A new campaign is underway to encourage people to support their local high street areas across Stoke-on-Trent.
The initiative aims to encourage residents to support local shops and businesses in their area and see some of the changes and improvements that are on their doorsteps.
It also aims to foster a collective responsibility for continuing to act in a safe manner – cleaning hands, wearing masks, regular testing – so our towns and businesses can continue to remain open as we approach the winter season.
The campaign centres on the See The Difference message, reflecting the call-to-action to get people out into towns and see what’s changed, what’s improved and remind themselves of the experiences of the high street.
Councillor Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “We want to inspire people to support our town centres and make an active choice to spend and shop locally. This is about generating a buzz around the brilliant shops and businesses across our local towns and city centre.
“Through the pandemic, many people have shopped online. We want to galvanise people back into our towns to use their local businesses and to create a shared responsibility for continuing to act safely and helping our businesses to do well given some of the awful challenges they’ve been facing in recent weeks and months.
“The campaign spotlights businesses across the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent. My sincere thanks go to those who have kindly given up their time to get involved. We hope others will be enthused to share the films, social content and generally spread the message to support local businesses.”
Businesses involved range from cafes to shops to market stalls to art galleries as well as parks and visitor attractions. A range of materials have been developed through the campaign including a series of films detailing some of the retailers and leisure premises in the six towns across the city.
Ann King, who owns The Glost House in Longton, has been involved said: “This campaign hopefully will encourage people to think about where they shop and who they spend their money with – that’s really important for small and independent businesses. And it’s never been more important than right now when we’ve all been so heavily hit by coronavirus.
“I’m hoping customers will give some careful consideration to how well they support their local high street and what sort of offer they want to see in their town, now and in the future. I’m also hoping that it will help to reconnect people who are still a little nervous about getting back to how things were before. It should give them reassurance and confidence to pledge their support locally.”
Peter Brassington, the owner of Brassington’s Shoes in the city centre, also features. He said: “We’ve been selling shoes in Hanley for over 120 years. The last 18 months have been worrying so it’s so good to be open again and selling shoes to families, who are both new and regular customers.
“It’s great to see a campaign like this – all the shops are doing everything possible to help people come out and buy again and we’re hoping that more people will be encouraged to give their support to local businesses now as a result.”
Amanda Bromley, owner of Barewall Art Gallery in Burslem, has also been part of the campaign and said: “I’m really pleased to be involved in this campaign. For us, it’s really important to encourage people to shop locally and businesses like mine really do appreciate people supporting shops, galleries and cafes and others in their local high street, especially at times like this.”
People can see the campaign on social media, on digital and outdoor screens across the city as well as on a touring lorry spreading messages travelling around the city. Toolkits are also in place for people to be able to pledge their support which urges people to share content using the hashtag #Seethedifference If businesses would like to be involved in the campaign, they can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
See the difference comes following the recent success of haulier firm Danny Poole’s truck drivers promoting Stoke-on-Trent’s cultural and heritage spots to potential tourists as they drive across Europe. It also builds on recent news that there has been a continued positive growth in respect of Gross Value Added (GVA) and an increase in foreign direct investment enquiries in the city.
The campaign is being funded by a Reopening High Streets Safely grant from the European Regional Development Fund, allocated to Stoke-on-Trent Council by the government.