Portas Pilot - Dartford's winning bid!The Town Team recommendations and bid reflect what is needed to breathe life into and enhance the economic conditions in our High Street.
Supporting business start-ups & Dartford's markets
In our vision the High Street becomes an incubator for start-up businesses so talented young people can open a retail outlet or market stall. We want to create new business opportunities and attract fresh talent to the town centre.
- 20 x £1,000 bursaries to enable entrepreneurs to start-up new market stalls on our Thursday, Saturday or Sunday markets.
- 6 x £1,500 to purchase some new pop-up market stalls (for above).
- £15,000 seed funding to support a new six-month Sunday market pilot which will also be boosted by free parking on Sundays
Dartford My Street, evening economy & working with the local community
Our Town Team has already started re-imagining the High Street and are currently using it as rallying point for our Pilot. They have developed the Dartford My Street programme to deliver our vision and create opportunities to re-invigorate the High Street. The key words are My Street and the activities will enable everyone from artists to entrepreneurs to explore their creativity whilst introducing the residents of Dartford to new, exciting and culturally diverse activities.
We also want people to enjoy a programme of events that focuses on developing the evening economy of Dartford, bringing new audiences for existing cultural provision and attracting a broader clientele for food and drink outlets. In our vision a High Street which looks good and attracts a lot of use has to be a High Street which feels good!
- £15,000 for staging and allied equipment to facilitate community activities
- £15,000 to raise the profile and promote the Dartford My Street programme and organise allied events both day and night.
- £30,000 to purchase a permanent cover for a prominent event space in the High Street (this will enable myriad events)
Business support & enhancing the High Street's attraction
Our challenge is to use the bid to create social capital and add value to existing town centre regeneration projects. Businesses have suggested using a shop as a real-life social networking site, where people can come along, put up adverts, hot desk, promote their business, find a plumber, a builder or provide/receive mentoring advice. We will also seek help from West End advisors on window displays, retail marketing and customer services. This expertise and hands-on experience will then be shared with market traders and businesses via our retail skills training scheme, creating a learning culture.
- £15,000 to fund specialist retail marketing and promotion training, customer care training, merchandising and window dressing.
- £30,000 to develop a shop as a social network which will also be used for training and mentoring.
People should receive rewards for shopping locally and benefit from discounts on theatre tickets, gym membership and be made aware of activities taking place in the town centre. Our loyalty card will attract new visitors to the High Street and enables retailers to deliver effective local marketing activity; it also compels shoppers to make repeat visits and helps businesses to keep flourishing.
- £10,000 to support a new loyalty card scheme and App for Dartford My Street
Should improvement to the High Street be facilitated in any special and specific way? We think 'Yes'. We feel Dartford My Street could eventually be funded through a formal business/charity structure set-up specifically for that purpose. Putting the Town Team on a firmer footing would further the objectives of Dartford My Street and ensure long term sustainability.
We are ready to deliver these projects now, and they will be project managed by the Town Team over 18 months. Dartford Borough Council will also match fund the money provided by Department for Communities and Local Government to support the initiative.
Total Bid £159,000 (half to be matched funded by Dartford Borough Council)