How should Northumberland town spend its £5,000 prize money?

Amble Development Trust's Julia Aston and Ann Burke, of the town's business club, with the High Street Award. 
Picture by Jane Coltman

Amble Development Trust's Julia Aston and Ann Burke, of the town's business club, with the High Street Award. Picture by Jane Coltman

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Amble’s share of a prestigious national prize has been announced, and residents are being asked for their views on what it might be spent on.

The prize for winning Best Coastal High Street of the Year in last year’s Great British High Street Awards was a share of a national pot totalling £50,000, plus bespoke help for local businesses by Google’s training team. There were eight categories and an overall winner. After dividing up the prize, each category received £5,000 cash; the overall winner received £10,000.

Julia Aston, director of Amble Development Trust, is inviting the community who supported the campaign to suggest ideas for what to spend the money on.
She said: “We won because of the fantastic support of the community, and now we offer the opportunity for everyone to have their say and work with us to decide how the money is spent. We want to make best use of the £5,000, which isn’t a great amount, but we would like to go as far as possible, to make our high street even better than it currently is.”

She also invited any local business who would like to take advantage of free training by Google’s Digital Garage team to contact her to book their place. The workshop will be held at Fourways 2 on Tuesday, March 15.

Julia said she hoped that Amble will re-apply for the 2016 competition, in the hope of winning the overall prize.

The Great British High Street Awards is a national competition run by the Department of Communities and Local Government. Once a shortlist is compiled, people can vote everyday by email. Winners are decided by a combination of voting and the judges’ decision.

Amble came top of the Best Coastal High Street category, beating Prestatyn in Wales and Bognor Regis in West Sussex by 700 votes.

Giving reasons why the Friendliest Port scooped first place, the judges cited how Amble’s community groups worked together, they also mentioned the independent shops, and praised the way that Queen Street and the harbour area is now much better connected, now that the Harbour Village is open.

“They were so impressed with the town that one of them even returned a couple of weeks later with a fellow judge,” said Julia.

The Google training is available for any local business, and will take place on Tuesday, March 15. To book your free place, contact Julia. If you have ideas on how best to spend the £5,000 prize money, contact Julia on 01665 712929 or email julia@ambledevelopmenttrust.org.uk