Ahead of shops reopening on Monday 15th June, the government has today announced the launch of a package of support to help high streets get back on their feet.
In effort to help shops get back safely into business, the High Street Task Force will offer access to cutting-edge tools, training, information and advice across England.
Mark Robinson, co-founder of Ellandi and leading investor in regional town centres, has been confirmed as the Chair of the Task Force Board.
The new Board will guide the work of the Task Force and act as a national voice for the high streets.
Support from the Task Force will be open to local councils and organisations involved with high streets. It will include free access to online training programmes, webinars, data and intelligence on topics including recovery planning and coordination, public space and place marketing.
The support will form one part of the Task Force’s four year programme to get high streets back on their feet.
The announcement follows the opening of the government’s £50 million Reopening High Streets Safely Fund which will support local councils to safely reopen their high streets and other commercial areas.
High Streets Minister Simon Clarke MP said:
“The re-opening of our high streets will be a crucial part of kick-starting our economic recovery and restarting town life”
“That is why I welcome the appointment of Mark Robinson to head up the High Streets Task Force. I know that Mark will be a strong voice for ensuring that local businesses get the support they need to reopen safely in the coming weeks.”
“Combined with our £50 million Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, the work of the Task Force will support our high streets through this challenging time and ensure they have the tools they need to get back on their feet.”
Mark Robinson, Chair of the Task Force, said:
I am delighted and honoured to be asked to lead this initiative. No-one underestimates the challenges to our town centres, but this long-term initiative, running until 2024, shows the government’s commitment to our towns and the transformation required. I look forward to making change happen.”
“The Task Force has already provided invaluable advice to town centre stakeholders in the current crisis and we will continue to build capacity, promoting best practice, led by research and evidenced by data. The Task Force will provide a rallying point for all of the people who care about our high streets and advocate the change that is needed.”
Gary Maddock, Town Centre Manager working to help develop St Helens, Merseyside, said:
“The coronavirus crisis is forcing us to think and act differently. In St Helens, we are developing our recovery plan working alongside partners, including those from across the Liverpool City Region, using the High Streets Task Force COVID-19 Recovery Framework.”
“From a position of great uncertainty, the Framework and Task Force resources immediately made sense. Their help is incredibly valuable in plotting a course for the crisis recovery and longer-term transformation of our high streets.”
Over the next 4 years, the Task Force will work with over 100 towns and cities to provide dedicated expert support, mentoring, guidance and access to data and intelligence.