VIDEO - On a mission to boost value of the town for all

More than 100 residents, business owners and councillors attended the Town Team’s launch events on Friday and some have already signed up.

“It was wonderful to have local people come along to learn more about the Town Team,” said chairman Clare Rayner.

Clare Rayner introduces a video message of support from Mary Portas. EMN-140711-150338001

Clare Rayner introduces a video message of support from Mary Portas. EMN-140711-150338001

Mary Portas in her video message at the event said: “Be prepared for a lot of work, be prepared to put in the hours, but be prepared to know at the end of it you are going to have something fantastic. Maybe one day I will be visiting Sleaford.”

Mrs Rayner said their overall aim was to increase footfall to attract people back to spending within their own town to increase trade and investment.

She said the town currently had a pretty good mix of businesses and they would work with landlords about filling the gaps, while a competition for pop up shops would attract new businesses. Struggling areas would be targeted to appear more attractive.

Mrs Rayner said: “If we could just remind people of what’s here and enhance it, that money will be kept local and that’s going to benefit everybody.”

She said they were a business-led, grass roots scheme interested in regeneration, welcoming input from local authorities. They were conscious of the financial constraints councils are under and the Town Team wanted to help in areas being missed. Plans in the pipeline include the Love Your Local Market campaign and late night opening to suit customer demands and a Dragons Den style Young Entrepreneur of the Year event.

Mrs Rayner said: “It may inspire some businesses that have been around a while with their creativity.”

Since Sleaford’s Business Improvement District was scrapped, she said by next year they will have had three and a half years of learning what works and what doesn’t if they opt to try for a new BID.