More people returning to high streets now lockdown has eased

HDC and Huntingdon BID have worked hard to make sure town centres are safe for shoppers. 

HDC and Huntingdon BID have worked hard to make sure town centres are safe for shoppers. - Credit: HUNTS POST

Just over three weeks into Step 2 of the Government's Covid-19 Spring Roadmap and Huntingdonshire District Council is seeing a greater number of people returning to explore the high streets of the district.

HDC is using its Think Local Campaign, which is being supported by The Hunts Post, to support businesses that have been allowed to reopen and also ensure town centres and local streets are set up to allow for residents to visit and shop safely.

HDC launched its Think Local campaign last summer.

HDC launched its Think Local campaign last summer - Credit: HDC

Over the past few months, work has taken place alongside local partners to ensure that residents and visitors are welcomed back to Huntingdonshire’s market towns in the safest and most convenient way, says HDC.

"In anticipation of the recent reopening, additional street cleansing activities has been provided and added additional staffing to support businesses, which will remain in place as we look to enjoy a full and safe reopening of Huntingdonshire," said a spokesman for HDC.

The initial Reopening Huntingdonshire campaign from Summer 2020 provided a good insight into what needed to be done to guarantee a safe reopening this time around and the learning from that campaign, which transitioned into the current Think Local campaign has guided this most recent approach to reopening.

"Hands, Face and Space signage that can be seen throughout the towns has been refreshed and new banners have been produced to support the reopening," " the spokesman continued.

"Visits are being made to local businesses regularly and additional guides for each different type of business are being provided, helping them to keep residents safe. Alongside this, Think Local campaign partners, the Cambridge Digital Agency Sookio, have provided social media training and a digital toolkit for local businesses to help them navigate a new, different high street."

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Over the past couple of months, two new initiatives have also been launched with partners to support market towns. A proactive partnership with Click It Local that allows local, independent businesses to compete on a level similar to that of big stores, providing them with the platform to sell goods and advertise online.

HDC says there are currently more than 60 Huntingdonshire stores available to shop from and information is available at:

"All are offering their own different slice of what makes shopping in Huntingdonshire unique and bringing the independent and unique shops of our local high streets direct to your door," continued the HDC spokesman.

The second partnership is with the app, Trail Tale, which is now several weeks into the launch. Providing audio walks of historic parts of the district, featuring guided tours of the market towns and other areas beyond. The Trail Tale walks have been downloaded hundreds of times since their launch and further walks of different areas of the district will be released soon.

"Moving into May, the focus is to celebrate our towns. Love Your Towns is the latest part of the Think Local campaign and is the next step in local market towns reopening. Across the May bank holiday that we have just enjoyed, celebrations took place in Huntingdon and St Ives with floral decorations visible across the towns and bunting through the streets for visitors and shoppers.

"In St Ives, specifically, the local community has been knitting flowers to be displayed around the town. Celebrations will take place for the Love Your Towns initiative in St Neots on Sunday May 23 and in Ramsey on Saturday, May 29 as work continues to look forward to the market towns of Huntingdonshire thriving into and through the summer of 2021."

HDC's Economic Development team is also providing and hosting a workshop on Tuesday, May 18 for local businesses with leading expert Nick Elston. For local business leaders, the challenges of running a business over the last year of Coronavirus restrictions and lockdown periods have meant continually adapting to the new realities, says HDC and this free online event is for Huntingdonshire’s business community to support personal and business resilience. Find out more and sign-up at: