Town centres to get makeovers
Shop front makeovers and websites to promote independent retailers will aim to improve trade after eight towns received a cash boost.
Coalville, Earl Shilton, Hinckley, Market Harborough, Shepshed and Wigston have all received £10,000 grants to help revitalise their high streets.
Oakham and Uppingham, in Rutland, have also received the same cash amount to share between them in a joint project.
The money has been awarded by the Government to more than 300 Town Team Partner communities throughout the country which missed out on securing funding in a scheme run by retail guru Mary Portas earlier this year. Each town will also be given advice about how it can improve trade.
David Tredinnick, MP for Bosworth, who submitted the applications from Hinckley and Earl Shilton, said it would "help improve trading conditions in two important shopping centres".
He said: "Hinckley plans to use part of the investment to help shopkeepers make the most of an online presence to boost trade, while Earl Shilton will use some of the money to perform a 'makeover' on some shop fronts in the town."
Hinckley Town Centre Partnership spokesman Jonathan White said of the grant: "It will be used to help promote our small independent retailers and help them gain a presence online."
Wigston trader Bob Gillard, who runs Value Carpets, in North Street, said: "I welcome the package of support as it will help boost business locally."
Each town partnership will have access to an advice line and a network of advisers managed by the Association of Town Centre Management.
Special national events will be organised so they can learn from other town teams and secure support from industry experts and trade bodies.
Town centres also have the opportunity to win a share in the £1 million Future High Street X-Fund.
Charnwood Borough Council town centre regeneration spokesman Stephen Hampson said: "I am delighted to see that the effort of Shepshed's team had already caught the attention of the Government."
As revealed yesterday, in Harborough, the chamber of trade will be working to set up an annual history weekend to attract shoppers while in Rutland, new signposts will direct visitors from Rutland Water to Oakham and Uppingham.