Shirley Town Centre Partnership has hit back at claims voiced in the BBC’s Inside Out programme that the town lacks community spirit.
The partnership, made up of local businesses, residents and community groups along with the police, has been working all year to support Shirley High Street.
With a membership of 40 businesses and shops in the centre, a significant amount has been achieved with only a small resource.
businesswoman Gill Phipps of Early Years, said: “The success of Shirley as a town is vital to the success of my business. By being involved in the Partnership I can feel that I am directly contributing to ensuring that this continues.”
This year, the Partnership has worked in the community raising funds for a Christmas lights display.
Donations and sponsorship came in from over 30 different businesses and community groups including Shirley Lions, Shirley Rotary, churches, The Village and Corus hotels, Jerroms and Sydney Mitchells and Early years, all of whom felt it is important to keep up Shirley’s 30-year traditional display and keep the local Christmas spirit alive.
Networking events for businesses in Shirley have taken place during 2010 with specialist speakers giving tips on free marketing for businesses, support available and free training for staff.
Jim Ferry, chair of the Partnership said: “These are professionally organised and have provided invaluable advice and information, tailor-made for our local businesses. We continue to encourage businesses to make use of this free service, to not only develop their business but support the service provided by the town centre.
“The latest initiative has been a programme of “pride in your town” days aimed at gaining the support from local businesses to make improvements to the local area. As a result we’ve painted benches, cleared up litter and seen a reduction in the level of graffiti with the support of voluntary groups, residents, the police, park rangers and businesses.”
In the New Year, there will be a launch of a new tailor made website for Shirley – with special offers, news and information.
For more on Shirley, call Becki Wood, town centre manager on 0121 704 8752.