Bunting, blooms and bands are just some of the elements that have made an appearance on our high streets over the past few months as part of the borough-wide ‘Love Ealing, Love Local’ campaign to entice residents back to our shopping parades and town centres.
Since the summer, Ealing High Street’s Task Force has been working on a programme of activity to ensure that our high streets are safe, attractive places to visit. This includes installing decorative bunting, hanging floral arrangements, and putting up Christmas trees to bring the festive sparkle back to our town centres.
Residents of all ages and backgrounds have also been invited to come out and enjoy a series of free events ranging from a pop-up cinema and outdoor performances to informative guided walking tours, helping people to rediscover their local areas and encounter less-familiar parts of the borough.
All of this was done to encourage support for local businesses and help our high streets recover and begin to thrive again after many difficult months.
‘Much needed boost’
“We often don’t see what’s on our doorstep for one reason or another, so to be reminded of it, or for an event to ‘allow’ us to take time out of busy lives and enjoy our surroundings is wonderful – for personal wellbeing as well as in bringing life back into the community after COVID,” said local resident Philippa Egan, who attended the pop-up cinema and one of the walking tours.
“It’s not just that the events were enjoyable and brought people together as a community,” she added, “They were also helping to create support for shops, restaurants and other local amenities, giving a much needed boost both financially to the local economy and in person to the people who run and work in them, after taking a hit and working so hard to make safe environments for us all to return to.”
Switching focus to the future
Ealing’s High Streets Task Force is a partnership between Ealing Council and the local business community, including Make It Ealing, Your Acton BID, InWest Ealing BID, Pitshanger Village Traders Association, Southall Communities and local business owners. Since June 2020, the group has been meeting monthly to identify ways of supporting our local businesses and rebuild thriving high streets.
Initially, the task force focused on supporting business during the COVID-19 restrictions and making the high streets safe to visit.
“We are now also focused on the future,” said John Martin, Ealing High Streets Task Force chairperson. “And we are continuing to look at ways to support all our shopping parades, high streets and town centres. This includes not only encouraging people to use local businesses but also helping businesses by participating in a pilot to identify vacant units for new ventures, looking at ways to improve active travel, producing guides to support the development of traders associations, and sharing information on issues and trends that affect local businesses generally.”
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, the council’s cabinet member for decent living incomes, said: “By working in partnership with our business community, Ealing High Streets Task Force is helping to build back a stronger local economy, which benefits both businesses and residents in the long run.
“Local business not only shape our communities but also create local jobs and contribute to funding local services which ultimately benefit everyone.”
Residents can play their part choosing to shop local where possible, this can be as simple as buying a coffee. Joining the Love Ealing, Love Local campaign and post about your purchase, experience or favourite local business on social media using hashtag #LoveEalingLoveLocal and tag @EalingCouncil on Twitter, @EalingLondon on Facebook and @ealingcouncil on Instagram.
You can also help local businesses without spending a penny by taking time to leave online reviews of businesses you love and spreading the word by telling others about positive experiences. Like, follow and share your favourite businesses on social media. Engage with their posts and share their stories. These small steps can make a big difference to local businesses.
If you run a local business and want to get involved in helping to your local high street by joining Ealing’s High Street Task Force register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome back funding
Work to support the high streets is possible thanks to the funding Ealing’s High Streets Task Force has received from the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund and the Welcome Back Fund from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Greater London Authority is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.
Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.