Church Street, just off the Edgware Road, hosts the longest street market in London and is home to a fascinating food, textiles, antiques and arts quarter. It is also the most deprived area in the borough which is undergoing massive regeneration change and in the next ten years, under the new Masterplan, three key buildings on Church Street will also be regenerated – replacing old low-level buildings with new high-rise buildings with flats and new retail units. Not only will buildings, roads and public realm change – but so will the community.
Westminster Council are keen to keep all local businesses and residents on board with the regeneration programme and want to support the indigenous businesses to help them withstand the change and develop sustainable businesses that can cater to the ever-changing local economy and to the needs and tastes of both the established residents and the new incoming ones.
In response to this, Westminster has commissioned Tree Shepherd to deliver a comprehensive programme of local economy support. Last month, we began work on a two-year contract delivering enterprise training and business clinic support to both residents and existing businesses in and around Church Street. We want to bring in new talent and reinvigorate existing businesses and bring more trade and to the area.
We deliver workshops both during the day to cater for people who may be unemployed and needing the flexibility that self-employment offers – and in the evening after work for the benefit of workers and business owners.
We are helping to build a new startup economy as well as protect the old. Our Business Development Executive Rhona Fairbairn is busy recruiting for the workshops and business support as well as connecting with key stakeholders in the area. She is joined by Senior Project Manager Lydia Gardner who has a particular focus on building relationships with the market traders and on recruiting local unemployed people into the startup element of the enterprise training.