Blakemore Trade Partners MD Jerry Marwood, has agreed to serve as High Street Champion for Wolverhampton, as part of a national High Street Champions programme.
High Street Champions is a pilot scheme from the charity Business in the Community to increase corporate involvement in UK high streets at local level.
The scheme focuses on the 27 Portas Pilot towns that were announced in May 2012 to bring business expertise and skills to support high streets across the country.
Marwood, who heads up the independent SPAR business of AF Blakemore, is regarded as one of the leading minds in the convenience retail sector having served as managing director of Spar UK for 10 years. He was previously a board member of the British Retail Consortium and former chairman of the Association of Convenience Stores.
Commenting on his appointment, hesaid: “I have spent all my professional life in retail and while I have a passion for independent stores, I also have a great deal of knowledge of larger corporate organisations through my time at Gateway, Somerfield and Spar UK.
“Against this backdrop it is a great privilege for both me and AF Blakemore to be part of this programme in Wolverhampton City Centre. I am already impressed with the work of WV One and the Portas ‘Town Team’ and am looking forward to sharing my experiences to help the city centre reach its undoubted potential.”
WV One is an independent city centre partnership working with businesses and key partners such as Wolverhampton City Council and the Police to coordinate activities and highlight issues. WV One is the lead organisation for the Portas Pilot projects.
WV One operations director Kim Gilmour said: “I am delighted to be working with such a renowned retail expert and value Jerry’s strategic input into the Portas work as we move into our sustainability phase as well as his support and ideas on a day to day level.”
The chief executive, of Business in the Community, Stephen Howard added: “BITC High Street Champions is a response to the need to transform town centres. Successful high streets require collaboration between the community, local authority and local business leaders.
“No one group holds the solutions and it is only through working together and thinking innovatively that we will see the change we require. We are delighted that AF Blakemore has seconded Jerry Marwood to help further this important initiative.”
Picture: Jerry Marwood and Kim Gilmour outside Shop in the Square one of the Wolverhampton Portas Pilot projects.