CUMBRIANS have rushed to defended the county after several areas were ranked among the worst places to live for those under the age of 26.

The areas of Allerdale, Carlisle, Copeland and Eden were given a low score of three out of ten in the nationwide study, carried out by the BBC.

The list ranks 378 local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland from highest to lowest.

The analysis rated 11 categories for each area out of ten, including sports facilities, 4G coverage, going out, bus services, rent, and mental health care, to come up with the overall result for each area.

Of the individual results categories for Carlisle, sports facilities scored zero, 4G coverage, going out, bus services, and mental health care all scored one, youth population got four, employment and wild land scored seven and rent scored the highest with nine.

Meanwhile in the south of the county, the areas of Barrow and South Lakeland scored slightly higher with a score of four.

Islington in London came top of the rankings, with a rating of eight, while Melton in Leicestershire is at the bottom of the list, with a score of two.

The project also carried out a poll of more than 1,000 young people to help ensure the measures used are important to them.

Amy Kenworthy, welfare and support officer at University of Cumbria Students’ Union said: “While the results of the analysis are disappointing, the experience of young people living here is quite different.

“There is a growing vibrancy in Carlisle and the University of Cumbria, as a relatively young university, helps draw in thousands of students from all over the country and beyond every year, all of whom bring something different to the city.

“Brampton Road, the university’s arts campus, puts shows and musicals on all year round, hosted BBC Children in Need and Cumbria Pride last year and is an example of the range of venues, events and amenities available in the city for everyone to enjoy. Carlisle also has a good mix of national names (we have a huge Primark now, a student’s best friend) and local retailers on the high street as well as plenty of bars, gyms, sports, independent coffee shops, restaurants and other facilities.”

A Carlisle City Council spokeswoman said: “Carlisle is a growing city with ambitions for the future.

“Investment in the arts and culture has resulted in an increased cultural offer, including a packed programme at the Old Fire Station and other local venues.

“Our Sands Centre redevelopment plans will also improve sports facilities within the city.”

An Eden Council spokesman said: “The result of this survey highlights the challenges we are aware that Eden District and wider Cumbria faces to retain and attract young people to the area.

“Making Eden a place that is attractive to live and work for working age people and families, is vitally important to the prosperity of Eden district.

“The area has an ageing population and a shrinking working age population.

“The council hopes to work with local communities and development organisations to find ways to make the area sustainable and vibrant for everyone to enjoy.”

Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said he would be happy to meet with those involved in the study to showcase to them the wealth of tremendous opportunities that exist in the area.

“Like a lot of areas – particularly rural ones – we do have our challenges. But there’s so much to be positive about in terms of provision for our young people in Copeland.

“I am sure those who love living, working in and visiting our borough would agree.We have schools that are excelling, including West Lakes Academy, and I have high hopes for the new Whitehaven Campus. We have world-class careers, apprentice opportunities and training facilities on our doorstep. We have nationally-recognised sports clubs, with thriving junior ranks. Not to mention two-thirds of the borough sits in the stunning Lake District. In my view, this report does not take enough of this into account.”

He added: “That said, the areas which we were ranked particularly poorly - broadband connection, public transport - we acknowledge there is some progress to be made. We’re striving to achieve that.”

How Cumbria performed in study:

  • Allerdale: 3 out of 10
  • Barrow: 4 out of 10
  • Carlisle: 3 out of 10
  • Copeland: 3 out of 10
  • Eden: 3 out of 10
  • South Lakeland: 4 out of 10