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£10,000 grant to kickstart Bridgwater's retail revival
A GROUP working to improve the fortunes of retailers has won a cash grant.
The Bridgwater Retail Initiative has been given Town Team status by the Government – entitling it to a £10,000 grant and help from retail experts from across the country to implement plans to revitalise the town centre.
The BRI is a partnership of more than a dozen organisations, including councils, business groups, traders and the Bridgwater Mercury.
Since being launched in 2010, it has run numerous initiatives, including a Bridgwater town guide app, grants for shop improvements, seasonal shopping events, and training and advice sessions for businesses.
Roger Smith, from Angel Place Shopping Centre, a BRI partner, said: “The BRI has achieved much since its inception in 2010 and we are looking forward to having that little extra help financially.
“This award counteracts, in some way, our disappointment for not becoming a Portas pilot town.
“We are grateful to our MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger, for supporting our bid.
“We would urge anyone who has an interest in helping us make Bridgwater better for shoppers to contact us.”
The progress of the BRI was due to be discussed at a Sedgemoor District Council meeting this week.
Anne Fraser, district councillor with responsibility for economic strategy, said: “I am pleased that the BRI’s self-help attitude has been acknowledged in this way”.
Bridgwater Mayor Graham Granter said: “Some people criticise it quite a lot. There are some councillors saying it doesn’t do a lot for smaller traders but the BRI has achieved many things and helps in lots of different ways.
“Being a Town Team will help, no doubt, and it’s recognition of the work the BRI has done.“Our priority is getting more retailers into our town centre and we do all we can to help new retailers set up in the town.”