Why a Town Centre Manager was always at the top of our wish-list

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When ONE Haverhill Partnership set up the Heart of Haverhill business group, one of our first tasks was to sketch out a wish-list.

We knew we wanted to promote our town centre at every opportunity and foster closer working and dialogue between businesses and the decision makers at Haverhill Town and West Suffolk Councils.

We quickly agreed that giving the businesses a single voice was crucial – but equally that we needed someone to be that single voice. Someone who could work closely, and independently, with all businesses across all sectors.

Step forward, a town centre manager reporting to the businesses – a position for which we are now recruiting, with an appointment set to be made before Christmas.

Through matched funding, we set a target of raising the funds to pay for the town centre manager and to provide budget for communications – initially for the next 12 months.

My thanks to all the organisations who have kindly responded to our appeals and supported us with funding. We hope the role will be funded in the future through the Government Business Improvement District programme.

First mentioned when the group was in its infancy, it has taken a bit longer than we envisaged. But then none of us could have imagined the last nine months.

As the country went into a second lockdown, the Heart of Haverhill galvanised itself into even greater action to ensure we were ready to support all town centre businesses when they reopened in December.

Earlier this month, we also launched the LoyalFree app – which gives town centre businesses a digital platform to showcase their special offers to residents and shoppers alike.

Simple in design, but hugely effective, the national app offers a dedicated service to Haverhill by promoting businesses and some of the attractions of our town.

It has got off to a great start with our popular market traders welcoming the development and starting to sign up to this clever tool.

The app is free for the business community to use, thanks to funding from Haverhill Town Council, and I expect to see it go from strength-to-strength over the next few weeks.

The development of the LoyalFree app will be one major aspect for the new town centre manager along with helping to introduce a shared procurement scheme to help businesses save money and hopefully be more profitable.

They will also do all they can to support Haverhill’s popular market which has been transformed in recent months, thanks to the hard work of Sharon Fairweather and her team.

We have always felt a town centre manager, representing the business community, could be a game-changer in bringing businesses together and getting them more involved in events and decisions that affect their high street – your High Street.

Meanwhile, please enjoy your Christmas shopping in Haverhill.