Visitors to Solihull town centre have been welcomed with free hand sanitisers and face masks thanks to a joined-up project launched by Solihull BID and Solihull Council funded through the European Regional Development Fund’s (ERDF) Reopening High Streets Safely Fund.
Business Hosts from the BID – the Business Improvement District for Solihull town centre – were on the High Street on Saturday, providing shoppers and employees with complimentary reusable bags filled with face coverings and sanitisers.
Following the announcement that face coverings were to be made mandatory in many customer-facing businesses, the BID organised for thousands of hand sanitiser bottles and disposable face masks to be provided to the public. This follows the BID’s launch of their ‘We Want You Back’ town centre campaign, focusing on shopping local and staying safe.
Melanie Palmer, Chief Executive of Solihull BID, said: “We are delighted to have secured the funding from the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund to provide hand sanitisers and face masks for our visitors to Solihull.
“The BID are committed to working closely with our partners to keep the town centre safe, clean and welcoming, providing a relaxing haven for all to enjoy.”
The project has already received an overwhelmingly positive response from the public and town centre businesses following the warning of a potential second spike of coronavirus infections.
The BID has already implemented various measures across the town centre to ensure visitors enjoy a stress-free trip. These include social distancing floor stickers to help with shop queues as well as benches on the High Street, in Mell Square and Theatre Square, Touchwood, to allow people to take a break or wait for family members who are shopping.
These steps have led to a steady rise in visitor numbers to the town centre and the BID continues to work closely with partner agencies including Solihull Council, Solihull Police, Touchwood and Mell Square, to ensure Solihull remains an attractive destination for businesses and visitors.
Following the launch of the free sanitiser and face mask project, Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, said: “As part of the warm welcome back Solihull BID are extending shoppers and visitors alike, they are handing out hand sanitisers and face masks from Saturday 1 August.
“We all recognise we need to make the return to shopping and eating out safe and hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways of controlling the virus.
“Using our ERDF Reopening High Streets Safely fund we have been able to provide the BID with a supply of hand sanitisers and face masks and will be looking to extend this offer to other centres in the borough over the coming weeks. As our recovery gathers pace we cannot be complacent, we need to continue social distancing, wear face coverings in shops and wash our hands frequently.”
The fund has provided £50 million from ERDF to councils across England to support the safe reopening of high streets and other commercial areas with Solihull receiving an allocation of £192,000.