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£56m Welcome Back Fund: councils can rebuild High Streets with events

The Government has launched a new fund intended to boost England's High Streets, and which makes a provision for events.

While part of the £56m Welcome Back Fund will be allocated specifically to support coastal areas, with funding going to all coastal resorts across England to safely welcome holiday makers in the coming months, councils will also be able to prepare to hold events like street markets and festivals to support local businesses.

The move is an encouraging as it hints that the Government are beginning to identify that events play a vital role in local economies.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick has identified the first 70 Local Authorities across England which will receive the funding.

Premises with outdoor spaces, primarily those serving food such as pubs, will be able to erect marquees for the entire summer, rather than the usually permitted 28 days and car parking restrictions will be eased.

“Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely,” said minister Jenrick.

“As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much.”

The Government’s High Street Taskforce said that over 60% of Local Authorities and over 3,000 people have engaged with them to offer insight into the future of town centres, with events expected to play a major role.  

Professor Cathy Parker, the High Streets Task Force Research Lead, said: “The Task Force recognises that High Streets must evolve from monofunctional shopping centres to multifunctional community hubs and this process is driven by inspirational and knowledgeable local place leaders working in partnership across council, business and the community. The Task Force is here to support these managers and leaders.”

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Find out which 70 Local Authorities have been identified to receive funding first here.

Funding received by each region (England)

East Midlands (England)

£4.9m

East of England

£6.1m

London

£8.2m

North East (England)

£2.5m

North West (England)

£7.7m

South East (England)

£9.6m

South West (England)

£5.5m

West Midlands (England)

£6.2m

Yorkshire and The Humber

£5.4m

Total

£56.1m