Wellington has been shortlisted for a prestigious national title for its regeneration efforts.
The town has entered the government’s ‘Great British High Street’ awards and is a big step closer to walking away with one of the top accolades, having been shortlisted for the Rising Star category.
The entry is a collaborative effort between the Telford & Wrekin Council, Wellington Town Council and the community – all headed up through the Love Wellington campaign, which was launched to promote the town.
Hanna Leeson one of the Love Wellington team said: “To be a finalist in this competition is incredible recognition of the great work going on all around the town.
“There are so many volunteer groups doing fantastic things and the councils are partnering with the community and Love Wellington to make Wellington great again.”
Current regeneration initiatives, highlighted in the award entry, include the recently-opened Wellington Orbit, a community cinema, café and arts venue; an empty shops grant scheme funded by Telford & Wrekin Council which has attracted new businesses such as Nanny’s Bakery, Nathan Rous PR and The Walnut restaurant; a programme of façade improvements, concentrated on the historic market square and a mural trail; all of which are receiving funding through Telford & Wrekin Council’s Pride in Our High Streets Programme.
Community and business-led initiatives include the formation of the Friends of Wellington Station and several local litter picks – including those organised by The YMCA, All Saints Church and youngster Shannon Marsh Lloyd.
In addition, Friends of Dothill Nature Reserve are improving wildlife habitats, whilst the Friends of Bowring Park are injecting new life into the town’s Edwardian recreation ground; Wellington H2A organises colourful arts and heritage events through the year and Wellington LA21 celebrates the history of the town with walks and trails, working in partnership with Walkers are Welcome.
Hanna added: “Retailers and traders will have an important part to play in our entry – demonstrating that they are adopting new technologies such as their online visibility through social media and embracing more modern payment methods.
“It’s been wonderful to be part of the Love Wellington team since March and see all the positive things that are happening in our lovely town. There are ten of us in the team and we are all members of the Wellington community; I’ve lived here all my life and run a business in the town, and my partner runs a framing business in the market.
“The Love Wellington team members didn’t know each other before, but our shared love for Wellington and our commitment to help promote the town has united us into a focused task force.”
Research by Visa, partner of the Great British High Street Awards, found that eight out of ten (77%) consumers in the West Midlands say that shopping locally makes them feel happy, with nearly half (45%) citing supporting local shops and knowing where their money is going as the main reason. Spending time with friends and family (21%) and offering a sense of community (21%) were other reasons cited for why high streets make people feel happier. The research also reveals that over a nearly half of consumers (46%) feel that their high street gives them a sense of pride in their local community.
Sundeep Kaur, Chief Judge of the awards and Head of UK & Ireland Merchant Services at Visa, added: “We’ve seen some fantastic entries for this year’s Great British High Street Awards across both the Champion High Street and Rising Star categories. In particular, the desire to innovate stands out amongst this year’s entries, with high streets adapting to the challenges presented by a rapidly changing retail environment to find ways to thrive at a local level.
“As our research shows, high streets play a vital role at the heart of communities, so this is a great opportunity for those communities with shortlisted high streets to show their support by placing their votes on the Great British High Street website.”
Vote for Wellington
The public can cast their vote for the award and there will also be an independent judging panel who will visit the town on September 5, with the winners being revealed at an awards ceremony in November.