Sydenham and Forest Hill win Portas Pilot funding

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SHOPPING in Forest Hill and Sydenham has received a massive boost with up to £100,000 in funding.

The award, part of the government's Portas Pilots scheme to boost the nation's high streets, follows a joint bid by volunteers in both areas.

Alongside the grant, provided by the Mayor of London, there will be £100,000 in matched funding from the nearby Bell Green development's second phase, and £15,000 from Lewisham Council.

The money will be spent on three main projects, one which would see a high street shop in both areas, named Jack and Jill, act as a centre for community engagement, exhibitions, business workshops, and pop-up events.

Forest Hill Society chairman Richard Hibbert said: "Jack and Jill is about linking the community together, finding out what people want and helping networking."

Twelve shops on both high streets and Sydenham's Kirkdale will be renovated, with help provided to allow local people put their business ideas into practice.

And, following the success of three recent food fairs in Forest Hill, the areas will also see markets operating on a rotational basis, with successful stalls taking over vacant shops.

Mr Hibbert explained that  the likelihood of big-name stores at the Bell Green development meant the high streets needed to improve.

He said: "We firmly believe that this investment in our high streets is another important step in our founding aim of making Forest Hill an even better place to live and look forwards to working with the other members of the town team."

Town Team member Louise Brooks from Bake Consulting Ltd, said: “I'm really excited about introducing the pop up concept to Sydenham and Forest Hill.

 

"Our aim is to turn our high streets into a destination and this will be a key step in that process."

Landlords with empty shops in the area can contact the society on email@foresthillsociety.com

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