04:00PM, Friday 12 April 2019
Slough town centre is set to benefit from a new trial project which will see community groups take over unused spaces.
The Open Doors project is a government trial to support the changing face of the high street and will help community projects transform town centres by renovating unused retail units.
Slough is one of five areas in the country taking part in the Open Doors project – which is in partnership with the Meanwhile Foundation.
The scheme aims to help tackle social problems linked to declining high streets such as crime, unemployment and loneliness.
The government ran an open call for landlords of vacant space to take part in a pilot scheme and sites were selected in Bradford, Stoke-on-trent, Kettering and Rochford.
The space will be offered free of charge to individuals and organisations who would like to test their ideas and deliver projects to bring a positive social change to the high street.
Slough’s lead project will be held in a central shop front, near Queensmere Shopping Centre and the interior will be spruced up with plants, sofas and lockers.
Communities secretary James Brokenshire MP said: “Our high streets are the beating heart of the places we call home and make a real difference to the wellbeing of our communities.
“This pilot is a great way to tackle some of the challenges faced by landlords and communities.”
Jake Berry, high streets minister, added: “The Open Doors scheme encourages us to be more creative when tackling the social and economic challenges faced by our communities.
“This pilot is just a glimpse of what we can do to revamp vacant properties on our high streets, boost more community hubs and create more spaces for people work, live and shop.”
The scheme is set to launch in the spring.
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