Wakefield joins ‘Healthy High Streets’ programme
Wakefield Council and Wakefield City Centre Partnership are backing a national 'Healthy High Streets' programme which aims to create jobs, reduce empty shops and encourage more people to come into the city centre.
The city is the only place in Yorkshire to have been invited to join the 2015 scheme, which is led by the Business in the Community organisation.
The programme, first launched in June 2014, is backed by some of the UK's biggest high street brands - Boots UK, the Co-operative Group, Marks & Spencer and Santander and new partners EE, Exterion Media and Greggs.
Wakefield is one of 34 new high streets selected for the programme across the UK today, bringing the total number of participating high streets to 67.
The city will receive a bespoke package of support, including access to skills and expertise, and dedicated High Street Champions from supporting businesses who will work together with the local partnership team, the Council and relevant local partners to devise an action plan to address the specific challenges facing the city.
Cllr Denise Jeffery, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Skills at Wakefield Council said: "I welcome this new initiative to support and encourage the development of a vibrant city centre. The retail sector is a very important part of our economy and this scheme will create employment opportunities and bring empty shops back to life."
Robin Foale, Managing Director, Santander Business Banking, and chair of the Healthy High Streets programme said "Congratulations to Wakefield on being chosen to be part of the Healthy High Streets programme. This is a great opportunity to work with the business partners and the local High Street Champions to transform the city and create a thriving, vibrant centre for the local community."
Business in the Community's Peter Donohoe said: "One of the most powerful ways for business to make an impact in communities is by creating high streets that are vibrant places to live, work and do business. It has been heartening to see first-hand the practical difference that collaborative, business-led action can make on UK high streets in just one year. While there is much be proud of about our High Streets Programme we also know that there is more work to be done. We warmly welcome Greggs, EE and Exterion Media as programme partners and look forward to working with Wakefield to create lasting change."
To find out more about Business in the Community's high streets work visit www.bitc.org.uk/healthyhighstreets