Welcome Back Fund and Reopening High Street Safely Fund (COVID-19)

Last Updated: 13 September 2021

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We have received funding to help welcome people back to our high streets, and to reopen our high streets, safely.

Welcome back fund

South Lakeland District Council is providing up to £192,936 from the Government’s Welcome Back Fund via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The Welcome Back Fund builds on the existing Reopening High Streets Safely Fund to support the safe reopening of high streets and public places at the heart of towns and help build back better from the pandemic. This fund will enable South Lakeland District Council to put in place additional measures to create and promote a safe environment for local trade and tourism and respond to the impact of COVID-19.

What is planned

We are working with town and parish councils across the district and local business groups to implement a range of activities from August 2021, including:

  • information and communications to encourage responsible visitor behaviour and reassure and welcome communities back to the high street
  • continued deployment of high street ambassadors/marshals in town centres and visitor hot spots on public land in the Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere and Ambleside in peak visitor periods
  • place-based marketing campaigns to encourage more visitors to high streets and town centres and promote local events
  • temporary planting, lighting, art installations and additional seating areas in some areas to create a welcoming, festival feel for visitors
  • additional litter collections, graffiti removal and cleaning of ‘grot spots’ in key high street locations
  • piloting the use of footfall counters in town centres to assess the impact of, and recovery from, COVID-19
  • supporting town/parish councils or business groups to pilot small specialist markets, events and pop-ups on the high street or other public land and/or trial new digital promotional tools for towns

Reopening High Streets Safely Fund

The early Reopening High Streets Safely Fund provided £92,936 to South Lakeland District Council to support the safe reopening of high streets and public places at the heart of towns. from the Government via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

This activity was delivered from June 2020 and included communications, signage and public information activity, business facing advice and temporary public realm changes to ensure that the reopening of local economies could be managed successfully and safely following the end of the first national lockdown for Covid-19.

Reopening High Streets Safely Guidance gives more information about the fund.

What was done

We worked with town and parish councils across the district, as well as Cumbria County Council, the Lake District National Park and local business groups to implement a range of activities from June 2020 to encourage the public to visit their local town centres safely. The work included:

Public information campaigns:

  • adverts and press releases in the local newspaper, newsletters, leaflets, website and social media updates
  • awareness raising signage at the entrances to town centres to remind the public to socially distance and shop safely on local high streets and throughout town centres, including across street banners, railing banners, lamppost banners, A-boards, weather proof outdoor posters, shop window posters, vinyl window wraps on empty shops, bollard covers, pavement stencils
  • deployment of high street ambassadors/marshals in town centres and visitor hot spots on public land in Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere and Ambleside in peak visitor periods

Business support activity:

  • specific online help and guidance for food and licencing premises, with links to frequently asked questions
  • information about business support grants (COVID-19)
  • letters to retail businesses to highlight need for risk assessment and signpost to available support
  • business support toolkit published with the Lake District National Park containing posters, signage and messaging for businesses own use
  • locality teams monitoring and supporting businesses as they reopened
  • promotion of new measures introduced by Government (eg, mask wearing in shops, continued social distancing, queuing)

Physical changes

  • hand sanitisers units placed in busy high street locations
  • the introduction of temporary 20mph zones in Kendal, Ulverston, Bowness, Windermere, Ambleside and Kirkby Lonsdale

About this project

The project is receiving up to £285,872 of funding 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 in London the intermediate body 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.