Pride In Your High Street
Since it was launched, a one million pound fund from Telford & Wrekin Council is bringing new life to the borough’s High Streets.
The ‘Pride In Your High Street’ fund is helping kick-start new events and bolster existing ones, supporting retailers and delivering improvements to community buildings and the high street environment, Through this support the Fund is strengthening communities and encouraging more visitors and spend in our high streets and borough towns.
The fund was launched in April last year. Among its success stories so far:
- Food Frenzy and Italian Food Festival in Newport. Both events were held in the summer and were so successful, they promise to be back, bigger and better next year!
- Social Enterprise Wavelength Pop Up Shops. These pop-up shops rented out sales space to small craft businesses. Its first one, ‘The Forge’, used an empty retail unit in Wellington and was so popular, it has moved to a permanent base in the town.
- ‘Good2Great’ received funding to help them provide training to our High Street businesses in areas such as retail and hospitality excellence, successful selling techniques and market testing – all designed to improve their turnover. ‘Good2Great’ have given training to more than 50 businesses so far.
- Madeley War Memorial. The refurbishment of Russell Square and Russell Green has created a larger, more accessible and attractive civic space.
Telford & Wrekin Council was keen to ensure all the borough’s High Streets got their fair share of the fund. After a first round of bidding, there were five areas (Donnington, Oakengates, Newport, Wellington and Dawley) which had submitted fewer bids and had been allocated less than the rest.
To address that there was a second round of bidding, with help brought in from town and parish councils to identify projects needing support in their areas. Among the successful bids are:
- Improvements to Donnington library and lifelong learning centre facilities
- A new Community Hub in Oakengates, opening in 2017
- Enhancements to Newport Heritage and Visitor Informaton Centre and CCTV in Stratford Street car park
- A new hub in Wellington and a new food and entertainment festival for the town in 2017 which could become an annual event.
- A programme of improvements to the shops and environment of Dawley High Street.
The fund has been hailed a success. Ann Johnston of Wave-length who created the pop-up shops, said: “FORGE Wellington has become a hub for the community and with this now in place it becomes our showcase for other ‘Pride In Your High Street’ projects; we are now developing the Oakengates offer and are in exploratory talks with Madeley and Ironbridge to find the right premises.”
Councillor Gilly Reynolds, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Employment & Regeneration said: “This fund has brought about many successes. Whether it is the new-found success of businesses which benefit from opportunities such as the pop-up shops or training, to the variety of events that have been created or boosted that attract visitors and engender more community spirit. These successes bring with them a lasting and sustainable legacy.”
The success of the ‘Pride in Your High Street Programme’ will be formally recognised at the meeting of Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet on Thursday 17 November.
After all second round projects have been completed, any money remaining will go towards future high street projects.