The Sefton Pilot Project: Regenerating Hospitality

For over a year, NCASS have been working with the government’s Department of Business (BEIS) hospitality team to design and develop a ‘regeneration pilot demonstrator’ scheme. This scheme is part of the government’s ‘building back better high streets’ and ‘levelling up’ strategies.

The demonstrator pilot will take place in Bootle, North Merseyside and begin this summer. The scheme aims to support Sefton Council’s ambitious redevelopment of the Strand Shopping Centre, using hospitality as the new ‘anchor’ for the high street.

The pilot scheme aims to create opportunities for independent food and drink businesses to trade profitably, help new start-ups gain the experience and knowledge to begin their entrepreneurial journey, and to train much-needed kitchen and front of house staff for a career in the industry. Further demonstrator pilots are planned for throughout the UK.

NCASS Director, Mark Laurie said:

“This is a really exciting opportunity to put independent food businesses at the heart of the new high street. Many NCASS members hustled their way through Covid as best they could and we were determined to support them every step of the way. If successful, this scheme will create opportunities for NCASS members and start-ups, which could then be recreated or adopted by local authorities around the UK.”

The pilot scheme will be run in association with Sefton Council, supported by Hugh Baird College and Sefton employment services. It aims to help people from Bootle and the wider borough gain key culinary and hospitality training, along with work experience opportunities and potential access to business incubators.

NCASS will work with industry partners to deliver training, work experience and opportunities to trade:

“We are looking to develop a street food destination in Bootle, staffed by local people, working in locally owned businesses. We want to enable candidates to get invaluable experience and knowledge that will help them to join the labour market or even create their own businesses.”

Street food events will be developed in association with members of the Street Food Alliance such as Digbeth Dining Club. We hope that by bringing some of our

best, and most knowledgeable, events and business members to Bootle, we can kick off a local passion for street food culture and events and even find and develop the next street food stars.

The pilot scheme has come off the back of NCASS’ work with the government’s hospitality taskforce and the Hospitality Sector Council, both created in response to Covid, where we petitioned for post-pandemic opportunities for micro-catering businesses that had suffered. The retail sector abandoned the high street during Covid, and the pilot scheme will also test whether independent hospitality businesses can provide experiences to fill the gaps left by retail and revitalise town and city centres as social spaces.

Does your local authority have regeneration plans that we could help with? Get in touch with us to find out more – email [email protected]

Find out more on the project here

See more news here

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