Welcome Back Fund

The Project

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF), which started life as the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund (RHSSF), is a government initiative to help high streets respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Torbay received a total of £342,586 from the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund and the Welcome Back Fund combined between June 2020 to March 2022. 

The RHSSF funding was allocated in June 2020, of which Torbay received £121,293. The grant was used to help businesses reopen safely and to encourage shoppers back to the high streets in a safe and responsible way.

From June 2020 to March 2021, the RHSSF has funded: 

  • Three phases of social distancing signage around town centres, including floor stickers, bus shelter posters, bollard sleeves and banners 
  • Ten custom built, sensor operated hand sanitiser stations for use in public realm, to increase hygiene and public confidence on the high street 
  • Ongoing maintenance and replenishment of public realm hand sanitiser stations and anti-covid gel
  • High Street marketing and communication campaigns including press advertising, radio advertising and social media adverts 
  • A public facing, reopening high streets safely video   
  • A full time, dedicated project / communications officer and fixed term information officer role, supporting businesses in reopening safely 
  • Support for a winter parking promotion in December 2020 
  • Periodic footfall counts to assist with project monitoring and evaluation  
  • Access to a digital platform for high street businesses for one year, to assist the businesses in communicating with customers whilst in lockdown and to reopen safely. 

The second phase of funding for this initiative, the Welcome Back Fund, was announced in March 2021, with a revised purpose of ensuring local areas are ready to welcome both residents and visitors back. Coastal economies were given extra funding to ensure specific challenges in these areas could be better addressed. 

Activity due to be delivered by the Welcome Back Fund will take place from Summer 2021 until Spring 2022 and will include: 

  • Pre-summer season beautification works across Torbay, focusing on seafronts and high footfall areas. Works include re-painting assets, refurbishing a shelter on Babbacombe Downs, new town centre maps and installing extra temporary bins in high footfall areas
  • Supporting a series of ‘Welcome Back events’ in town centres across Torbay  
  • Marketing and promotional incentives for Torbay high streets. 
Welcome Back Fund
We all want to get back into business. Why? Because we have a customer base and customers are wanting to enjoy the products in our shop.
—Simon Storey. Local Business Owner, Torquay.