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Town centres set for a sprucing up as part of Welcome Back scheme

St Helens and Earlestown town centres are set for a sprucing up as the council invests £146,000 from the Welcome Back Fund, which is funded from the European Regional Development Fund.

Town centre sprucing bench

Article date: 17 March 2022

Work has started and will continue over the coming weeks to replace or refurbish and refresh facilities in both town centres, welcoming people back to the high streets as the country to emerges from coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

The Welcome Back Fund is providing councils across England with a share of £56 million from the European Regional Development Fund to support the safe return to high streets and help build back better from the pandemic. 

The funding will provide new bins, benches, bollards, signage, lighting and flower beds, as well as a fresh lick of paint for both town centres. Additional bins will also be installed in the neighbourhood or local centres of Rainhill, Rainford, Thatto Heath, Fingerpost, Sutton Junction, Sutton Manor and Clockface. 

Councillor Andy Bowden, St Helens Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: 

"We have been supporting local businesses and our high streets throughout the pandemic, ensuring they have access to all available funding pots, but there's no doubt they have suffered nonetheless. 

"Now we're making the most of the Welcome Back Fund scheme with a refresh of facilities like bins, benches and flower planting, further supporting a return to our town centres following the easing of final Covid-19 restrictions." 

Councillor Kate Groucutt, St Helens Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Business, added: 

"The council held a series of business forums during the pandemic and several businesses expressed concern about the appearance or condition of street furniture in our town centres. I am therefore delighted that we are able to address this, brightening up the town centres and some of our local centres.

"I'm sure that these initiatives will be welcomed pending the delivery of our substantive masterplan developments through the ECF Partnership in coming years."