Talk of the towns – ‘Warwickshire Together’ conference

Tuesday 21 March 2017, Holiday Inn, Kenilworth

An exciting project to help boost Warwickshire’s towns is being launched next week. The ‘Warwickshire Together’ conference taking place on Tuesday 21 March 2017, 09:00 – 16:30, at the Holiday Inn, Kenilworth will focus on a range of initiatives to help invigorate the region’s town centres in the face of increasing competition from the internet and out of town shopping.

Delegates will come away with information, ideas and inspiration for ways to improve towns for businesses and visitors across Warwickshire.

One key project being launched at the conference is a new collaboration between Warwickshire County Council and a crowdfunding platform – Spacehive . Through the platform, the County Council will provide a new £134,000 capital fund for civic projects in Warwickshire.

The Spacehive platform has already been used to fund a public Wifi network in Mansfield, create an urban farm from the grounds of an abandoned school in North London, build a temporary water slide in Bristol and save a derelict Grade II dispensary in Manchester as a creative hub.

The conference will be packed with live presentations, interesting talks, panel based questions and answers, networking opportunities and case studies – including ‘Bishy Road’, York – winner of the Great British High Street Award, 2015.

Among the many experts speaking will be Martin Blackwell, former CEO of the Association of Town City Management (ATCM); Xav Anderson of Clockwork City, specialists in helping businesses increase their profits through better online promotion and effective use of social media; Luke Baldock of Elephant WiFi, industry leaders in the Digital High Street sector; and Dr Fiona Ellis-Chadwick, Senior Lecturer in Retail at Loughborough University.

Leader of the County Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, Councillor Izzi Seccombe said:

“This conference is an exciting opportunity for everyone involved in creating interesting, social and unique town centres to share their ideas and gain inspiration. It’s clear we have to think differently about where finance is coming from and this is where civic crowdfunding comes in. Aside from the obvious benefits of being able to leverage funding from local businesses, charities and individuals, alongside funding from local government, the simplicity of the process is also appealing for many users of the platform.”

Cllr Philip Johnson, Chair of Overview & Scrutiny Committee added:

“We hope as many people as possible involved in improving their local town centres will come along to the conference on Tuesday 21 March. It’s an opportunity for local place makers to share ideas and help turn good ideas for improving vibrancy in our high streets into a reality.”

The Warwickshire Together conference is being organised by the County Council’s Town Centres & Tourism Team dedicated to supporting town centres to grow. The team has set up the Warwickshire Towns Network which consists of representatives from local authorities, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), and representatives from Warwickshire’s smaller towns to share ideas and develop joint initiatives to help support each other.