As many high-street retailers have closed their doors to the public recently, it begs the question, what’s going to happen to all those abandoned stores that were left empty due to the change in consumers’ shopping habits following the Covid-19 pandemic?
Owners of vacant premises have the option to reduce their business rates payments by up to 100 per cent through leasing the property for community benefit to a not-for-profit or charitable organisation, such as a climate emergency centre (CEC), and that is what many brands are beginning to do. Debenhams, Homebase and River Island stores across England and Wales have been converted into climate emergency centres “for the benefit of people and planet”. It’s an extremely interesting concept and may be just what is needed to help bring some life back to the high street.
In our last blog post we talked about how, if retail is to exist in a digital space, there needs to be a reason to visit is this, could be that. The climate centers aren't what they sound like, they're geared up to run community focused activities for families, they’ll be used for art exhibitions, exercise classes, workshops, bike repair centres, and cafe’s all with an aim to inspire sustainable living whilst importantly, trying to make sure that there’s still a reason for consumers to visit their local high street.
You can find out more about what the CEC (Climate Emergency Centre) are planning and how to get involved on their website https://climateemergencycentre.co.uk/