At the meeting of Stratford-on-Avon District Council Cabinet on 6 March, funding to help support the local economy of over £100,000 was approved.
In recognition of the challenging conditions within the local economy, which has not fully recovered from the impact of the COVID pandemic, the Cabinet approved a range of initiatives to support the local economy.
The specific schemes are as follows:
- The Women's Cycle Tour - this national event will be running from 7 to 11 June 2023, the event enjoys national TV and media coverage.
The Cabinet approved funding of £15,000 towards the event which will see Stratford-upon-Avon host the 'Grand Depart' on 7 June 2023.
- The Stratford Literary Festival - one of the most significant literary festivals in the UK, two events are held each year. The Festival was significantly impacted by COVID and to help with its recovery a one-off grant of £20,000 was approved.
This funding will go towards supporting the Spring Festival which is scheduled for 2-7 May 2023 and the Autumn festival which will be held later this year. These events build on the literary reputation of Stratford-upon-Avon and attracts visitors to the town.
- Event Support Grant - like the grant for the Literary Festival, a further fund of £20,000 was also approved to support smaller events across the whole of the District. Details of how events can apply for this funding will be released soon, however, it will be aimed towards those local events which have struggled or are unviable following the impact of the COVID pandemic.
- Street Art and Empty Shops - there are a number of empty shops across the District which have a detrimental impact on the look and feel of our towns. Funding of £50,000 was approved to work in partnership with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to commission original artworks to be displayed in these empty shop windows. The artwork will be based on Shakespeare and the Sonnets and would be created by a consortium of Street Artists. It is expected that the artworks will attract visitors interested in original artwork, those interested in the Sonnets, whilst also improving the appearance of High Streets. The artwork will initially be on display in Stratford-upon-Avon but it is also planned to display in empty shops across the District.
Following the decision of Cabinet, Councillor Anne Parry, Portfolio Holder ICT, Transformation, Tourism and Economic Development said: "Stratford was one of the areas which was most heavily impacted by the pandemic, mainly due to the high level of jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors.
"Whilst we have seen a recovery in our local economy, what was approved today is an exciting range of initiatives which we are hoping will attract even more visitors to our District as the destination which offers such a great mix of culture and sport for all ages."