Take a stroll down your high street – can you name five shops without trusty Google? The high street, much like a loyal Labrador is always just there. If you don’t know about one of the latest openings (come on! Dr. Martens opened over eight months ago), then there’s a pretty good chance you’re taking your beloved high street for granted.
I’m all about supporting local businesses and shouting out about local talent, which is why I’ve been keeping a keen eye on the prestigious Great British High Street awards.
Yes, I know they have an award for everything under the sun, but the Great British High Street awards is innovative, one to watch, and should be championed as local businesses benefit from the award.
This year Derby Cathedral Quarter was crowned winner at a London ceremony. Having consistently been in the lead in the public online vote and having hosted judges’ visit last month, the Cathedral Quarter beat off stiff competition from Broadmead in Bristol and the Castle Arcade district of Norwich to clinch the coveted title.
Businesses in the Cathedral Quarter will now benefit from a cash prize of up to £10,000, access to dedicated support and mentoring from Google’s digital taskforce for shops, bars and restaurants and social media skills gleaned from a trip to Twitter UK’s London office.
The award was presented by the category’s judge Ed Locke from retail property body Revo, and collected on behalf of the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) by Ian Ferguson and Ashley Lewis from Partnerships for Better Business who are contract managers for the BID and submitted the award application.
The Cathedral Quarter is one of my favourite spaces in the city offering a high-quality lifestyle destination with some cracking restaurants and cafés, quirky shops, and delectable delis.
Café owner Lisa Bridge who founded Oliver’s on Friar Gate, Derby celebrated the eatery’s first birthday this week. She said: “I was so excited to hear that the Cathedral Quarter has won the Great British High Street award. The area is full of vibrant, forward-thinking independent businesses and we specifically chose to open Oliver’s here because of the atmosphere and that entrepreneurial spirit. The Derby community has been very supportive of Oliver’s as a business and the area. Today’s award reinforces what a brilliant area this is to eat, drink and shop in. Our ethos and motto at Oliver’s is to create food “with feeling”. We believe that we’re surrounded by lots of other independent businesses that have the same spirit. I’m thrilled to see that spirit recognised at a national level”.
The Great British High Street Competition 2016 celebrates the great work that is being done to revive, adapt, and diversify the nation’s high streets. It is one of several initiatives to help champion high streets as the cornerstones of the community.
Local business owner and founder of The Wonky Table on Sadler Gate, Derby, Holly M Faulkner said: “The award is so well deserved! It’s so nice to see this street finally given some recognition. I’d like to say that the award is down to having absolutely zero input from the council and the BID levy. It’s all the unique individuals and independents who struggled and battled through for years when this street was emptied when the Westfield was built (15 empty units when we moved in 6 years ago). They have made the street diverse and have now attracted bigger recognised companies and brands (including Joules and Dr Martens) who in turn will bring more footfall revenue to the area.”
So, a massive well done to the public for voting (you did the right thing!). If you haven’t visited the Cathedral Quarter area recently you must check it out. I find it’s especially nice during the festive season, there’s something so whimsy about strolling through a cobbled courtyard, drawing puffs of white air in the chilly outdoors.