Pride in Our High Street – Helping High Streets Diversify to Survive
Through its Pride in Our High Street (PIOHS) initiative, Telford & Wrekin Council has been investing creatively to help regenerate the town’s high streets since 2018. That investment has received recognition through the national High Street Awards and by the Local Government Association who are using Telford as a case study.
Telford’s small high street business owners are really committed to their communities and are determined to keep going despite the challenges of Covid-19 and on-line shopping. They are using their imagination to think of new ideas and ways of diversifying their business. Recognising the need to help to put these ideas into effect the Council through PIOHS has created a new offer; Revive and Thrive Diversification Grants. It provides grants from £500 up to £4,000 to businesses in Wellington, Oakengates, Dawley, Ironbridge, Newport and Madeley and the grants are open to high street businesses of all types.
Since the grant opened in September last year, 17 diversification grants have been awarded with the successful applicants ranging from men’s outfitters to beauty salons and gift shops. Just a few examples include businesses that have been helped to create websites, been supported with the equipment needed to take electronic payments, helped with new branding and with eco-friendly packaging to change their brand appeal.
Cllr Lee Carter, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood, Commercial Services and Regeneration, said:
“The initiative reflects lessons learned through Covid about how important it is for businesses to adapt and how they can do this even in the face of great challenges. The Council has been so impressed by the commitment and determination of so many of our businesses to not just survive but to thrive. We’re committed to keep investing into our local High Streets.”
Recipients of the grant include Kings in Oakengates who had funding to create an online presence and shop allowing customers to browse online.
Business owner Mal Johnson said “We have served many generations of the Oakengates community and we are determined to adapt to the new ways of shopping so we can continue to offer our high street retail service to our loyal customers”.
Sweetcheeks Academy & Beauty Salon in Dawley had funding to pay for new signage to promote the opening of a new training academy and to purchase new equipment to extend their range of treatments.
Business owner Sophie Williams said: “We’ve built a business that is really valued by the community and is a great feature of Dawley High Street. This new grant will really help us to diversify and continue to grow our business in spite of all the challenges at the moment”.