MP Meg launches Hackney shop fronts awards

Hackney MP Meg Hillier launched a campaign with the backing of the Gazette this week to boost the borough’s businesses in the wake of the London riots.

Meg, who represents Hackney South and Shoreditch, is calling on readers to nominate their �favourite shops in Hackney’s main high street.

The Shop Front Awards 2011 will reward the best businesses in Mare Street and Narroway, in four categories including ‘most attractive shop front’ and ‘most accessible for people with disabilities and parents with pushchairs’.

But Meg also wants to encourage other shops to do better.

“The downturn in the economy and the events of the summer mean a lot of secondary shopping streets in Hackney are struggling,” she said.

Traders in Clarence Road have reported a drop in footfall by 40 per cent since the riots.

“People pride themselves in Hackney’s small businesses – but if they want to keep them then we have really got to give them a boost and let others know why it’s worth shopping here.

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“We know the value of our high streets so let’s reward those that are really making an effort while pulling up some of the businesses that are frankly in need of some improvement.

Malcolm Starbrook, group editor of the Hackney Gazette, said: “I’m delighted to be supporting the Shopfront Awards 2011. Good businesses are vital for a thriving local economy and to boost job opportunities.

“We know that Hackney has some really useful shops, but other people aren’t always aware of this.

“In the wake of the London riots, it’s more important than ever that we showcase the best shops Hackney has to offer.”

Campaigners will be on the high streets in the run up to Christmas and nomination forms will be available in Hackney Central shops. The deadline is January 12. Winners of the four categories will be invited to a glitzy awards ceremony in the New Year.