Two more workshops for potential Portas Pilots

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The Association of Town Centre Management has scheduled two further workshops to give guidance to areas wishing to become Portas Pilots.

Workshops will be held in Wolverhampton on June 11 and Dartford on June 13. Attendance is free and entry forms can be found at www.atcm.org/events.

Wolverton and Bletchley were both unsuccessful in the first round of Portas Pilot bids but have since spoken of their determination to resubmit new bids.

This brings the total number of workshops the ATCM will have run to nine, with the Government looking to fund a total of 24 pilots across England, each receiving a share of over £2 million. The Mayor of London has also announced that three further pilots will be selected in London itself.

Half-day workshops have already been held in Solihull, Bristol, Bolton, Bradford and London, with more than 400 people attending from all over the country.

The workshops have been organised by the ATCM on behalf of the Department of Communities and Local Government to provide insights into the background of the Portas Review, the Government’s thinking, essential elements of making a good application and tips on public relations and social media as well as ideas for maintaining momentum.

Martin Blackwell, CEO of the ATCM said, “This is a great opportunity not just to make sure that the best possible applications are submitted, but to use the occasion to meet others who are passionate about their High Street and learn from each other.”

In announcing the initial funding round for the pilots in February, DCLG minister Grant Shapps said, “In the face of stiff competition from Internet shopping and out-of-town shopping centres, it’s clear that our high streets need to offer something new if they’re to survive.

“That’s why I’ve urgently implemented two of the most important recommendations from Mary Portas’s review, to find 12 Portas Pilot areas that can use their enthusiasm, energy and imagination to put into practice their innovative ideas for breathing new life into their town centres.

“I would like to thank the Association of Town Centre Management for agreeing to host these workshops, which I hope will help town teams across the country put pen to paper, and their ideas on film, and show me their ambitions for reinvigorating their areas.”

The second round of funding for a further 12 Pilots was announced as part of the Government’s formal response to the Portas review at the end of March as part of the ‘Portas Plus’ Deal.

To find out more about the Town Team pilots - ‘Portas pilots’ - see http://www.communities.gov.uk/regeneration/economicgrowth/townteams/