More than 30 new towns have applied to Business in the Community’s programme to revitalise high streets, including Falmouth, Falkirk, Barrow in Furness, Huddersfield and Maidstone, bringing the total enrolled to 100.
The programme, which launched in 2014, aims to increase footfall by 10%, reduce the number of vacant properties by 20% and stimulate the creation of new jobs.
In one year it brought support and resources worth £17m from corporate partners including Marks & Spencer, Boots, EE, Greggs, Santander and Wilko, which has just joined the programme.
The high streets will each receive a bespoke package of support, including access to skills and expertise, as well as dedicated “high street champions” from supporting businesses who will work together with the local partnership team, local authority and local partners to devise a plan to tackle the town’s specific challenges.
A full report on the impact of the programme over three years will be published next year.
“One of the most powerful ways for business to make an impact in communities is by creating high streets that are vibrant places to live, work and do business,” said Peter Donoghue, project lead at Healthy High Streets.
“It has been heartening to see first hand the practical difference that collaborative, business-led action can make on UK high streets over these past two years. While there is much to be proud of about our Healthy High Streets programme, we also know that there is more work to be done.”