The government has announced £56m of funding for councils to support a safe and successful reopening of the country’s high streets and seaside resorts ahead of the summer.
The new Welcome Back Fund will help councils boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups, giving people more safer options to reunite with family and friends.
As the nation looks forward to life beginning to return to normal, with people making plans for domestic holidays and days out with friends, Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, announced the package of support to help kickstart local economies and businesses, as well as give people reassurance they can shop and socialise safely.
Part of this funding will be allocated specifically to support coastal areas, with funding going to all coastal resorts across England to safely welcome holidaymakers in the coming months.
The funding can also be used by councils to:
- Boost the look and feel of their high streets by investing in street planting, parks, green spaces and seating areas to make them as beautiful and welcoming as possible.
- Run publicity campaigns and prepare to hold events like street markets and festivals to support local businesses.
- Install signage and floor markings to encourage social distancing and safety.
- Improve high streets and town centres by planting flowers or removing graffiti.
Commenting, Mr Jenrick said: “As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown, we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
“Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely.
“As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much.
“I’m allowing every pub in the country to erect a marquee in their garden for the whole summer as a one-off power to support our locals.”