Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Morecambe gains 'Portas Pilot' Funding for new cafe





Morecambe is to receive £100,000 in government funding to set up a new community café in the town centre and help support local businesses.

The town is one of 15 new areas that have been selected to take part in Portas Pilots, taking the total across the country to 27.

The pilots are being set up following an independent review carried out by retail expert Mary Portas into the future of Britain’s high streets.

The funding for Morecambe will be used to set up a new community café where people will be able to get advice and support to take up business and training opportunities. All profits will be ploughed back into the local community to help regenerate the area.

Morecambe has long suffered from high shop vacancy rates, which the Town Team who bid for Portas Pilot funding are very keen to address. For this, the team are looking beyond retail to make the high street a social area, with a new community café where people will be able to get advice and support to take up business and training opportunities. All profits made from branding will be ploughed back into the local community to help regenerate the area.

John Watkins, manager of the Arndale Centre, local businesses, marketing company SATO and members of Morecambe Town Council, including town clerk David Croxall and deputy leader Darren Clifford, were the Team who came up with the ‘MoreCanBedone’ bid for the regeneration pot, which has been successful in the second round of funding announcements and making a revised bid after it lost out in the initial round earlier in the year to other towns.

Morecambe MP David Morris (who seems to have jumped the gun on revealing the bid's success to The Visitor ahead of the official announcement today) is "delighted" that Morecambe has been selected to receive Portas money.

“I am thrilled that communities up and down the country have looked beyond the money and have been mobilised to create 'town teams' and demand more for their high streets," said Mary Portas.

"Whilst I shall continue to fight for the other 27 'recommendations' in my Review am looking forward to seeing fifteen more British towns putting their plans into action.”

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