High street heroes: re-connecting young people with their towns
On Saturday 26th May, Local Government Minister, Grant Shapps named the 12 town centres that will share in a £1.2m investment programme to revitalise local high streets.
The aptly named Portas Pilots are designed to respond to the findings of a high street review, undertaken by retail guru Mary Portas, which set out 28 recommendations to breathe new life back into ailing high streets.
Portas explains, ‘I want to put the heart back into the centre of our High Streets, re-imagined as destinations for socialising, culture, health, wellbeing, creativity and learning.’
High streets as social innovation hubs
As the pilots get underway, we’re keen to learn more about how the successful towns are engaging and supporting young people to be part of their exciting redevelopment plans.
Here at vInspired, we’ve also been thinking about the role we can play in connecting young people with their towns and high streets in more meaningful ways.
In partnership with our friends at the Retail Trust, we’re planning a new venture to engage young people in their high streets - developing new skills, encouraging enterprising mind-sets and using empty shops as hubs for social innovation.
Putting youth at the heart of regeneration
It’s exciting to see that some of the Portas Pilots are also thinking creatively about how young people can engage in or benefit from their planned high street transformations.
Winning town Nelson, in Lancashire, has put young people at the heart of its bid, consulting on ways to make the town more attractive to them. Their bid includes ideas from young people in the area, including plans to create a youth café, as well as opening up empty shop spaces and providing professional business support for young artists and entrepreneurs.
We’re committed to building on the learning gained from these pilots and wish these 12 town teams every success as they begin the exciting work of transforming the high streets at the heart of their communities.