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YouTube appeal to ‘save’ Didcot
YOUNG people from Didcot have made a YouTube film to attract funding from “Queen of Shops” Mary Portas.
The retail expert is linking up with Local Government Minister Grant Schapps to give 12 towns a share of £1m to help turn around their ‘unloved and unused’ high streets.
South Oxfordshire District Council bosses fear the town’s Broadway could be overshadowed by the £125m phase two development at the Orchard shopping centre.
And to try to ensure shoppers do not abandon the town’s traditional shopping street, council leaders have bid for £74,000 of “Portas Pilot” funding.
If the bid is successful, the funding will be matched locally with £68,000. Projects forming part of the bid include plans for pop-up shops, new seating, town centre maps and signs, and lamp post banners.
The three-minute Save Didcot Broadway video focuses on independent shops.
South Oxfordshire’s Young People’s XChange organised the video and it was made by seven teenagers aged 13 to 18, including pupils from St Birinus School and Wallingford School.
Ashley Halstead, 18, from Didcot, who helped to make the video, said: “I’ve grown up in the area for most of my life.
“The Broadway is in danger of losing the local uniqueness that gives the area its character.
“If nothing is done soon, Didcot will have no individuality.
“We need a grant like this to prevent this town from becoming a clone town.”
SODC, Didcot Town Council and Didcot Chamber of Commerce decided to allow the teenagers to take the lead when the video was made.
It was edited by Sam Miles, 15, a pupil at Wallingford School.
Sam, from Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, said: “It would be good if some more money was invested into Broadway.
“I loved making the video – I learnt most of my editing skills online.”
Town council leader Margaret Davies said: “I think it’s unprecedented for Didcot to be advertised on a YouTube video, and I think the young people have done a very good job.”
“Broadway is a unique one-sided high street that evolved in the 1920s and 1930s when people opened shops in their front rooms.”
Vale of White Horse District Council is also bidding for Portas cash for Abingdon.
To win the cash, successful bidders will “need to demonstrate how they have the energy, enthusiasm and vision to make a real difference to their town centres and make them the hubs of their communities”.
To see the film, search on youtube.com
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