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Making the most of shop jackpot gift

Wigan Market Place

Wigan Market Place

A COUNCIL chief has pledged that every last penny of a £100,000 Wigan town centre improvements windfall will be spent to maximum effect.

Last April, the authority was awarded the money through the High Street Innovation Fund: a scheme aimed at helping boost the local retail economy.

Town centre chiefs have since used the cash to encourage more shoppers into the area through a variety of events and initiatives.

They formed a steering group comprising the town centre management, independent traders, major retailers and the shopping centres from both Wigan and Leigh.

In the summer, weekly activities were held, alongside events complementing annual attractions such as the Wigan International Jazz Festival and the Food Festival.

Events were also organised around Armed Forces Day, the Olympic Torch Relay, the Jubilee and the Christmas lights switch-on.

Most recently, the council has been developing a package of support for retail businesses to increase skills within the retail sector.

The team has also been working with Wigan and Leigh College and Winstanley College, whose students have run stalls within Wigan market to sell goods they have produced.

Steve Normington, director of economy at Wigan Council, said: “We were pleased to receive this money as it helped pay for existing schemes and support the development of new initiatives, designed to drive customers into our town centres.

“Many of the ideas Mary Portas advocated in her government report have been practised in Wigan borough for some time.

“We are very proud of our record of supporting local high streets and the work we do with partners to ensure the borough’s retail sector is thriving.

“The good news is that over Christmas footfall in our town centres grew compared to the previous year. In this difficult economic climate, that’s quite an achievement.

“The council and its partners continue to support a host of initiatives and activities to bring people into the town centres.

“The successful Christmas lights switch-on events, which saw thousands of people attend events across the borough, were the most recent examples of this.

“The money from the High Street Innovation fund will continue to support activities of this kind.”

 

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