Published July 26, 2021 at 10:00
Local councils across the country have received money from the government to help assist in attracting customers back to our high streets.
The Welcome Back Fund is providing councils with a share of money from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support high streets and help build back better from the pandemic. This funding builds on the Reopening High Street Safely Fund (RHSSF) allocated to councils in 2020 and forms part of the wider support government is providing to communities and businesses.
Retail and hospitality have been hit especially hard during the various lockdown but as restrictions have been lifted, and measures are brought in to kick start the economy, local business owners and the council are keen to make our high streets welcoming and safe places to visit.
Alyson Barnes, Leader of Rossendale Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see our high streets and small independent businesses back open across Rossendale. We want to make our high streets vibrant and attractive again and will be working hard to help these businesses get back on their feet.
“All of them have worked extremely hard to ensure the safety of the public and it’s important now that the shoppers of Rossendale come out and support them and so far, that seems to be the case.”
The fund will allow councils to boost the look and feel of their high streets by investing in street planting, green spaces, and seating areas to make high streets welcoming and install and refresh signage to encourage social distancing and safety.
Many of the new signs around the towns have a QR code that people can scan which will take them to a page, listing information and offers from high street businesses as a well as information about events throughout the borough.
Marcia Potts owner of Luvinit Gifts on Bank Street in Rawtenstall said: “It’s been incredibly tough for all small businesses over the past 18 months, especially retail premises that don’t have an online presence.
“Anything the council can do support our high street and town centre businesses and encourage people back into our high streets has to be a good thing and this initiative is a step in the right direction.”
Cllr Barnes continued: “The residents of Rossendale are friendly welcoming people, and we want to help make our high streets reflect that friendly nature. As well as new signage to encourage people to shop safely we are also hoping to make our high streets look even more attractive with additional planting around the towns, outdoor seating and hopefully some family friendly events later in the year.
“We have to be mindful though that whilst restrictions have now been lifted the virus is still out there, and safety remains the top priority.”
The Council is encouraging people to stay local and support their local shops and businesses and to keep safe.