Nine projects brought forward by the community of Crickhowell are to be wholly or partly funded from the £15,000 prize money won by the town when it was named Best High Street in Britain 2018.
Corn Exchange Crickhowell Ltd (CECLtd), which led Crickhowell’s bid in the competition and is responsible for allocating the money, invited people to apply for funding for projects which fulfilled the same criteria as the original competition. They had to promote community spirit around the High Street and involve all sections of society in town life, improve the environment, improve customer experience, use digital innovation to support the town and have a lasting impact.
In all, applications amounting to nearly £52,0000 were submitted for the £15,000 fund, so a panel representative of the town was set up to score the bids and award discretionary points for those projects which did not meet all the criteria but which they felt were worthy of support.
There was broad agreement on the panel that applications involving information and signage should be brought together into one coordinated project. Three other projects, an upgrade of The Clarence Hall’s audio-visual system a project to set up a Youth Club, and a contribution towards the recommissioning of the fountain at the top of the High Street were also approved for part-funding.
The two most popular applications; for a Business Link Ambassador to promote the town, and a digital touch-screen information board, were submitted by the Crickhowell Resource and Information Centre. Another very popular application was the idea of a map showing the location of off-High Street businesses, including those in The Courtyard in Standard Street and on Bridge Street. CRiC also submitted a bid for a printed town guide, which won less support but has the potential to be developed alongside the other digital offerings. Other, information-based projects included new edge-of-town signs and a notice board for community groups.
Tim Jones, who coordinated the selection process said: “Some great ideas came forward for signposting and telling people about the rich diversity of businesses in Crickhowell. They need to be harnessed and developed together in a coordinated way so that we can get maximum value for money and economies of scale from the Great British High Street Prize. So we have invited CRiC to work with the other applicants to do just that, under the umbrella of a new Crickhowell Information Project.”
CECLtd said they would be talking to the ‘information applicants,’ as well as the Clarence Hall and the Youth Club Volunteers before deciding exactly how much money they would allocate to each project.
CECLtd’s Managing Director, Dean Christy said: “The most popular bids, for information and signage-based projects, the Clarence Hall, the Youth Club, and the fountain came to £27,000 and we only have £15,000 to spend, so clearly some ideas are going to need to be modified or only partially funded. We clearly need to allocate sufficient funds to the Crickhowell Information Project to make it viable, and we need to apply the same discipline with the other applicants as well. We will be discussing with all of them how they can reduce their bids, create efficiencies and find alternative sources of funding. They all have well thought-through proposals for which they are able to demonstrate public support, so there is potential there to attract investment to Crickhowell way beyond the money we have to spend.”
Dean praised the way in which the different projects vying for money had conducted their campaigns. He said:” It was really heartening to see so many people walking around town with petitions selling their ideas about what they could do for Crickhowell. When applications closed, applicants were wishing each other luck on social media. The whole process has engendered a fantastic sense of community spirit, and we would like to see that continue.”