Castle Point to entice people back to COVID-hit towns with £200k marketing plan

More than £200,000 of Government grants will be used to entice people back into shopping centres across Castle Point.

The marketing scheme funded with £224,670 from the Government and the European Regional Development Fund is to implement temporary initiatives that encourage people back into shopping areas in Benfleet, Canvey, Hadleigh, Tarpots and Thundersley which have been badly hit by COVID.

Marketing company C21 has been appointed to develop a brand for the town centres each with a different colour scheme, and which provides the opportunity for local businesses and business owners to be showcased across social media, online, on posters and leaflets and banners.

Castle Point Borough Council agreed the plan along with a series of marketing measures at cabinet on November 18.

A branded loyalty discount card for town centre businesses will be available online after Christmas.

Resurfacing of the Crown Public House site in Hadleigh is being prioritised to host events already planned.

The Canvey market day is being extended to include three Saturdays in December in the run up to the festive season. This will be reviewed in the new year with a view to continuing the weekend market in 2022.

The feasibility of a monthly farmers market in Thundersley village is also currently being explored together with a market in Hadleigh town centre on the Crown Public House site, once the resurfacing is complete.

Local community groups are also been drafted in to help develop events up to March 2022.

Leader of Castle Point Borough Council Andrew Sheldon said: “I find this incredibly exciting.

“Our local town centres were hit incredibly hard by COVID and the men and women who work there were hit incredibly hard by having to adapt their businesses and in some cases unfortunately make significant changes to staffing and how they operate.

“I spent a number of years in town centre marketing, going around different town centres around the country and looking at how they could be improved, looking how they could be real destinations for their local areas.

“Our town centres are not as big as other places and more destinations for convenience and leisure with fantastic restaurants, really good local shops and a high number of independent traders.

“And what really this is supposed to do is to make it more of a destination and a welcoming feel when they go into our town centres.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter