Leominster, Herefordshire…. A ‘Rising Star’ Finalist.
2016 proved to be an exciting year for the Herefordshire market town of Leominster. With the formation of a Leominster Business Group and subsequent launch of the town’s social media presence, @ShoppinginLeominsterHR6, it was decided to enter The Great British High Street awards for 2016.
These awards aim to celebrate the great work that is being done to revive, adapt and diversify the Nation’s high streets. It is one of a number of initiatives helping to champion high streets and show their worth as the bedrock of their communities.
The GB High Street success as a campaign was proved by the record number of entries for 2016. 900 entries were received, over all fourteen categories (including new ones for shops and individuals).The importance of the high street to the general public was shown by the 400,000 plus votes cast, voting on line to support their best loved high street. This was proof, if it was needed, that despite all the changes of recent years the high street does still matter to the individuals that use them providing a sense of belonging and community.
This was seen to be the case for Leominster. The strong and imaginative social media campaign raised the profile of the town both locally and nationally. It highlighted Leominster’s uniqueness, its many Independent Businesses, world famous Antiques trade, visitor attractions and community spirit. When Leominster was subsequently shortlisted in the Rising Star category (up against Stockton-on-Tees and Dornoch) the campaign created a huge buzz and common purpose for the town. The judges were given an enthusiastic welcome when they came to visit and enjoyed a reception at Leominster’s stunning Grange Court followed by a visit to numerous retail shops.
Finally at the awards ceremony in December 2016 in London, Leominster was named as a Rising Star finalist
and also scooped the Gold Cup award for social media. The social media campaign was run through Twitter and Facebook using hashtags #Leominster #GBHighSt.
The campaign as a whole was approached with humour and a sense of purpose. It drew the public and the businesses together and provided a feeling of huge community spirit, loyalty and commitment for all. This is a legacy worth more in the long run than the award itself!
In celebration of this success, Leominster Businesses continued their enthusiasm through to Small Business Saturday where businesses paid to hire the town car parks for one day, to give customers free parking. This was a great celebration of shopping local, hugely supported by residents and visitors. Shops were decorated with balloons and full of promotions, a day to remember was certainly created.
Leominster has also this year been named by the Sunday Times as one of the best places to live in the Midlands.
You can follow Leominster Businesses at facebook.com/ShoppinginLeominsterHR6 and on Twitter @shopLeominster