“I’m doing all I can to encourage Londoners to safely return to our high streets” Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Channel 1 Los Angeles

7/21/2021 London

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has today announced funding for innovative projects all across the capital aimed at ensuring London’s high streets can flourish and thrive as we emerge from the pandemic. In partnership with councils, business groups and other local organisations 35 exemplar projects will be given seed funding by the Mayor of £20k each, to address issues such as bringing vacant buildings into use, protecting cultural spaces, boosting community business and supporting employment on the high street.

London’s high streets have been impacted hugely by the pandemic, with a loss of over £5 billion in retail sales just in central London as a result of COVID last year. Across the UK, The British Retail Consortium estimate there are around 5,000 fewer shops since the start of the pandemic, meaning one in seven shops now lie empty.

In response, the ‘High Streets for All’ mission was one of nine missions approved by the London Recovery Board in September 2020 to respond to the challenge of building back London’s economy and society, with the Mayor working alongside working alongside London Councils, local authorities, the capital’s business partnerships and its diverse communities.*

While the longer-term impact of COVID on London’s high streets remains uncertain, the Mayor has today reiterated that the capital’s leaders will have to be ‘bold and innovative’ over the coming months to ensure high streets can survive as diverse bustling centres of London’s economy.

Today’s announcement of £700,000 funding for 35 exemplar projects across the capital, includes –

  • The Barking Town Centre Stakeholder Group seeks to transform a vacant council office building into a welcoming space and testbed model of hybrid workspace, delivering business space, jobs and event space – supporting the growth of the evening economy and community uses.
  • The Residents of Edmonton Angel Community Together group will take a community first approach to intensify the use of the Fore Street Living Room Library, to build capacity, invigorate local enterprise and develop a cultural programme which supports the night-time economy. 
  • A partnership led by Lewisham Council will build a partnership between the council, public services, land owners, businesses, cultural organisations, education providers and the local community to agree a shared vision for the future of Lewisham High Street. It will identify and deliver projects which will increase footfall within the town centre.
  • The Somali Advice and Forum of Information (SAAFI)’s strategy for Church Road in Brent will promote a cyclical ecosystem for local people to create, develop and return goods to the community. This circular economy approach includes initiatives which will facilitate, promote and provide local employment opportunities, educational and skills training, locally produced food, resources, and goods and services.
  • The Future Wood Green BID’s strategy will help test the potential for neighbourhood kitchens to support local food start-ups and catalyse high street revival. 
  • The council’s plans for Greenwich Town Centre will intensify the use of the Greenwich Town Centres market to create an inclusive evening/night time economy with regular night street eateries run by the Good Food in Greenwich network.
  • The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Youth Council will create an “Urban Youth Room” on Notting Hill Gate – a permanent premises on the high street that is a space to display work, create ideas, and deliver projects along the high street, and for the wider area. 

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