YOUR recent article highlighting the opportunity for Keighley to bid for significant amounts of national government funding for regeneration of our town centre via the Towns Fund is both welcome and heartening.

Your in-depth article focused primarily on retail and town infrastructure. All towns need this, but we also need to be thinking about the future of towns in the next five, ten, twenty years. As more people shop online and/or have home deliveries of groceries, then town centres need to widen the offer to their residents and visitors.

Two initiatives I am involved with are already contributing to increased footfall into central Keighley.

Dementia Friendly Keighley (DFK), with our information and drop-in centre and activity and social groups, is bringing people into town who then may also do a bit of shopping, or have a coffee or a meal.

Last year, Keighley Creative (based in the old Sunwin House department store building) brought many locals and visitors into the town centre through the Keighley Arts & Film Festival and a series of arts and craft exhibitions and interactive activities in our gallery. All of these had a positive impact on town centre footfall. We are now working hard on bringing in funds to widen what's on offer in the building itself, on enabling our artists and crafts people to deliver training and fun activities in other parts of the town, and on KAFF2020.

Both these growing, positive projects can help enhance the town's reputation and attractiveness along with other leisure, social and educational initiatives that can fill empty retail spaces with new life.

It is vital that the voluntary and social enterprise sectors are a central part of Keighley's bid to the Town Funds as they have such a positive and vital role to play in enhancing the offer in our town centre and complementing the retail sector.


Braithwaite Village

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