26th Apr, 2017

Conference hopes to help attract shoppers back into town centres

A BID to attract shoppers offline and into town centres is launched in Warwickshire next week.

The Warwickshire Together conference in Kenilworth will focus on a range of initiatives to help boost the region’s town centres in the face of increasing competition from the internet and out of town shopping.

One project being launched is a new collaboration between Warwickshire County Council and a crowdfunding platform – Spacehive. Through the platform, the county council will provide a £134,000 pot of cash for civic projects across Warwickshire.

The Spacehive platform has already been used to fund a public Wifi network in Mansfield, create an urban farm from the grounds of an abandoned school in North London, build a temporary water slide in Bristol and save a derelict Grade II dispensary in Manchester as a creative hub.

The conference will also featurepresentations, panel based questions and answers, networking opportunities and talks from experts such as Martin Blackwell, former CEO of the Association of Town City Management (ATCM), and business specialist Xav Anderson.

County council leader and economic spokesman Izzi Seccombe said: “It’s clear we have to think differently about where finance is coming from and this is where civic crowdfunding comes in.

“Aside from the obvious benefits of being able to leverage funding from local businesses, charities and individuals, alongside funding from local government, the simplicity of the process is also appealing for many users of the platform.”

The Warwickshire Together conference is being organised by the county council’s Town Centres & Tourism Team dedicated to supporting town centres to grow. The team has set up the Warwickshire Towns Network which consists of representatives from local authorities, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), and representatives from Warwickshire’s smaller towns to share ideas and develop joint initiatives to help support each other.