Posted on: Friday 19 June 2020
The First Minister has just announced that all non-essential businesses in Wales can reopen from Monday 22nd June. Therefore, we are encouraging residents to return to their local high street as soon as possible to support local businesses.
As the high street starts to reopen, the council will be launching a five week marketing campaign to showcase what our towns have to offer. Blaenavon, Cwmbran and Pontypool have some fantastic independent local retailers offering products that you can’t buy anywhere else, as well as offering high quality, fresh produce at affordable prices. These businesses have worked hard to survive the lockdown and will now need the support of their local community.
Pontypool Indoor Market is set to reopen on Thursday 25th June, and we will be supporting our traders with a bespoke marketing offer, and will support with rent to get them back up and running. The indoor marker is home to a diverse mix of food stores, gifts, crafts and services so we encourage residents to support these traders as well.
When shoppers do return, we want them to do so in the knowledge that the environment is as safe as possible. Socially-distanced queuing systems have been put in place in Cwmbran town centre, and many of our larger retailers in Pontypool (already open offering essential services) have already implemented good quality queuing systems. For our smaller traders in Pontypool and Blaenavon, our business advisors will be in town on the day of reopening to help design queueing systems if they need them. It is important that pedestrians have as much space as possible to move freely and so the council’s Enforcement officers will be in Pontypool Town Centre from the day of reopening to enforce traffic orders, and stop drivers inappropriately entering the pedestrianised area.
Executive Member for economy, skills & regeneration, Joanne Gauden, said: “We want to make sure that the local community knows what’s on offer on our high streets which is why we will be running a five week marketing campaign to promote them. Some of our independent traders already trade across the UK and we’re keen to help them continue to do this online.
“We have put measures in place to ensure our high streets are safe places to shop, and we want to make sure shoppers are aware of this. Safety is our top priority.
“It will be great to see our high streets come back to life, even if they are different to before. So please shop local and support your local traders. They need your help more than ever before.
Throughout the pandemic the council has been working closely with town centre businesses to ensure they have the support they required. We worked closely to stabilise our town centre businesses, and we have distributed over £8M in business support to over 700 high street businesses. Alongside this, we are in regular contact with over 100 of our local high street businesses in Blaenavon and Pontypool. We support these businesses access other sources of financial support to help them survive the crisis.
Many businesses continue to go above and beyond to help others during the crisis, whether it’s through volunteer deliveries, supporting the children of our key workers, or advising others on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Our business support team use all of our networks to showcase businesses who are doing something particularly well and to keep businesses working together through this challenging time.
We have also been helping businesses to adapt. Our Foundational Economy and Food Tourism projects have helped local traders adjust to new “home delivery” and online services, and will continue to work with businesses to develop long-term resilient income streams once the high street reopens. The council is also developing a mobile phone app with a local company so that businesses can showcase their products online.
To find out more about businesses in Torfaen visit www.southwalesbusiness.co.uk