Newbury Business Improvement District receives funds to support town centre recovery post-pandemic

Newbury high street , Northbrook St

We’re delighted to have been allocated up to £100,000 by West Berkshire Council to support town centre recovery following the pandemic as part of the new Welcome Back Fund via the European Regional Development Fund (EDRF).  

The funds are designed to help safely attract people back to town centres by implementing projects that help drive footfall and boost local business and the local economy. 

We secured the funding following a proposal outlining projects to support local trade and tourism in response to the impact of COVID-19, whilst promoting a safe environment for visitors to return to.  

The overall aim of our chosen strand of the Welcome Back Fund is to boost the look and feel of high streets by making them more welcoming, including activities such as place-based marketing, beautification activities, non-permanent public realm changes, and implementing initiatives that future proof the high street.  

Our plans are split into four key projects, the first of which is already underway to help boost Newbury’s Christmas trading environment. The BID is aiming to deliver the other three projects in early 2022.  

The Christmas project aims to help develop Newbury’s sense of place and future proof the high street by working towards the vision of being one of the key Christmas destinations in the South of England. The fund is being used to develop a Christmas brand for Newbury, deliver a large-scale Christmas marketing campaign, and enhance the entertainment on offer at the town’s very first 3-day Victorian Christmas Fayre. 

Other projects include: 

  • The purchase of gazebos to offer local businesses the opportunity to pop-up and operate in Northbrook Street, testing how their brand and products can benefit from a presence in one of Newbury’s key footfall areas. One gazebo will also be used to provide a pop-up “Visitor Information Centre” during the town’s highest footfall periods, helping to support Newbury’s visitor economy.
  • The introduction of an innovative digital visitor engagement platform which will deliver engaging, in-the-moment experiences throughout the town centre. The Hello Lamp Post platform is used in many towns and cities across the world and will help bring inanimate objects such as benches and historical monuments to life in the town.  
  • Adding colour and greenery to key areas of the town centre to help improve the attractiveness of the local environment.

Melissa Hughes, our CEO, said: 

Receiving up to £100k as part of the Welcome Back Fund via the EDRF is fantastic. Throughout the pandemic, we have been working in partnership with other local stakeholders to support local businesses and the safe re-opening of Newbury town centre, whilst doing our bit to make Newbury a desirable place to visit through our regular markets, summer events, and widespread marketing activity.

Receiving up to £100k as part of the Welcome Back Fund via the EDRF is fantastic. Throughout the pandemic, we have been working in partnership with other local stakeholders to support local businesses and the safe re-opening of Newbury town centre, whilst doing our bit to make Newbury a desirable place to visit through our regular markets, summer events, and widespread marketing activity.

Katharine Makant, Economy Manager at West Berkshire Council, added: 

We’re delighted to grant this funding to Newbury BID via the Welcome Back Fund and EDRF. We’re confident that the BID’s proposed activity will have a significant and positive impact on supporting town centre recovery here in Newbury, whilst aligning with some of our wider schemes across the district.

In particular, this Christmas we’re showcasing independent local businesses with green initiatives by creating a new online magazine. This will not only help to support the local businesses but will also help residents to be eco-conscious and shop green this festive season.

To find out more about what’s happening in Newbury this Christmas, please click here.

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