Campaign aims to help High Streets beat virus and online challenges

Campaign aims to help High Streets beat virus and online challenges

Behind the campaign- ‘Say Hi to your High Street’ – is Tunbridge Wells Borough Council which has been provided with Government funding. The Times has been chosen as its media partner.

The aim is to encourage people to shop safely and locally, to attract new visitors, to restore confidence and ultimately boost footfall and spend.

“The coronavirus pandemic has made the last 12 months incredibly challenging for our local independent stores, and that’s on top of the already-established trend towards online shopping,” said Hilary Smith, head of economic development manager at TWBC. 

“That’s why we are so delighted to be undertaking this project to encourage local residents and visitors to support our wonderfully diverse local high streets to help ensure their viability as places to shop, relax and explore.”

Nell Price, of the ‘creative space’ Arty Farty Retreat in Southborough, said: “We have almost been closed for longer than we’ve been open.  It’s been devastating after such a good summer in 2020. 

“The more people locally who can support small businesses like mine over the next year or even two, will be the difference in the studio closing or staying open. 

“With more people than ever working from home, hopefully they will be willing to explore what Southborough has to offer and spend their leisure time there.”

Lisa Edwards of Hawkhurst interiors and gift store, Ooh How Lovely, added: “Business for my shop has been a total experience of learning to adapt. It’s vital to have local support but also be available and offer adapted services when situations change.”

‘Say Hi to your High Street’ will run for the next 10 weeks. Each high street will have two key focus weekends; a ‘spotlight’ weekend and a treasure hunt weekend, with the chance to win prizes donated by the traders. 

Former BBC South East presenter, Rob Smith, will be filming in each of the high streets to showcase the different characters of each, with his videos being shared across social media to coincide with the spotlight weekends.

‘Say Hi to your High Street’ will be also be promoted through PR campaigns, social media, advertising and local influencers.

It’s all being co-ordinated by Tunbridge Wells marketing and PR agency, Sharp Minds Communications.  Director Siobhan Stirling commented:

“This is a fantastic injection of resources for these high streets in the borough. But it’s important to remember that this is a short-term campaign, and our local traders need long-term support to recover from the pandemic and to enable them to compete with the internet.

“We’re hoping we can encourage local residents and visitors to be confident about saying Hi to their high streets now – and in the future.”

The Times will be keeping readers up to date with events as the initiative unfolds.


Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter