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Mansfield Town Team £10k success

Mansfield's Town Team has been delighted to receive news of their successful application to become a Town Team Partner and in turn is now set to receive a £10,000 boost, along with additional advice and support from leading retail experts.

The town team, which follows a Mary Portas recommendation, is led by The Mansfield BID and includes partners from Mansfield District Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, the private sector and the voluntary / third sector. The team will lead and implement an action plan for Mansfield town centre, which aims to drive innovation and improvement on the high street.

Alongside this, the Town Team has also been picked as one of three towns in the country to launch a new online innovative crowdfunding campaign to turn Mansfield into one of the UK's largest free Wi-Fi hotspots.

The Town Team hopes that free internet access will help Mansfield town centre to thrive at a time when high street sales are being driven by online competition. Free Wi-Fi will encourage visitors to stay longer in town, as they'll be able to surf the net and stay in touch with friends, while shopping and socialising.

Alongside this, the money will fund signage with Quick Response (QR) codes that visitors can scan on their smart phone and be directed to information about the town, from history of certain buildings and areas, to events happening in Mansfield.

The concept of crowdfunding began in America in 1997 and raises funds for innovative projects. Mansfield is already receiving national recognition for being one of the first towns to help the high-street in this way. Crowdfunding allows any local person or business to contribute towards the project to improve their high-street. It can be as small or as large as they want and the money does not get taken from anybody's account unless the set total is reached.

Sarah Nelson, Mansfield BID Manager, said: "This has been great news; to have been selected not only as a Town Team Partner but to also launch an exciting new project has really put Mansfield in the minds of the Government.

"Our total goal for the Wi-Fi installation is £37,000. We have only just started and are already over the £5,000 mark. This extra £10,000 is another great step towards it and we thank all those who have already contributed. We hope that the free Wi-Fi will not only benefit visitors to the town but will also keep us competitive to surrounding towns and highlight to potential new investors that Mansfield is a modern forward thinking town to establish themselves in.

"We have just discovered that since 2011, we have moved from 135 in the retail ranking to 112. We all know that it is a difficult climate for towns at this time, but the Town Team is focused on continuing to improve on this and free Wi-Fi is a great step towards that."

Cllr Kate Allsop, Portfolio Holder for Economic Regeneration at Mansfield District Council, added: "I am thrilled that the Mansfield Town Team has been awarded this funding, as it will not only boost the fund to introduce free Wi-Fi within the town centre but also shows the commitment from the BID, Mansfield District Council and our partners to ensure Mansfield is the choice shopping destination for many. This is an exciting example of how Mansfield is leading the way on innovative projects to support its high-street and local businesses."

The deadline to raise the funds is 1 May 2013. More information about the scheme can be found here: http://spacehive.com/mansfieldhotspot

The Mansfield Town Team is also now working on a funding application BID for the Future High Street X Fund, where town centres can have the opportunity to win a share of £1 million. Further information will be announced in coming weeks.

Published 30 October 2012

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