Jennifer named a true hero of the high street
A Scarborough campaigner who has been working tirelessly to support local businesses has been recognised as Hero of the High Street at this year’s Great British High Street Awards.
Jennifer Crowther, head of operations at Yorkshire in Business, won the High Street Hero award for the initiatives and programmes she led to improve people’s shopping experience in Scarborough.
She said: “It was surreal, I just do it because it’s my passion but it feels good to get some recognition. It proves that what we’re doing is right and hopefully more people will listen to us and start getting behind us.”
Known for her involvement in Totally Locally, in previous years Jennifer was the driving force behind the Magic Tenner campaign, spreading the message that £10 spent in a local shop can generate over £50 to benefit the local economy.
Dozens of stores in Scarborough got on board with the scheme, dropping their prices by £10 on selected stock.
This year Jennifer has launched a new, more flexible campaign – one particularly praised by the judging panel – to give even more businesses and services in town the chance to join in.
As part of the new Love Local scheme, backed by the Scarborough News’ Love Your High Street, shops receive widespread marketing promotion by committing to offering a variety of discounts throughout the month of December.
Up to 50 businesses have already got involved, acknowledging the positive impact this scheme has on their trade.
Jennifer said: “What we want to do is raise awareness of the hidden talents, the small independent shops that people don’t know about and that make our town centre a unique place.”
Helping the town centre thrive is not only Jennifer’s goal. Scarborough Borough Council is looking at ways to rejuvenate the high street through its Town Centre Strategy.
Ideas to transform the town centre include making the town a mixed use environment; encourage a diverse offering through festivals and events and build on the town’s cultural and heritage assets.
The local authority also aims to make Scarborough a university town, introduce SMART town centre infrastructure and maximise the Scarborough ‘brand’ through marketing and promotion.
Jennifer has backed the plans. However, she thinks they go could further.
She said: “I think it’s amazing, it comes at the right time but I think the council should be more flexible. I used to run a town centre market but in recent years that has been stopped. I think this should be allowed to happen again because it helps bring that buzz back into the high street.
“Independent shops are our future and another thing to help them would be shared retail spaces where five or six businesses that can’t afford premises on their own can come together under one roof. I think that’s achievable, it only takes someone to take the lead and I, myself, am looking for premises to pilot this.”