At 6.30 this morning, Saturday 10th August 2019, the finalists for The Great British High Street were announced and voting opened to decide a winner. Belper is in the final of this competition for the Champion High Street award. There are 12 finalists, equally able to become the winner
In 2014 Belper won the award for Best Market Town, and was also the overall winner for Champion High Street in the UK.
The competition is judged, but the decision also includes a public vote which accounts for about 20% of the weight. Each registered email address can vote once a day until October 7th, when voting closes.
This year Belper was entered into the competition by Love Belper, the group which seeks to promote independent businesses in Belper.
Love Belper includes many independent businesses working together and is run by Laura Armstrong (Chair) from Strut Menswear, Neil Hunt from Nordicana, Suzanne Parnell and Kelly Nixon from Belper Arts Trail, Rebekah Wright from Cheeky Bambini, Lindsey Myers formerly of Gillivon Tea Rooms, and Ian Jackson from Totally Locally Belper.
Love Belper works in association with Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire, Transition Belper, Repair Cafe, Sharing Not Wasting, the Refill Project, Accessible Belper, DCC Safe Places, Belper Arts, Pride in Belper, Belper Town Council, and Amber Valley Borough Council.
The Great British High Street website describes Belper thus,
“Vibrant Belper Town is more than just a pretty face. The innovative Town Centre Partnership is focused on engaging community and supporting independent retailers via social media and their website. Using the hashtag #lovebelper to create a virtual showcase of the town and markets, and having developed a website as the go to place for information on shopping eating, heritage, arts and events. Since their launch they have delivered successful events to draw people into the town (Pumpkin Trail, Bunny Hop, Fiver Fest) increasing footfall and boosting sales. LoveBelper is a whole-town approach to customer experience. Many businesses have undertaken Belper Ambassador training for visitors and all have signed up to being breastfeeding friendly. Accessible Belper have conducted access audits around the whole town and populated their website with an honest appraisal of the physical and attitudinal accessibility of 76 of the shops. As well as the bi-annual food festival having a ‘slow shopping’ hour to support accessibility. Committed to sustainability, an increasing number of Belper eateries are sourcing ingredients and supplies locally. Lastly, but by no means least, Belper hosts its first Pride event in August, adding to the rich diversity of the town. Honouring its sustainable heritage and UNESCO World Heritage status, Belper Town Council has declared a climate emergency and is committed to reducing its carbon footprint with initiatives like Refill Belper to tackle single use plastic waste, the Sharing Not Wasting project, and the new Repair cafe (pay as you can) focused on repairing not replacing.”
To boost Belper’s voting you can vote once a day from each email. Two people cannot use the same email to vote separately, as no other data is held.