Rediscover your local high street safely and boost local businesses. That’s the appeal being made to the residents of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole in the latest drive to support the local economy through the covid-19 pandemic.
The campaign, ‘Rediscover Safely’ being launched by BCP Council, aims to reassure people that it is safe to shop and eat out, but also reminds people of their personal responsibilities of wearing masks, keeping distance and washing hands – ‘hands, face, space’.
‘Rediscover Safely’ will focus on invigorating the town centres of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and encouraging people to not forget local businesses and high street shops. Residents will see adverts spring up across the three towns as well as online and on local radio, reminding them what’s on offer in their area, aiming to remind us all what we may have missed about our local high streets, and hoping to tempt us back to visit. These will be on billboards, buses and in shops themselves, all funded by a Reopening High Streets Safely grant from the European Regional Development Fund, allocated to BCP Council by the government.
Leader of the Council Cllr Drew Mellor explains: “We want to inspire people to make an active choice to spend and shop locally, with the positive impact this has on making their area a great place to live.
“Whether you like to shop, pop out for lunch or meet a friend for coffee in one of our main town centres, or just up the road from home, we’re encouraging you to make the most of the vibrant and enticing high street offers all across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
“People may be reluctant to step back out on to the High Street but local businesses and retailers are in great need of local community support, residents need to feel safe enough to reconnect with retails and hospitality outlets on their doorsteps.”
Cllr Nicola Greene, Portfolio Holder for Covid Resilience said: “Retailers, those in the hospitality sector and other high street businesses have been working really hard to make sure they comply with government requirements including increasing sanitisation, rearranging their premises layouts to facilitate social distancing, and participating in test and trace. I’d like to thank all businesses for doing that so thoroughly. It’s now time for all of us to do our bit with confidence that we can now rediscover our favourite shopping areas safely.”
Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Economy and Strategic Planning Cllr Phil Broadhead added: “The criteria for securing the funding was specifically for reigniting high street shopping. In readiness for campaign go-live, our Economic Development team have been visiting shops and other premises and sharing guidance, so shoppers can feel confident they are in a safe environment.”
He added, “I am particularly pleased that this campaign supports not just the main town centres, but also fourteen other local centres across our area, a positive demonstration of our commitment to revitalise our high streets and local centres right across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. It’s vital shoppers are now confident to go back to the high street and reassured that together we are doing all we can to during these challenging times.”
Heather Martyn, President Bournemouth Chamber of Trade: “We are lucky to have such vibrant and popular shopping districts across the conurbation of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. High Streets countrywide have suffered even more this year and it is essential that we reconnect with customers, suppliers and visitors to ensure they want to return. It’s vital that we all rediscover what our high streets have to offer, if independent stores and high streets are to return to what they once were and that we can safely support local businesses once again.”
Around 90% of business in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are micro-businesses with less than 10 employees and, according to a recent survey*, statistics have revealed that almost half (48%) of consumers say it will take months or longer for the way they shop to return to normal.
‘Rediscover Safely’ runs for the next three months and will be supported by local businesses, Bournemouth BID, Christchurch Chamber and Poole BID as well as transport companies.
For more information, please visit: bcpcouncil.gov.uk/shopsafe
Additional quotes from supporters:
Steve Reilly of Poole BID
“We love to shop, we love to meet and socialise – the high street and Quay needs the support, there’s a great offer on our doorstep and the safe shopping environments we have created will give people the confidence to continue venture out and support local.”
Martin Davies, Chair of Bournemouth BID
“There’s no doubt the town centre has been affected by the pandemic. We have missed socialising and its importance to our wellbeing has been highlighted this year. With the launch of ‘Rediscover Safely’ we’re urging people to do just that, the high street is safe and ready to welcome people back, with confidence, to their favourite restaurant, bar, café and shop.”
Andrew Barfield, President of Christchurch Chamber of Trade & Commerce
“There’s a wealth of retail and hospitality offers along Christchurch high street - independents and chains, all needing the support of local residents. With the launch of ‘Rediscover Safely’ we must support local businesses and the high street where and when we can.”
Paul Clarke, Chair of Coastal BID
“I’m delighted to see that the smaller coastal villages across the BCP region are represented with support going beyond Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole town centres, a safe shopping and customer experience is vital for the high street and all it offers.”
Andy Lennox - Wonky Table, Director Town Centre BID and BCP Destination Management Board
“Local entrepreneurial businesses are the heartbeat of our communities and now, more than ever before, we need the help of all our residents to keep them going. Going out locally and to independents helps your community and we want people to reconnect with their favourite independent café, restaurant, pub or bar. They will be the beating hard of the economic recovery post Covid-19.”
**Insight from the EY Consumer Report, June 2020