ENGLAND’S HIGH STREETS TO BE REVITALISED WITH THE HELP FROM NEW GOVERNMENT TASK FORCE THAT INCLUDES A BUSINESS STARTED IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE
The government has awarded £8.6 million to a High Street Task Force consortium that includes Maybe*, a business launched from the Growth Hub in Gloucester.
The High Streets Task Force objective is to help reinvent town centres and support local authorities applying to the Government’s £675 million Future High Street Fund.
Maybe* is one of the 10 companies from across the country that form part of the High Street Task Force that will provide expertise, knowledge, training and support to those involved in helping to regenerate town and city centres across the country.
Polly Barnfield OBE, CEO and Founder of Maybe* said “We are delighted to be a part of the consortium that looks to make a big difference to the future of our high streets. Maybe* will provide the High Streets Task Force with access to data insights and training that can help them transform their places faster”.
Maybe* have developed a patent-pending benchmarking platform that monitors the performance of 160,000 High Street businesses across 1300 UK towns and cities. The Maybe* platform is a software as a service (SaaS) that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to turn what people are saying on social media into an indispensable business tool. The platform is already in use in over 30 High Streets and a wide range of organisations across the UK and recently helped Gloucester launch the UK Digital Retail Innovation Centre, UK:DRIC.
Announcing the Task Force, Jake Berry MP, High Streets Minister, said: “High streets and the way we use them are changing, and this Government is committed to helping communities to adapt. We want to see vibrant town centres where people live, shop, use services and spend their leisure time.
Manchester University’s Institute of Place Management (IPM) has been awarded the contract to lead a consortium of organisations as a High Streets Task Force that delivers support to local authorities and communities who want to transform their high streets. The consortium will be managed by multinational professional services network PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers).
Professor Cathy Parker, Co-Chair of the IPM at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Many of England’s high streets are at crisis point and are not the bustling hearts of their communities that they once were. Action needs to be taken locally and the Task Force will help councils, businesses and communities to make this happen”.
“But in order to evolve successfully, high streets must meet the needs of their local community and the key to this is strong local leadership. This is why we are providing additional support through a High Streets Task Force, drawing on the best expert advice, training and data that’s available.”
IPM is already an authoritative voice for the high street and, with over 500 professional members and representing close to 100 Business Improvement Districts through The BID Foundation, will be building on existing expertise and data to add intelligence and insight around the needs of England’s town centre communities.
The Task Force forms this month with pilot delivery due to start by September 2019. It will be fully operational by July 2020.
For more information on Maybe* see: www.maybetech.com