Logo made up of words 'live love local' and including the HM Gov and ERDF logos

Shoppers in Barnstaple may notice friendly people acting as 'place makers' around the high street, as North Devon's town centres have reopened following the second national lockdown. 

The new place maker role has been developed by North Devon Council as an additional safety and support measure in the fight against COVID-19. The place makers' responsibilities are to be a presence in the high street, answer questions and provide a friendly reminder to the public and businesses to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines to help keep everyone safe.

Barnstaple's place makers will be in the town centre until Christmas, during what is typically the busiest time of the year for high streets. The council hopes this added measure will help with social distancing and provide residents with additional confidence that the district's high streets are safe places to be, encouraging customers back into the town centres to support local retail and hospitality businesses. 

Barnstaple Town Centre Manager Hannah Harrington says: "We are very excited that our local businesses have now  reopened after yet another challenging period, and we want visitors to the town centre to know that they - and we - are taking even more steps to keep shoppers safe. The place makers are an important addition to our high street as they will serve as an extra reminder to respect the safety measures we have in place and reinforce the message we are displaying on our new signage: 'distance socially, spend locally, enjoy safely.'

"It is important to understand that the place makers' role is not to enforce COVID-19 regulations, or to have enforcement powers, which remain the responsibility of the police and designated local authority enforcement officers. They are there to encourage, help, reassure and remind the public - and our businesses - of how to follow COVID-19 guidelines in the interests of keeping people safe." 

The place maker role is funded by Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, set up by the European Regional Development Fund and Her Majesty's Government. The same fund has supported the council's 'Live Love Local' campaign, which was launched following the first national lockdown to support our high streets and local businesses to reopen and operate safely.

Information on the 'Live Love Local' campaign is available on the council's website www.northdevon.gov.uk/livelovelocal. Residents are encouraged to support the campaign through its Facebook and Instagram (@livelovelocalnorthdevon) pages and use #livelovelocal in social media posts concerning North Devon's local businesses.