The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund provided funding to the council to use throughout 2020/2021 to support the safe reopening of high streets and public places at the heart of towns.
The funding was from the Government via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The scope of the fund has now been amended and allows a wider range of activities with additional funding. This is now called the Welcome Back Fund and funding must be used by March 2022.
Activities that have been funded so far, are:
- public realm safety messages: floor stickers, floor markings, banners, bollard covers, posters, lamp column banners and local artists safety message on posters, social media and bus stops
- advertising in local media: a 12 month radio and 3 month digital advertising exchange (DAX) campaign, and digital and print campaign with local news outlet
- welcome hosts: provided advice and hand sanitiser to visitors during summer 2020
- templates and guidance packs: downloadable resources for businesses to use. View these on the BID website
More work is being planned through the Welcome Back Fund, which includes:
- media: more campaigns to encourage people back to our Borough
- events: funding has been put towards providing additional events in the town such as the Southend Arts Festival, HMS Leigh and 3 additional fireworks displays
- public realm: display units to promote local events, public art, maintenance project for the High Street and more
These activities have been funded through the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.
Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit the GOV.UK website.