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New retail group bids to revive Taunton's shopping scene
INDEPENDENT retailers are joining forces with Taunton Deane Mayor Libby Lisgo to bring Taunton’s shopping scene back to life.
Women’s Independence Network (WiN) formed three weeks ago and hopes to improve the retail sector and raise cash to bring back the silent bells at St Mary Magdalene church.
Lucinda Ackland, window dresser for Mr Miles Tea Rooms, lived in Taunton as a teenager but when she returned 25 years later she noticed a big change.
She added: “It is frustrating to see Taunton looking downtrodden.
“We want to bring new energised footfall to Taunton and work with bus companies to bring people into the town and offer them a positive shopping experience.”
“It was a little sad on our high streets with some empty units appearing but when I went off the main track I found an array of amazing people running independent shops.
“We need the international and national stores but we have to support the independents as they help keep money and the heart beating in Taunton.”
Lucinda said the other heart- beat in Taunton is the town bells but she believes people are unaware the bells are owned by the people of Taunton.
She said: “We want to get them back because it affects everybody and it is something different that Taunton could offer to shoppers.”
To restore the bells, the group need between £30,000 and £40,000 and their first fund-raising event is on their launch night on Novem-ber 20 at Miles at Riverside Place, in Taunton.
Thirteen women, including the Mayor, are having vintage dresses made for a 1940s theme to emulate the success of the parish in 1945 when the community came together to raise money for a new bell at the church.
The group wants to keep Taunton money in Taunton and plans to introduce an independent shops loyalty card and a parking system where shoppers’ tickets are reimbursed when they spend an allotted amount in an independent shop – a move which Pat Mayhew at the Stitch Academy in Station Road is keen to adopt at her shop.
If you are interested in helping the group please email Lucinda at firstname.lastname@example.org
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