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Young Britons rally to save the high street

18 July 2013

 

Young people are to be given the chance to showcase their talents and entrepreneurial skills in a Big Lottery Fund-backed initiative launching today. In this guest blog, Dwain Lucktung explains more about somewhereto_ re:store, which also has the support of former BBC Dragon’s Den investor, Theo Paphitis.

What do you think of when you visualise your local high street? Two fifths of young Brits consider theirs to be dull and boring, one in five go as far as saying they don’t visit it at all, and still unimpressed, four in five say retailers should consult them when planning what appears on the local high street.

It seems that for many, when it comes to top destinations for that day out around the local area, the high street is falling someway short. This may be all about to change.

somewhereto_ today launches somewhereto_ re:store (the high street heist) – a Big Lottery Fund-backed campaign which will see young people take over a series of shops across the UK for a six-week period.

somewhereto_ is putting disused shops into the capable hands of local young people to deliver events and activities that will benefit their future ambitions as well as revamp the high street and engage local communities.

Despite one in six young Britons perceiving the high street as too expensive, and over a quarter feeling that shops are not relevant and don’t offer enough variety, empty shops in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow, Bangor (Northern Ireland), Newcastle and others across the UK are going to have a new look as young people get the chance to inject their natural energy, ideas and entrepreneurial spirit into their local community.

Shutters will be lifted for a range of free events including short film screenings, creative enterprise events, pop-up art exhibitions, interactive theatre, music and fashion show launches, food and drink experiences, and more.

London shop manager and young person, Krissi Boakye, says: “I think it’s great that young people are taking the initiative to create opportunities for themselves by using somewhereto_ and creating a buzz around their local high streets.  Over the six weeks we want to focus on all the young people who are doing positive things in the local area and developing entrepreneurial skills.”

Theo Paphitis

Retail guru Theo Paphitis has shown his support to the youth-led initiative

Across the UK almost one in eight shops lay vacant in April 2013. Almost one in five shops in Northern Ireland and Wales are boarded up, underscoring how dire the situation has become.

somewhereto_ is rallying to change the face of empty shops, with the young people and partner organisations participating in the campaign, as well as the support of Theo Paphitis; a former Dragon’s Den member who knows a lot about turning around the retail sector.

Theo said: “Becoming a representative for the somewhereto_ re:store campaign was a simple choice. Young people are the entrepreneurs of the future and we should be looking to them as one of our sources of innovation for the high streets of tomorrow.”

somewhereto_ re:store is a chance for the shoppers of tomorrow to showcase their talents, kick-start their businesses and reconnect with their communities by taking over some of the empty shops across the UK – reinvigorating our high streets and local communities in the process.

For more information visit: http://somewhereto.com/restore

Dwain Lucktung is Content and Community Manager at somewhereto_

somewhereto_ is funded by a £7m injection from the Big Lottery Fund granted in December 2012 to support its UK-wide expansion over the following four years. The service is delivered by youth engagement agency Livity in partnership with YouTube.

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