East Midlands high streets shortlisted in the Government’s Great British High Street Awards

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Market Street in the East Midlands has been shortlisted in the Government’s Great British High Street Awards, in partnership with Visa, putting it in the running for up to £15,000.

After a rigorous selection process led by a panel of independent judges, the high street has been shortlisted for the Rising Star category, which celebrates high streets which are taking the lead to adapt and diversify.

The bid by Ashby de la Zouch Town Council follows research commissioned by Visa in April 2019 demonstrating the positive impact that the local high street has on communities. The research found that three quarters of consumers (75%) in the East Midlands say that shopping locally makes them feel happy, with over a third (46%) citing supporting local shops and knowing where their money is going as the main reason. Spending time with friends and family (24%) and offering a sense of community (21%) were other reasons cited for why high streets make people feel happier. The research also reveals that over half of consumers (57%) feel that their high street gives them a sense of pride in their local community.

High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP said: “Congratulations to Ashby De La Zouch for being shortlisted for the Rising Star Award for this year’s Great British High Street Awards.

“Market Street is blazing a trail with environmental projects to reduce single-use plastics, and the whole community has got involved in the ‘Big Tidy Up’ to keep their high street clean.

“High streets like this one define the spirit of ambition and innovation shared by towns across the Midlands Engine which are helping give new energy to their local economies.

“People are happier when they can see their hard-earned cash support local businesses. That is why we are celebrating those that go above and beyond to keep their high streets thriving for generations to come.”

Market Street in Ashby-de-la-Zouch is one of the 28 high streets that have been shortlisted for the Rising Star category. The category also includes Daventry Town Centre in Northamptonshire.

Belper Town in the East Midlands meanwhile has been shortlisted in the Champion High Street category.

High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP said: “Congratulations to Belper for being shortlisted for the Champion’s Award for this year’s Great British High Street Awards. There has been some brilliant work to make the high street really welcoming, with locals training as Belper Ambassadors to greet visitors.”

Belper Town is one of the 12 high streets to have been shortlisted in the Champion High Street category, which recognises the UK’s best high streets and includes Freeman Street in Grimsby, Lincolnshire.

All 40 high streets across the two categories are now in the running to win a prize of up to £15,000 to be dedicated to a local high street initiative.

Sundeep Kaur, Head of UK & Ireland Merchant Services at Visa, added: “We’ve seen some fantastic entries for this year’s Great British High Street Awards across both the Champion High Street and Rising Star categories.

“In particular, the desire to innovate stands out amongst this year’s entries, with high streets adapting to the challenges presented by a rapidly changing retail environment to find ways to thrive at a local level.

“As our research shows, high streets play a vital role at the heart of communities, so this is a great opportunity for those communities with shortlisted high streets to show their support by placing their votes on the Great British High Street website.”