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North Somerset benefits from Welcome Back Fund

9th May 2022

Winter and spring events

A number of events and visual improvements have been made in local communities across North Somerset as a result of the government’s Welcome Back Fund. 

Warmly welcomed have been Christmas markets in villages including Banwell, Congresbury and Clevedon as well as a lantern parade held in Blagdon where the lanterns were made by local residents.  In March Pill held a community event on the village green which was enjoyed by many.

The aim of the scheme was to encourage communities back to their high street and village centres through events, planting and decorative work.  The scheme has served to bring communities together in a safe and friendly way which has also benefited traders.

Pill and Easton in Gordano Parish Council took full advantage of the funding and through the employment of a Project Manager, they delivered a range of improvements including wall murals, outdoor seating, planters, picnic tables and gazebos for events.  This has made a real difference to the community as well as improving the appearance of the village for visitors.  In addition a community event was held and a film made of it you can view here: https://youtu.be/1xppjRBvo3I

The fund also broadened the scope of the Weston GLOW event, which was very popular with locals and visitors during the dark evenings in February.

In all seven Town and Parish Councils and Clevedon Business Improvement District took the opportunity of funding for their local community.

Business support scheme

The Welcome Back Fund also funded a bespoke business support programme that was offered free to town centre and visitor economy businesses across North Somerset.  The project ran from October 2021 to March 2022 and provided targeted support to businesses that had been particularly hit hard by the pandemic; strongly represented in our seaside towns. 

Assigned experts diagnosed and analysed the main opportunities and challenges for the businesses and working with the business owner, created realistic and achievable road maps for them covering:

  • forward planning for profit
  • connecting with customers through effective marketing and promotion
  • digital connections and skills
  • recruiting and retaining staff
  • action on the environment
  • Covid-19-safe customer service
  • developing products and experiences

58 businesses received support and the findings from the project will inform future business support activity commissioned by the council.

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