Friday, April 12th, 2024

Your Town Centre News

More financial help for businesses

Millions of pounds of support to help businesses recover from the pandemic will be available soon.
The South East Local Enterprising Partnership (SELEP) COVID-19 Recovery Funds Programme has earmarked £4.4m to support the recovery of the economy, investing directly in those areas across the South East most affected by the pandemic. The cash is intended to support start up, help businesses harness digital technology and support for the visitor economy.
There’s likely to be fierce completion for the funds, so we’re recommending that you register with SELEP for updates so you can apply as soon as the scheme is open.

The Courtyard – Westerham

The Courtyard is a café that prides itself on fresh local ingredients, delicious homemade products and warm, friendly service. Nestled on Westerham High Street, you’ll find plenty of seating that extends through the rear of the shop and into the courtyard that inspired their name. This week we’ve been chatting to owner, Ian Sharp, about how reopening their doors has felt…

How have you found reopening?
Reopening has been curious! It has felt like a whole new start. Although we were shut for a long period at the shop, our charity work on the Community Meals Project meant we were kept very busy so getting back into the swing of things was not quite so demanding.

Have you been busy?
We have been relatively busy interspersed with a couple of VERY busy days! I think we are re-establishing ourselves in the market place after so long a time away and we’ve had a dramatic revamp which has changed our look entirely.

Do you think people are still unsure about dining in?
With new variants being discussed on the news there is still a slight feeling of wariness among certain customers who may be reluctant to venture out for too long, however, most people are extremely keen to celebrate local businesses again… hence we are taking more and more bookings for our Friday and Saturday evenings!
We have a QR Check-In table with a signing in book for those unable to scan, regular sanitising points around the shop and the staff must wear all necessary PPE.

What lessons has the last year taught you?
The main lessons learnt were through our work with the Community Meals Project. Every member of our team (and members from the past) became involved. It engendered a real community spirit, taught us the value of teamwork and left us marvelling at how generous people are when needs were great!

You can visit Ian and The Courtyard at 19 High Street, Westerham, TN16 1RA.

Continuing to support High Streets

Since indoor hospitality opened on 17 May, we’ve continued to support businesses by sharing pubs’, restaurants’ and cafés’ videos across our social media channels. The campaign has had a really good response and the videos have been watched nearly 4000 times!

Shopper’s insight

Local Government communications agency WESTCO have been pulling together data to find out how shoppers are feeling about returning to the High Street. Here are some of the headlines:

  • An average of between 62% and 68% are happy to shop in non-essential retail on the high street.
  • 73% want to support their local shops and businesses.
  • 46% say lockdown has made them more inclined to shop locally.

This insight will help us with the next phase of our campaigns to reassure customers that high streets are safe places to shop and the benefits of shopping locally.

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