Pictured: (l-r) Suzan Kereere, Simon Reeve and Jake Berry MP

Four weeks left for high streets to enter Great British High Street Awards

High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP has urged local businesses, councils, community groups and Business Improvement Districts to enter their high streets and shopping parades into the Great British High Street Awards, sponsored by Visa, before the 22nd August deadline.

With over 175 high streets having already registered their interest in entering the awards since nominations opened in June, the competition is heating up with communities across the country leading the high street fightback and celebrating the achievements of local individuals and businesses on their high streets.

Additionally, more than 60 MPs have also pledged their support for the Great British High Street Awards 2018, urging their local communities to enter.

High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP said: “The Great British High Street Awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise and celebrate our high street heroes - those dedicated shop keepers, committed community volunteers, and creative councils that work tirelessly to ensure that our high streets remain the beating hearts of local communities.”

“It’s never been easier to enter the awards and showcase the hard work of your community and with a month to go it’s time to get those applications in.”

This call for entries for the Great British High Streets Awards comes as new research from Visa, the Awards sponsor, reveals that late-night shopping has topped a list of the most popular initiatives shoppers think their high streets should adopt, with four in ten (39%) consumers saying such events would encourage to them use their high street more.

Family events, street parties and free parking days have also been cited as ways to increase footfall on high streets in the survey of 2,000 consumers.

The top 10 initiatives that shoppers want to see on their high streets are:

1. Late-night shopping events
2. Family- or community-focused events
3. Seasonal events, such as Easter egg hunts or switching on Christmas lights
4. Regular street parties
5. Business networking events
6. Free parking days
7. Farmers’ market
8. Food festivals
9. Discount days
10. Craft fairs

Suzan Kereere, Global Head of Merchant Services, Visa, added: “Visa is very proud to be supporting the Great British High Street Awards at a time when the nation’s high streets are transforming as both technology and consumer behaviour evolve, with consumers looking for a range of different experiences on their high streets. Businesses and communities have shown themselves to be highly adaptable, resilient and creative in meeting these demands.

“Visa is committed to finding innovative ways to support merchants and consumers and helping communities and economies to thrive. High street merchants help to establish and preserve bonds within communities that are as valuable as the economic benefits they generate.”

The Great British High Street Awards 2018, which are being run by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and sponsored by Visa, includes a competition to find the nation’s leading high streets, with winners being named in England, Scotland, Wales and – for the first time – Northern Ireland.

High streets can be entered across two categories: Champion High Street and Rising Star High Street, whilst an overall national winner will also be named. Shortlisted entries will be announced in September 2018.

TV presenter Simon Reeve and judge for the Great British High Street Awards 2018 commented: “I’ve spent the last 16 years travelling around the world and investigating what is happening in other countries, so I’m really looking forward to being a bit closer to home and meeting the unsung heroes helping the nation’s high streets to thrive.”

Look out for the Autumn issue of Better Retailing Magazine, due out in early September, in which you can read more on Government initiatives for UK High Streets and consumer attitudes to what kind of shopping experience they expect.

For more information about the Great British High Street Awards 2018 and to enter, visit: thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk.

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