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£100,000 coup for 'buzzing' Kendal
BUSINESSES in Kendal are set to benefit from a £100,000 boost as more than 200 delegates descend on the town for a national convention.
Beating off strong competition, the town was chosen to host the annual meeting of the charity ‘Action for Market Towns’, starting today.
Action for Market Towns (AMT) is an independent, national membership organisation dedicated to maintaining vibrant and viable small towns.
And the AMT’s chief executive Chris Wade is full of praise for Kendal, where he says there is a ‘business-minded spirit of self-reliance’.
“The things that the government talks about now with localism and putting the focus on to town centres, Kendal has been doing well for a long time,” he said. “This is particularly so with the involvement of the college and The Brewery in the town. This convention will be a chance to showcase Kendal to people from all over the country.”
Organisers say the event, with the theme ‘Keeping Towns Alive’, will look at what it takes to maintain the ‘buzz’ in towns that makes them attractive places to live and work in, and visit.
Guest speakers include historian and TV presenter David Starkey, who will recount his Kendal childhood, and the Government’s high streets minister Mark Prisk.
Mr Wade said visits to Kendal over the last year had confirmed it was the right place to hold a conference about dynamic towns.
“I would challenge whether there are towns anywhere doing more to keep their independent spirit and self-reliance alive,” he said. “What most impresses me about Kendal is that this resourcefulness covers so many aspects of a vibrant town, where individual components pay their way and contribute to a viable and sustainable future.” The convention, which ends tomorrow, will mainly be held in Kendal Town Hall and include tours to showcase local projects.
A gala dinner at Kendal College this evening will feature AMT’s annual awards, recognising key projects across the country.
South Lakeland District Council leader Peter Thornton will also address delegates, representing local authorities, retail groups and parish councils, this afternoon. He said: “Market towns face lots of challenges in the current trading economy, but I think they have a special quality, which is a constant, even when there is change around them.”
He added: “It is great that all these delegates will be seeing the best of Kendal, and then hopefully they will go home and say: ‘That was really nice, let’s go back for a holiday’.”