Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership has appointed three leading local businesswomen to its board.

Emma Porter and Sarah Swindley join the LEP as private sector board members, while Professor Patricia Livsey, chief executive of Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw Children’s Hospice, joins as the LEP’s first representative from the voluntary and community sector.

Mrs Porter has worked in the construction industry for 11 years and has recently returned to Story Contracting in the role of construction director after a successful spell working in advisory services at Arup.

The focus on her work in Cumbria is within the firm’s construction division, delivering a forecasted £30m turnover in 2019/20.

She will also continue to be closely involved in socio-economic aspects, stakeholder engagement and business development.

Mrs Swindley is currently the chief executive of the Lake District Foundation, a charity established in 2017.

Prior to this, she was chief executive of Cumbria and Lancashire Women’s Centres, which provided one-stop shop health and social care services to women with a range of needs.

She is also a leadership consultant for the Cascading Leadership Programme, which provides leadership support to third sector leaders.

Prof Livsey's appointment has been made in line with the LEP’s voluntary and community sector nomination, an open recruitment exercise conducted by the Third Sector Network.

She has extensive experience within the health sector, including national roles within the Nursing and Midwifery Council and Department of Health.

She has also worked at a senior level within higher education for over 27 years of her career.

Cumbria LEP chair Lord Inglewood said: “The LEP has been looking to recruit excellent female leaders from Cumbria’s business community to strengthen representation on our board, and in Emma, Patricia and Sarah, we have settled on three outstanding candidates.

“Our aim is to improve gender equality on our board, and under our strengthened governance arrangements, to ensure that we reflect the communities that we serve.

"These three new appointments help move us towards achieving gender balance. Emma, Patricia and Sarah all bring vital experience and business acumen to their new roles. We welcome them and wish them every success.”

Prof Livsey said: “I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to represent the third sector within Cumbria LEP. The role provides an opportunity to utilise the experience I have gained to date and work as part of the LEP board to further develop and enhance services within Cumbria.

“I want to ensure that the third sector can provide a significant strategic contribution to the ongoing development of services and provision within Cumbria.”

Mrs Porter added: “My reason for joining the LEP is a strong desire to make a difference. I’m passionate about enabling Cumbria to achieve its potential and I strongly believe that the county needs to work in an open, collaborative and ambitious way to raise aspirations and realise our potential together.”

Mrs Swindley said: “I’m so pleased to have been appointed to the body that has a vital role in securing the economic future of Cumbria.

"As a county, we are already leaders in some sectors, but there is much more that we can unlock. I have a particular interest in social enterprise, civil society and the opportunities to further develop world class careers for young people.

"I look forward to helping position Cumbria as a place that harnesses innovation, embraces our digital future and focuses on inclusive growth for our communities.”