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Community spirit for Portas Pilot project

Posted 12.04.2012

Leading local sign makers, Signs Express (Lancaster) were on hand to support their local town of Morecambe in their bid to a share of the government funded Portas Pilot project of £1m aimed at helping to support and grow the economies in towns and villages.

A colourful addition to the empty units in the Arndale Centre in Morecambe to support the MoreCanBe Done campaign

A colourful addition to the empty units in the Arndale Centre in Morecambe to support the MoreCanBe Done campaign

As a community project, local businesses and community leaders as well as the general public have all come together to back a campaign for Morecambe to win the funding under the strapline ‘MoreCanBe Done’.

Signs Express (Lancaster) has offered financial support as well as their signage expertise to help promote the campaign. Large format full colour graphics have been applied in strategic locations across the town offering a dual purpose – covering unsightly vacant shop windows as well as encouraging community interaction and support for the initiative.

The campaign, which has been created by Lancaster based marketing agency SATO, is the backbone of the application organised by the Town Team of local businesses. The application for the Portas Pilot project promotes their vision of Morecambe as a destination for socialising, culture, wellbeing, learning as well as shopping.

The marketing campaign has used social media as well as traditional advertising, leaflets and postcards to increase awareness and encourage community participation.

Owner of Signs Express (Lancaster) Thomas Somers said, “This initiative is vital for towns such as Morecambe and we were delighted to offer our assistance. Unfortunately Morecambe has seen a number of closures, especially retail, during the recession which has lead to over 30% of retail space within the town being vacant. By adding large full colour imagery to shop windows backing the campaign we are not only adding a bright and attractive image to the high street but spreading the very important message of the importance this project has to the community”.

Retail expert Mary Portas is spearheading the dynamic campaign following an independent review into the future of the high street carried out last year. Mary’s report set out a vision that “the High Streets of the future should be multi-functional and social places bustling with people, services and jobs which offer a clear and compelling purpose and experience that’s not available elsewhere, and which meets the interests and needs of the local people”. Mary made a number of recommendations to help achieve that vision and the government have acted by initiating pilot schemes to 12 towns across the country.

The government has invited bids from Town Teams to apply for the chance to be part of the pilot campaign and hundreds of towns have applied for a share of the £1m funding aimed to encourage growth and community spirit within towns. Morecambe will hear along with other hopeful towns if they have been successful at the end of May.

For further information visit or follow the campaign via twitter

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Signs Express Lancaster supports the MoreCanBe Done campaign

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