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News Report Page 10 of 10
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The 1st of 300,000 new decorative lights have now been installed on trees along Lord Street in Southport

SOUTHPORT BID is leading the project to replace decorative lighting along each side of the mile long Victorian shopping street. They aim to generate pride in the area and encourage shoppers and diners to return once the Covid Pandemic and lockdown measures are eased. Local Southport firm, Illumidex UK Ltd, have started removing the obsolete old lights in November 2020 and is aiming to complete the ambitious scheme of installing 20 miles of new lights in Spring 2021.

Southport BID Chief Executive Officer Rachel Fitzgerald said:- "I am delighted to see the 1st trees, on Lord Street, are now lit up again! Replacing the lights along both sides of this mile long street is a substantial project, which has been made possible by the BID and its members, the local businesses we have here in Southport Town Centre. Lord Street in Southport is 1 of the most beautiful and unique shopping streets in the North West. It is home to lots of superb shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels and other local businesses. We want to encourage people in our Town to think about Lord Street as a place we are all very proud of, and that is why we are investing substantial amounts of money to make it shine. We can't wait to see local residents and visitors being able to return and enjoy shopping and enjoying a good night out here. I am looking forward to Lord Street encouraging lots of cosmopolitan socialising in Southport."

Southport BID has provided funding for the scheme and is being supported by ₤100,000 through a Government Acceleration Grant, under Southport Town Deal.  A further ₤900,000 of Southport Town Deal funding is currently being spent on transforming Southport Market into an exciting new food, drink and events hub, which is also due to open this Spring; another reason to encourage more visitors into the Town Centre.

Illumidex UK Ltd owners Steve and Jan Clayton are working:- "like clockwork" on the Lord Street lighting scheme alongside 2 co-workers. They began the project 2 months ago, painstakingly removing 3 and a ˝ tonnes of obsolete lighting from branches before they were able to begin installing their new ones. They said:- "We have completed 8 trees already. We are averaging 4 trees a night at the moment and are progressively working our way along the street. We have started at the Southport Community Fire and Ambulance Station end, just outside Farmfoods, and are moving on from there. Once we reach the Morrisons end of Lord Street we will start lighting up trees on the other side of the road. We did have discussions about waiting until all the lights were up before doing a big switch on, but we're leaving them on as we go along, so people can see Lord Street gradually light up. The lights are 3 times brighter than the previous ones' you need sunglasses to see them! They are a warm white / Champagne colour, they look really good. We felt that ice white would be a bit cold and gloomy. The warm white gives it a nice glow. When the project is finished, and all 80 trees are done Lord Street will be like a tunnel of light. It is going to look amazing. You'll be able to see it from space!"

The Illumidex UK Ltd team of 4 took 2 full weeks to unpack all the sets of lights needed for the scheme.  Altogether there are 3,000 sets of lights, containing a total of 300,000 bulbs. Sefton Council contractors helped by pruning the trees along Lord Street so the new lights could be installed.  ½ moon discs, each containing a number, will be attached to each of boulevard's 80 trees, so local business owners or members of the public can easily identify or report any trees where any issues may need addressing in the months ahead. At the moment, lockdown is helping Illumidex UK Ltd to move along well.  Steve and Jan said:- "This is a mammoth task, but the lockdown is helping us to work quickly. Usually, Lord Street is really vibrant and with all the shops, restaurants and bars there, it stays that way until 11 or 12 o'clock or at night. At the moment, it's really quiet and it's easy for us to find parking spaces for our cherry picker and our vehicles along the street quite easily, and we can move along from 1 tree to the next without having to double back because of parked cars. It's making life a lot easier and saving us some time, so people will be able to look forward to seeing the lights back up in the trees soon. We're based in Southport, and we love decorating our home Town. We're very proud of our work. It is what Lord Street needs. It will attract a lot of attention to our Town."

Southport BID has recently launched the new Southport Gift Card as a way of encouraging people to support local businesses. For more details please click on here. Also, for more details about Southport BID please visit their website at:- SouthportBID.Com.

Fabulous Farm Shops raise cash in support of RABI

FABULOUS Farm Shops, the 1 stop farm shop directory lists every farm shop in England and on entering lockdown, the team at Fabulous Farm Shops were acutely aware of the impact and the damage Coronavirus would have on, not only the small independent farm shops, but the farming community and their families. Wanting to do their bit the team actively encouraged farm shops to add live links to their listing on their directory. This upgrade allowed farm shop owners to add extra information about their farm shop for a year and 100% of this upgrade was donated to The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI). RABI is farming’s oldest and largest charity and have served the farming community since 1860, offering financial support, practical care and guidance to farmers, farm workers and their dependants. To date, the total amount raised by Fabulous Farm Shops stands at:- ₤665.00.

In a press release, Claire Mortimer, a partner of Fabulous Farm Shops, said:- "We had to move quickly, of course we wanted to help farm shops, but we really needed to give some thing back and to support our farmers, Covid hit RABI hard and they needed our support more than ever."

RABI Communications Manager Rob Harris added:- "We greatly appreciate the efforts of Fabulous Farm Shops and the farm shops who supported us. Over many months they’ve taken the time and trouble to raise awareness of our work, as well as donating a significant sum of money. We’re extremely grateful to Claire and her team for all they’ve done on our behalf."

If you need help or want more information about RABI, you can use the Freephone Helpline:- 08082819490 or the group's website.

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