Sunday, 7 March 2010

The Sunday Head****

Some innocent-looking photos of buildings for you today - a house, a café and a shop. Of course, there's more to them than meets the eye and if you click each photo you'll find out what the twist is.

The story behind the delicatessen strikes a chord with me because I make no secret of the fact I'm out of work and struggling. I live just outside Wolverhampton, which was recently named as one of the worst cities in Britain for boarded-up shops.

In some places round the country, however, councils, arts organisations, entrepreneurs and the unemployed have been joining forces to bring empty shops back to life, if only on a temporary basis.

Empty retail units have been turned into community galleries, youth art centres, shops and workspaces. This has allowed people to put their creative skills to good use, start up businesses and generally make their High Street a more attractive place.

This has the knock-on effect of deterring crime and vandalism, giving hope to local people who are jobless and promoting the town centre as somewhere vibrant, willing to tackle its problems and worth investing in.

I've never been interested in retail before but I would love to get involved in a project that could give me the chance to get myself back on my feet and also work like a support network where a group of us could create something together, make a living and get that all-important confidence boost.

If you would like to find out more about the Empty Shops Network, this is a good place to start.

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