Town centre staples saluted at Loving Letchworth Awards, as ideas including ‘Letchworth pound’ are floated

Letchworth town centre manager Tom Hardy with Lauren Howard of Revive, which won both customer servi

Letchworth town centre manager Tom Hardy with Lauren Howard of Revive, which won both customer service and cheerful trader awards. Photo: JP Asher - Credit: Archant

Letchworth town centre staples were saluted at an awards evening last night, where the idea of a local garden city currency was also floated.

Winners at the Loving Letchworth Awards, presented last night by town centre manager Tom Hardy at packed tapas bar La Concha, included the Garden City Brewery and tanning salon Tanique, which won best new business awards.

Lauren Howard and Sami Cutler from beauty salon Revive won customer service and cheerful trader awards, while awards for ‘winning windows’ went to the Scope charity shop and Maureen Davison of Just for Me fashion.

Advance Tanning and hair salon The Avenue respectively won customer service and cheerful trader prizes, but did not have representatives on hand to receive the certificates.

The awards, for which there were more than 1,000 entries, were given out at the inaugural Letchworth in Business meeting – which is set to become a monthly fixture, rotating around different garden city venues.

The attendees last night included the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation’s new chief executive Graham Fisher, who said he had enjoyed his first day in the job – and there was also live music from Hitchin singer Sam Lewis.

As well as handing out the awards, Tom gave a brief update on Letchworth BID matters, and among other things suggested the idea of a local currency to help keep spending local – a ‘Letchworth pound’.

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He told the meeting: “We’re looking at doing a town centre currency. This has been instituted in a few towns, and there could be a new Letchworth pound as well.”

Speaking to the Comet afterwards, Tom said: “We’re looking at the feasibility of it at the moment. Bristol did it in quite a big way – they’ve got Bristol pound ATMs.

“I think there’s a need in Letchworth to spend local and I think that doing a voucher and town-wide discount card that you can apply as well as the currency will hopefully keep spending in the town centre.

“It’s a BID-led initiative so at the moment we’re looking at it just being in the town centre, but we would be interested in expanding it out.

“It’s in the very early stages. It may not work for Letchworth, but we’re going to crack on. The objective is to increase footfall and shopping in Letchworth town centre.”

He added: “I think that in the last year the offer of the town centre has greatly improved and I think we’re changing perceptions of the town.

“Coupled with these discount initiatives this will hopefully increase footfall, spend and the success of businesses here.”

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