First Stop Local Shop

In 2005 the Forest of Dean District Council’s Market Town Regeneration Team successfully secured £250,000 from the South West Regional Development Agency to develop a 3-year project to support retail in the four market towns of Cinderford, Coleford, Lydney & Newent. This money was combined with funding from the Forest of Dean District Council and from the private sector, resulting in a total fund of £500,000.

The Council, with guidance and support from local businesses, went on to develop the ‘First Stop Local Shop’ campaign. The project responded to reports that £100 million was being spent outside of the Forest by District residents every year.
The award-winning First Stop Local Shop Campaign drew on the local shoppers desire to support the town businesses and actively promoted the qualities that these shops have over their out of town competitors. Also, the project built on the existing retail environment by providing schemes to enhance the appearance of the towns and training packages to compliment the skills of the retail employees.
Here are just some of the individual schemes that made up the ‘First Stop Local Shop’ campaign:
Forest Rewards card
This hugely popular scheme gave shoppers discounts in hundreds of businesses throughout the Forest.  The scheme was free to both businesses and shoppers, helping local shops and services to grow their customer base.
Forest Gift Vouchers
An easy to run and no-cost scheme which guaranteed customer spend in the Forest of Dean.
Forest Shopping Guide
A comprehensive online Shopping Guide for the Forest of Dean. Shoppers used this site to find Forest businesses, make an enquiry, and even recommend them to a friend.
Business Training and Support
The project team sign-posted training and support from a wide range of providers, many of whom offered subsidised or free courses.
Shop Front Improvement Grant
The council financed and administrated a scheme whereby 50% of retailers/landlords costs were met when improving their properties.
Upon completion of ‘First Stop Local Shop,’ The Forest of Dean District Council put together a Toolkit to help others deliver Retail Support projects. The toolkit provides both summaries and detailed information on each scheme, indicative costs and the associated achievements which include:
  • A 28% increase in shopper footfall against a target of 5%
  • 80% of retailers reporting increased awareness of their business
  • Over 10,000 Forest Rewards Card (Loyalty Scheme) Members
Elements of the ‘First Stop Local Shop’ campaign have been implemented in other parts of the UK.
The interactive toolkit can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here:
First Stop Local Shop Toolkit