A new campaign to get people back to the high streets safely in Stafford Borough has been launched.
The ‘Our Beautiful Borough’ campaign has been backed by money from a European fund and targets the town centres in Stafford, Stone and Eccleshall.
The aim is to promote visits back to shops, restaurants and other businesses in the three towns – but ensuring it is done safely.
Covid-19 safety measures such as signage and street markings were installed earlier this year and two dedicated information officers providing support to help businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic were introduced as part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The money has been ring-fenced for projects to support town centres with the borough council having to meet strict criteria for using the funds. Members of town centre groups and borough businesses have been involved in the creation of the campaign along-side local marketing experts - Verso.
The project focuses on supporting local independent retailers by raising awareness of each town’s unique offer. Campaign material also includes the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ guidance which is seen as key to reducing the spread of the virus.
A new website has been set up at www.ourbeautifulborough.co.uk , ‘toolkits’ for local retailers to help customers shop safely will carry the towns’ dedicated logo, adverts are appearing in local publications and in key outdoor areas across the West Midlands, and new social media accounts have been set up.
Councillor Frances Beatty, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Planning, said: “Our three towns have so much to offer but, like every area of the UK, this pandemic has frustrated the valiant efforts of some of our businesses to get back on their feet.
“So we are determined to do something fresh and innovative that will promote our beautiful borough – and with this campaign we certainly will showcase what we have to offer to people in and outside our borough and reassure them that they will be safe to visit our high streets.
“I hope retailers, businesses and the whole community will get behind the campaign to help our beautiful borough revive and thrive.”
Jamie Richards, AEDdonate Chief Executive from Stone, said: “This year has been tough for the vast majority of our local businesses and if we want independent retailers and hospitality venues to survive we need to back them and demonstrate that it is safe to enjoy your High Street and showcase the brilliant things we have to offer.”
Mary Walker, Chair of the Stafford Town Centre Partnership, said: “The Our Beautiful Borough’ campaign is vital in promoting our diverse range of businesses including retail, hospitality and professional services. The independent retailers and businesses of the town need our support more than ever and we would urge residents to explore the site and discover the wonderful array of businesses in our borough. Shopping local makes such a difference to our town and the businesses so thank you all for your support.”
Joanne Eeley, Owner of Wills and Jo’s in Eccleshall, said: “As a retailer in Eccleshall I was conscious of continuing to develop on our excellent customer service so have spent time developing an online offering during lockdown. Now we are back open we are implementing the socially distanced etiquette with signage, hand sanitiser on entering and are also booking appointments. I am very excited about being part of the ‘Our Beautiful Borough Campaign’ and hope it will really encourage customers back through our doors safely in 2021.”
The Borough Council was awarded £120,000 from the ERDF which was made available to local authorities to support businesses to re-open safely – with a deadline date of 31 March 2021.
Press Release No 5712