// Treorchy wins High Street of the Year category at the annual Great British High Street Awards
// As part of its award victory, Treorchy wins £15,000 for the local community
// The Rising Star of the Year award went to The Square, Kelso, in southern Scotland
The Welsh village of Treorchy has been named the winner of the High Street of the Year category at the recent Great British High Street Awards.
The village, located in South Wales in Rhondda Cynon Taf country withiin the Rhondda Fawr valley, wins £15,000 for the local community as part of the award victory.
Meanwhile the Rising Star of the Year category, which identifies the high street taking the lead to adapt and diversify, was awarded to The Square in Kelso, a market town in the Scottish Borders area.
The Great British High Street Awards is run by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, in partnership with Visa, and aims to recognise and celebrate the local achievements of UK high streets.
The winner of the 2019 edition of the awards were announced at a ceremony in Edinburgh recently.
Adrian Emmett, owner of The Lion pub in Treorchy, nominated his village’s high street for the annual awards ceremony following successful initiatives undertaken by the local community, including regular cultural events such as a Christmas Parade and the Rhondda Arts Festival.
A newly launched Visit Treorchy website also helped give local independent retailers a greater presence online, while a strategic partnership provided digital training and support to local entrepreneurs.
In addition, a “Hop, Shop and Save” scheme offered businesses advertising space on local buses in return for in-store discounts for customers, helping to reduce air pollution and drive footfall to Treorchy’s high street retailers – 80 per cent of which are independently owned.
“We are honoured to be named the UK’s best high street and hugely grateful to both the Great British High Street Awards and Visa for putting our beloved high street on the map,” said Emmett, who is also a member of the Treorchy Chamber of Trade.
“It is undoubtedly the commitment, hard work, dedication and drive of the whole community of Treorchy and the surrounding area that has helped us to win this.”
On the other hand, Kelso was commended for its unique initiatives designed to drive footfall and consumer spending on the high street despite cuts to services.
To ensure survival of the community, it aims to launch a bespoke app to promote a variety of events, activities, businesses and organisations in order to raise awareness and drive continued footfall to Kelso.
“The award is testament to the hard work of our community team in encouraging people back to the high street through innovation and customer experience,” Visit Kelso’s Tina Newton said.
“We are excited to deliver the initiatives during the year ahead.”
Eight high streets, two from each Home Nation, also won awards in the Champion High Street and Rising Star categories, winning £5000 for community initiatives.
High Street Heroes – those individuals who have gone above and beyond for their local high street – were also recognised at the Great British High Street Awards.
The full list of winners is as follows:
High Street of the Year
• High Street, Treorchy
Rising Star of the Year
• The Square, Kelso
Champion High Streets
• England: Belper Town Centre, Belper
• Scotland: Main Street, Prestwick
• Wales: High Street, Treorchy
• Northern Ireland: High Street, Newtownards
Rising Star High Streets
• England: Yarm High Street, Stockton-on-Tees
• Scotland: The Square, Kelso
• Wales: Palace Street, Caernarfon
• Northern Ireland: Newry City Centre, Newry
“Treorchy and The Square in Kelso are fantastic examples of communities that have made huge strides in transforming their high street to significantly improve the experience for locals and visitors alike,” Visa UK managing director Jeni Mundy said.
“Their success goes to show that where you shop really does matter.
“For Treorchy, a rich cultural calendar combined with a desire to experiment with new ways to drive people to shop local shows how independent businesses can come together to make the high street a better place for all.
“The Square, Kelso showcases a clear understanding of its community and drive to innovate to help the high street thrive.
“Visa’s research reveals four in five consumers say that a thriving high street makes a town or village a more appealing destination, underlining why we all need to get behind our local businesses.”