Trowbridge's Town centre retail gets funding boost
Trowbridge's Town Team got a £10,000 boost this week by qualifying for Government money, as well as expert help and advice.
The team, formed in the hope it could be one of 12 to win mentoring from retail guru Mary Portas, aims to boost town trade and has several schemes in the pipeline.
After missing out on the Mary Portas bid, it has now become a Town Team Partner, making it eligible for the funds and support from the Association of Town Centre Management.
Trowbridge MP Dr Andrew Murrison had endorsed the bid – a prerequisite for being accepted.
Co-ordinator Ellie Gill said: “It’s hard to do anything with nothing, so to have means we can breathe easier. The Portas application was quite rigorous and we did try hard, so it was disappointing, but to have some sort of recognition is great.”
She added the team was grateful for Dr Murrison’s backing.
“He’s said he would continue to support us and it’s great to have him on board,” she said.
The team now plans to spend some of the money on equipment for a weekly, town centre market, due to start early in 2013.
Mrs Gill has taken advantage of being a town team partner, visiting the London School of Economics for a Town Team Masterclass.
She said: “The Association of Town Centre Management have been brilliant. It was good to see what others are doing and bounce ideas around.”
Trowbridge mayor John Knight, who sits on the town team board, said: “It’s a boost. There’s a lot of enthusiastic and motivated people involved. Things are moving in the right direction.
“As far as I can see, Ellie and the team are working hard to produce results. The town council is supporting it and we can help facilitate certain things.”
Among its projects is a Christmas Crawl for shoppers, where people buy entry cards for £1 and visit 50 premises to collect stamps. Completed cards will be entered a draw for a £1,000 prize, with other prizes for runners-up.
There are also plans for a Dicken- sian market in Fore Street on December 15, to tie in with Trow-bridge Museum’s Dickensian Trail.
To find out more about either event, or to get involved, call Ellie Gill on 07971 184723.
Dr Andrew Murrison said: “I was very pleased to get the letter from Mark Prisk, the minister for housing. We’ve got this money and we’re now Town Team Partners.
“We were all very disappointed when we didn’t become a Portas town, but there was huge competition. This is consolation which I think will be warmly welcomed.
“There’s a general feeling of impatience in Trowbridge of wanting to fulfill the town’s potential and I think the Bowyers’ redevelopment and this Town Team initiative will be extremely helpful.”
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