Retweet for Towns Day - March 8 2012

HTF is pleased to bring you information about Retweet For Towns Day

We can all play a part in shaping the future of town centres and high streets. All across the UK, resident led activity along with business collaboration is working to ensure that towns stay vibrant and will remain part of our communities long into the future. Soon we will see an increase of the mobilisation of Town Teams thanks to the enthusiasm of the UK Government to highlight the plight of our towns.  However, this positivity only exists to address the fact that the majority of town centres are suffering a decline that started long before our current economic woes.

To complement the work of Politicians, Local Authorities, Town Centre Partnerships etc Retweet For Towns Day on March 8 will be a co-ordinated campaign of mass tweeting about town centres. Over a 24 hour period and across the country people of all ages and from all walks of life will tweet and retweet about what is important to them about their Town. Retweet For Towns Day will see the UK come together for a day of collaboration to openly discuss what was once and still can be the heart of our communities.

Social media already contains much discussion around all aspects of our town centres. Retweet For Towns Day will be an outlet for that passion and allow a balanced discussion in an online forum.  Twitter is at the same time the portal for disheartened residents to complain that their town does not meet their needs any more whilst proactive Town Centre Managers, Town Councils  and Tourism Boards are telling a story about the how fantastic their town is. Retweet For Towns Day will bring all parties together to allow a free and honest debate around people’s local areas whilst enabling the sharing of great ideas and initiatives that can make town centres better places.

The Economy, Town Centres and the High Street are so high on the agenda that everyone has a view, and most views are valid.  Retweet For Towns Day enables the Silent Majority who vote with their feet when shopping, socialising and relaxing to have their say. This is an opportunity for those who would not normally embrace community activity and who do not believe that they can influence change to speak out loudly from their armchairs.

We encourage Town Councils, Partnerships, Town Centre Managers, Local Authorities and everyone else involved in working to make town centres a better place to join in on the day and highlight the good work that they are doing locally to preserve and develop their town centres. We want to see the projects that are being delivered successfully on a local level being promoted on the day so that other areas can learn from them to improve their own locality.

We will be prompting responses by asking questions like: are town centres viable? What will they look like in the future? Do people care if their traditional centres do not survive?  This will be a day of activity, discussion, debate consultation and sharing unlike any other. We believe that Twitter is so easy to access that we will create a real energy for the topic and will be able to collect many people’s views over a 24 hour period.

During the day we will be monitoring the debate and collecting responses which we will then bring together in a single document that all will be published online and will be freely available to all.

Why have a Retweet For Towns Day?

Town centres, high streets, independent businesses and shop local campaigns are so emotive at the moment that we want to harness this, learn and share best practise in a way that is straightforward and cost free. Quite simply, we want Aberdeen to learn from Aberystwyth, and Dartford to share with Darlington while people in Chester and Chelmsford tell us what their town centre means to them.

Who is behind Retweet For Towns day?

This event is being delivered free of charge by passionate high street and town centre experts Mark Barnes and Paul Squires.  Mark is the leading voice in the UK for area based loyalty and was Town Centre Manager in Louth until January 2011; for more information see   http://linkd.in/piTw9z  and Paul, designer of HighST UK and co-author of Reimagining the High Streets; Escape from Clone Town.  please see http://linkd.in/nXfzzA  

Mark and Paul believe that this event through Twitter will encourage more people to become active in joining the debate about town centres whilst allowing those with a responsibility for our towns to balance the discussion. Mark and Paul firmly believe that resident led activity can play a significant role in addressing the issues facing our towns and this maybe a first step for those who have not considered their views important.

What can be expected on the day?

  • Discussion and debate around issues and solutions
  • A display of pride from many who are emotionally attached to their town
  • Strong views about where town centres are failing
  • Demonstrations from towns about how projects are working in their centres
  • Sharing of ideas about what is next for town centres
  • Feedback from businesses on the high street
  • Views on how businesses and landlords can help in the high street
  • Ideas on how to make the town centre an enjoyable experience
  • Promotion of resident led activity
  • Sharing of best practice
  • Networking between professionals  and residents who have a passion for where they work and live
  • A day of activity that displays that whatever  role people have in their community, millions of us, all across the country care deeply about our town centres

Where did the idea come from?

Mark had the idea for the highly acclaimed Retweet For Work Days in December 2011, and with Paul he has been delivering ever since; the next one is planned for 9 February.

How will the day work?

Instructions on how to participate will be published and promoted online in the run up to 8 March

What is needed to make the day a success?

Mark and Paul will monitor and run the day including all the preparation on the lead in to the event. However, this project would be greatly enhanced by support and endorsement from partners.  In addition, please spread the word and circulate the press release.  Follow @loyalhelp on Twitter and RT and create your own tweets to promote the day.

Retweet For Work Days resulted in HTV News and BBC Radio Wales interviews and the publicity will be significantly greater for Retweet For Town Day so sponsorship is an opportunity.  If available any income would only be used for additional marketing and greater online presence. Also, please promote the day on your websites and we will ensure that multiple tweets go out directing people to your site.

At the very least please join in, tell us your views, offer some challenging questions and lets together all spread the good and the bad news about our towns and high streets

What do I do now?

Contact Mark Barnes on 07590 005692 or email mabarnes@btinternet.com to register an interest