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No Mary Portas prize - but £10k will do us!
ST John’s in Worcester has been awarded a £10,000 consolation after missing out on a regeneration scheme backed by ‘Queen of Shops’ Mary Portas.
The busy shopping precinct was one of more than 400 applicants bidding for up to £100,000 in the Government’s Portas Pilot scheme but missed out in two rounds of funding.
However, unsuccessful applicants were given a second chance if their MPs backed them in signing up as ‘Town Team Partners’.
St John’s yesterday discovered it had been successful and would receive £10,000 to implement key parts of its original improvement plan.
It will also have access to a special advice line and network of advisers, mentoring and visits from retail experts and regular meetings with other Town Teams.
Gina Saunders, chairman of St John’s Traders Association, welcomed the “brilliant news”.
“Having been unsuccessful in the Portas Pilot we have tried to implement some of the things from our application, but this will allow us to go that one step further and look at some of the things we needed a little bit more money to really get going,” she said.
“Even just the additional support and information we will be able to access would be invaluable on its own.”
She said the money could be used to get a community website and loyalty scheme off the ground, as well as providing open days and a “St John’s Hub”, offering a market for people who work at home to display their goods.
“We will be having a feedback meeting for the public at the start of November and will be giving a lot more information about how the money will be used,” she added.
Great Malvern, Evesham and Tewkesbury will also receive a £10,000 injection.
Chris Marks, chairman of Malvern’s Town Team, said the cash would be used to boost the arts and the number of events taking place in the town.
“Our ethos is very much about making the most of this £10,000 and doing as much as possible,” he said. “We want more reasons for people to come in every week.”
Evesham Market Town Partnership will be meeting to decide how to spend the money.
Chairman Gerry O’Donnell said: “It is wonderful news and, I think, very well-deserved.
“There are a number of options available to us and we need to see how it can be best used to benefit the town.”