LGA responds to Welcome Back Fund for town centres

"After a hugely challenging time, local businesses will continue to need support. This new funding will support ongoing council efforts to help local businesses to prepare to reopen safely and successfully when restrictions start to ease."


An empty town high street with a coronavirus interactive poster in the street

Commenting on the government’s new Welcome Back Fund to encourage greater visitors to high streets once restrictions ease, Cllr David Renard, Economy Spokesperson for the Local Government Association said:

“Councils continue to lead local efforts to support businesses through the pandemic and share the excitement about the prospect of our high streets and non-essential shops reopening again.

“After a hugely challenging time, local businesses will continue to need support. This new funding will support ongoing council efforts to help local businesses to prepare to reopen safely and successfully when restrictions start to ease.

“We pleased that this is a more flexible fund and that councils are able to make decisions on how it is used in their local area to maximise the impact.”

Case studies

Watford Borough Council: The Council set up a Business Recovery and Growth fund, helping nearly 300 businesses in the town with free advice and skills training to help them through the challenging lockdown period. The council also teamed up with tech giant WhatsApp to create the UK’s first WhatsApp High Street, making use of the WhatsApp Business App to enable businesses to communicate with customers in a new and innovative way.

Lichfield District Council: The Council launched a ‘#LoveLocal’ campaign, encouraging residents to return to their local high streets, providing a high profile campaign across the council area and materials for local businesses. They also had a dedicated information officer to provide 1:1 safety advice to local businesses about how to reopen in a COVID-secure manner.

London Borough of Newham: The council are working to create new ‘15 minute neighbourhoods’, with changes to street scape and more pedestrian friendly areas, encouraging greater social distancing and more people to walk and cycle to their local high streets.

Notes to editors

The initiatives featured in the case studies listed above were funded through a variety of different ways, including the government’s Reopening High Street’s Safely Fund.