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Creative pop ups help to boost Bridgend business

Bridgend Indoor Market has been rejuvenated with pop-up shops and activities through the PopUp Wales initiative.

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Delivered by local creative regeneration agency Urban Foundry, its part of the wider Elevate and Prosper (EAP) project – funded by the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund and the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns Fund. 

Since its launch, PopUp Wales has supported over 30 small businesses and 20 voluntary organisations. The project is the first pop-up space initiative of its kind in South Wales and matches up temporary retail spaces with individuals and businesses who want a flexible, short-term, and affordable space to trial an idea.

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Local businesses and initiatives such as Tia Robbins Art, Bridgend College, and Wheely’s Café have all taken advantage of the scheme and are successfully operating in their new spaces. In total, over ten pop-ups have been matched to empty units in Bridgend town centre, along with 100 per cent grant funding being distributed to seven small businesses and one organisation.

Tia Robbins from Tia Robbins Art, said: “This has been a great opportunity and demonstrates that people really want to shop local.”

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Rachel Bell, Centre Manager at the Rhiw Shopping Centre said: “The funding has been so positive. Having organisations such as Bridgend College in a space have made a huge difference to the Rhiw Shopping Centre. I genuinely hope that the initiative continues in 2023.”

Chris Pritchard from Wheely’s Cafe said: “PopUp Wales have been so brilliant and supportive, plus the events in the market have been great for business and should happen every weekend.”

Tara Tarapetian from Urban Foundry said: “We’ve loved working with Bridgend Indoor Market and The Rhiw Shopping Centre, as we have been able to provide new start-ups and organisations temporary spaces to test their business or idea risk-free, in a great location at the heart of Bridgend’s town centre. At the same time, the craft and music activities have really enhanced the vibrancy of the area and added something a bit different to the shopping experience.”

Councillor Neelo Farr, Bridgend Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration said: “The PopUp Wales initiative has brought new life to Bridgend town centre, and we are really pleased to see such successes with the scheme.

“The scheme is a great way to trial a business idea and give enterprises the opportunity to showcase their diverse services to shoppers in Bridgend, as well as opportunities for training sessions to take place.

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“We hope that this initiative will continue in 2023 to allow more businesses to benefit from the tools and knowledge that this provides to establish a successful business idea.”

Lead image: (L-R) Tia Robbins of Tia Robbins Art and Chris Pritchard of Wheely’s Café in their pop-up stalls at Bridgend Indoor Market. (Image: Bridgend County Borough Council)

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