Chipping Sodbury has beaten competition from towns across the south of England to win recognition for their efforts to nurture thriving communities.

The winners for the South of England region of this year’s Action for Market Town awards have been announced:

The Business and Economy Category and Overall South Zone Winner is: Shop Local, Shop Sodbury

With the arrival of a new Tesco Extra store in Yate, just one mile from Sodbury, and with a Waitrose coming to the town in late 2012 it is imperative that Chipping Sodbury offers a unique and inviting experience to all visitors.

Shop Local, Shop Sodbury was launched in June 2011 to encourage people to shop locally – and to capitalise on the expected increased footfall to the town (which on average is around 17% when a Waitrose opens). The campaign reinforces the Chamber’s message that Chipping Sodbury has a diverse range of businesses and is a great place to visit both for retail and leisure purposes.

The Chamber’s primary goal is to support all of the businesses in the town and to safeguard their future, regardless of whether they choose to join the Chamber The message ‘Shop Sodbury, shop local’ invites people in to the town and supports everything that we are trying to achieve.

The campaign, which has encompassed local, regional and national publicity, competitions, a food festival, a jazz festival, extensive work with community organisations and “every means possible to promote Chipping Sodbury as a place to visit for business and leisure and as a place to set up shop”, has led to increased footfall, more tourism, greater awareness of the need to shop local to keep businesses alive, and a reduction in empty retail property.

More information:

Judges’ comments:

“A great project which responded to the opening of the largest Tesco in Europe in a very positive way. The project was launched to follow an increase in footfall in the town due to the opening. Now with only 1 empty retail shop they have got tangible benefits.”

The winning projects go forward to be considered for Action for Market Towns’ prestigious National Award. National winners will be announced by historian and television presenter David Starkey in October at a ceremony in Kendal.

Last year’s winners received widespread press exposure and several were even held up as exemplary projects in a Parliamentary reception.

Chris Wade, the chief executive of AMT said:

“The quality and quantity of our entries shows that innovation and creativity is at the heart of many towns across the south of England. This years’ entries really raised the bar – giving judges a difficult task – and the regional winners should be congratulated for the positive effects their projects are having in their communities.

“The Action for Market Towns Awards celebrate these innovative projects and share good ideas allowing other towns across the UK to learn from our winners’ experiences.

“We are grateful to The Big Lottery Fund for their continued support for the Awards, and to specialist ethical fund manager CCLA for their sponsorship.”

Background to awards:

Action for Market Towns founded its awards scheme in 2004 to recognise and showcase initiatives that are helping our small market towns to adapt to change and flourish.

For the awards, the presence of a ‘market’ is not the determining feature – more important is the relationship between the town and its hinterland. Towns eligible to enter the awards have a population of between 2,000 and 35,000, offer at least convenience shopping and meet some weekly and specialist needs

The Action for Market Towns National Awards are supported by the Big Lottery Fund and sponsored by specialist ethical fund manager CCLA.

If you need any information about the awards, please contact: Anne Buchanan on 01633 411732 or email, [email protected] Notes to editors:

1. Action for Market Towns (AMT) is a national charity committed to the vitality and viability of our small towns.

2. It offers training, consultancy, national advocacy and a range of other services to more than 400 members.

3. The awards are part funded by the Big Lottery Fund and sponsored by ethical fund manager CCLA.

Action for Market Towns

07904 272 200 [email protected]

Source: Action for Market towns (AMT)