Industry News Centre

Community spirit for Portas Pilot Project

The Lancaster franchise of one of the UK’s leading sign companies, Signs Express, were on hand to support their local town of Morecambe in its bid for a share of the government-funded Portas Pilot Project, a £1m fund aimed at helping to support and grow the economies in towns and villages.

As a community project, local businesses and community leaders as well as the general public have all come together to back a campaign for Morecambe to win the funding under the tagline ‘MoreCanBe Done’.

Signs Express (Lancaster) has offered financial support as well as their signage expertise to help promote the campaign. Large format full colour graphics have been applied in strategic locations across the town, offering a dual purpose – covering unsightly vacant shop windows as well as encouraging community interaction and support for the initiative. 

The campaign, which has been created by Lancaster-based marketing agency SATO, is the backbone of the application organised by the Town Team of local businesses. The application for the Portas Pilot Project promotes their vision of Morecambe as a destination for socialising, culture, wellbeing and learning as well as shopping. 

Franchise owner of Signs Express (Lancaster), Thomas Somers, said: “This initiative is vital for towns such as Morecambe and we were delighted to offer our assistance. Unfortunately Morecambe has seen a number of closures, especially retail, during the recession which has led to over 30% of retail space within the town being vacant. By adding large full colour imagery to shop windows backing the campaign we are not only adding a bright and attractive image to the high street, but spreading the very important message of the importance this project has to the community.” 

Retail expert Mary Portas is spearheading the dynamic campaign following an independent review into the future of the high street carried out last year. Mary’s report set out a vision that “the High Streets of the future should be multi-functional and social places bustling with people, services and jobs which offer a clear and compelling purpose and experience that’s not available elsewhere, and which meets the interests and needs of the local people”.

The government has invited bids from Town Teams to apply for the chance to be part of the pilot scheme and hundreds of towns have applied for a share of the £1m funding aimed to encourage growth and community spirit within towns. Morecambe will hear if they have been successful at the end of May.

Signs Express

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