Business in the CommunityBusiness in the Community’s Healthy High Streets programme aims to increase footfall by 10%, reduce the number of vacant properties by 20% and stimulate the creation of new jobs in 100 towns over three years.

The programme first launched in June 2014 and is backed by some of the UK’s biggest high street brands – Boots UK, EE, Exterion Media, Greggs, Marks & Spencer and Santander and new partner Wilko.

Middlesbrough is one of 33 new High Streets selected for the programme across the UK today, bringing the total number of participating High Streets to the programme target of 100 towns. It will receive a bespoke package of support, including access to skills and expertise, and dedicated High Street Champions from supporting businesses who will work together with the local partnership team, local authority and relevant local partners to devise an action plan to address the specific challenges facing the town. The impact results for the three-year programme will be announced in July 2017. Over the last year of the programme, it has brought support and resources worth £17 million** from its corporate partners into 67 UK high streets.

Commenting on the programme’s expansion, Robin Foale, Managing Director, Santander Universities UK, and chair of the Healthy High Streets programme said: “Congratulations to Middlesbrough on being chosen to be part of the Healthy High Streets programme.

“This is a great opportunity to work with the business partners and the local High Street Champions to transform your town and create a thriving, vibrant centre for the local community.”

Business in the Community’s Peter Donohoe said: “One of the most powerful ways for business to make an impact in communities is by creating high streets that are vibrant places to live, work and do business. It has been heartening to see first-hand the practical difference that collaborative, business-led action can make 137 Shepherdess Walk London N1 7RQ I T: +44 (0)20 7566 8650 I www.bitc.org.uk

President HRH The Prince of Wales I Chairman Antony Jenkins I Chief Executive Stephen Howard Business in the Community is registered in England and Wales. Registered charity No 297716. Company limited by guarantee No 1619253 on UK high streets over these past two years. While there is much to be proud of about our Healthy High Streets Programme we also know that there is more work to be done. We warmly welcome Wilko as programme partners and look forward to working with them to create lasting change.”

Councillor Charlie Rooney, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “It’s often said that the town centre is Middlesbrough’s engine room, and it has a vital role to play in the prosperity of our local communities and the region as a whole.

“Despite the austerity of recent years, we have a thriving town centre with a good mix of high street names and a burgeoning independent sector, which makes Middlesbrough one of the region’s key shopping and leisure destinations.

“We remain committed to investing in Middlesbrough as the city heart of Teesside, and are always on the lookout for opportunities to build on our existing partnerships.

“I’m delighted that we have been included in the Health High Streets programme, and I’m sure the support and expertise available will create important new opportunities and help us move on to the next level.”

Business in the Community is a member of the Government’s Future High Streets Forum and supports the High Street Pledge. The pledge, which was launched on July 7, is currently supported by over 40 of the UK’s leading businesses. They are committed to using the leadership expertise, skills and resources of their business to help UK high streets achieve their full potential.

To find out more about Business in the Community’s high streets work visit www.bitc.org.uk/healthyhighstreets