Welcome back fund

Amber Valley Borough Council has been awarded £113,425 from the European Regional Development Fund’s Welcome Back Fund to help local businesses and the visitor economy to bounce back after Covid. It is designed to help councils attract people back to town centres.

The fund will be used for activities that will help keep high streets and town centres alive and vibrant, as well as boosting the look and feel of the towns, giving people safer and more attractive options to meet with friends and relatives.

The Welcome Back Fund is an extension of the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund for which the council was awarded £113,425. This funding supported several activities in Amber Valley this year and last year, including the 'shop local' campaign and appointment of the high street ambassadors to help businesses adapt to the pandemic and its restrictions.

Working with partners such as Alfreton Town Council, Belper Town Council, Ripley Town Council and Heanor and Loscoe Town Council, Amber Valley’s Welcome Back Fund projects to date include:


Boosting the town centre appeal through weed and graffiti removal.

Installation of bunting during the months leading up to Christmas and an extension of the Christmas light display in areas not festooned before.

Extended Christmas light switch on event with the addition of entertainment across the town.

Character appearances on the market place every Saturday throughout February and into March.

Contracted with a local security company to provide a high street presence to support events, engage with retailers and help make people feel safe when visiting the town centre.

Hosted 'Dinosaur Day', a love Heanor event in collaboration with Heanor Vision bringing  day and evening entertainment across the town centre, involving retailers and market stall holders.


Events such as the recent 'Sunday Stroll' an occasion that increased pedestrian areas in the town through road closure permissions, this was complimented with the addition of variety market stalls traders and low-key entertainment to make the town an even more enjoyable and a pleasant place to visit and relax.

The towns public conveniences have had additional cleaning scheduled to take account of the increase of visitor numbers.

Enlisted a local media company to create a short promotional video of the town that showcased the retail and tourism offer, to increase local and wider visitor interest.


Improved the look and feel of the market but updating the marketplace canopies and stall tabletops.

Contracted with a local media company to create a short promotional video to showcase the retail and tourism offer within the town centre.


Hosted a recent musical event to liven up the town centre and encourage visitors.

Hosted a Halloween event comprising of a Halloween trail, where clues were displayed in retailer's windows and/or market stalls, complimented with entertainment to encourage visitors across the town.

Installed winter planting scheme across the town and followed with a spring planting display, increasing the planting across areas not previously beautified.

Entertainers in the town centre on the lead up to Christmas.

Enhanced Christmas light switch on event with the addition of entertainers across the town.

Pop up event space created within the town through the installation of a canopy across the pedestrianised area.

Character appearances over the February half term within the town centre.

Alfreton Indoor Market

Worked with a local consultant to create branding and messaging that builds on placemaking and which was centred around shopping and dwelling to be printed on temporary banners to mask unsightly areas, to boost the look and feel of the market. The run up to the re-branding launch was publicised through social media and balloons and badges were produced, linking to the banner messaging.

Beautification of the market with temporary faux fauna to improve the presentation of the market.

Procurement of temporary 3D floor art installation at the rear of the market to encourage visitors to engage with the installation and post images on social media with the purpose of attracting new visitors to the market and across the town centre offer.

Promotional campaigns

As part of the Welcome Back Fund, Amber Valley Borough Council has invested in promotional campaigns to support the town's business community. Recent activity has been a photography campaign for retailers, capturing shop front and interior images that have been shared for town centre promotion. Images have also been used to create montage posters for businesses to display and showcase what is on offer in the towns.

Town centre beautification

Under the Welcome Back Fund, Amber Valley Borough Council has procured a deep cleaning company to pressure wash pedestrianised areas within Alfreton, Belper, Heanor and Ripley and remove chewing gum.

The council has also enlisted a painting and decorating contractor to re-paint the street fittings and furniture in Alfreton, Heanor and Ripley.

Need further help or information?

Contact the team directly on 01773 570222 or email enquiry@ambervalley.gov.uk