to Rampside. Great for blackberries and mushrooms in the fields around there.
“Looking back, the freedom and security we felt and the variety of natural places to explore made me feel contented and still does.
“My kids had a go at London and Japan but they have all come back.”