What is the Welcome Back Fund?

Since the start of the pandemic, footfall in some towns and city centres have decreased by up to 70%, and our local businesses are paying the price. The Welcome Back Fund has been introduced to provide councils across England with a share of £56 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to encourage footfall back to the high street and show support to shops and hospitality businesses, who need the support of consumers now more than ever.

There are six scopes that councils can use the funding for. This includes:

  1. Developing an action plan to safely reopen the local economy
  2. Communications and public information activities
  3. Business awareness activities
  4. Temporary changes to public spaces to ensure the reopening of the local economy is managed safely
  5. Support to promote a safe public environment for the visitor economy
  6. Trialling new ideas, particularly where these relate to the High Street, to respond to the medium-term impact of COVID-19

What are some examples of how councils can use the funding?

  • Improve the look and feel of high streets by investing in street planting, parks, green spaces and seating areas
  • Support local businesses by running publicity campaigns and creating events like street markets and festivals
  • Install signage to encourage social distancing and safety

Did you know that Hello Lamp Post can help you with high impact activities, using your Welcome Back Funding?

Hello Lamp Post is a communications and engagement platform that connects people to their town or city, using AI. By encouraging people to playfully interact with objects in their everyday surroundings, Hello Lamp Post is making local information more accessible, whilst gathering citizen insights and sentiment, at scale and in real time – at a cost that is a fraction of your Welcome Back Fund allocation. Through simple text-based mobile phone chats, Hello Lamp Post is helping to drive the way we shape local areas and services, positively impacting places where we live, work and play.

We’ve already delivered a number of Welcome Back Funds for councils around the UK and here are some examples of our exciting initiatives:

  • We’re helping to increase footfall around town centres with cultural and historical trails
  • We’ve made shop windows interactive, to gather feedback and sentiments from high street visitors
  • We’re encouraging two-way conversations between residents and governments about Covid-safe behaviours, as well as promoting health and wellbeing, sustainable and active travel campaigns
  • We’re supporting local businesses by promoting their events and shop local campaigns, alongside efforts made by retailers and the council to aid the High Street recovery
  • We’re gathering opinions and sentiment around the future of the high street, from people who experience it first hand

Sample questions that you can ask your community, using Hello Lamp Post:


If you’ve got any remaining budget from your Welcome Back Fund and need help with creating innovative, compliant and high impact experiences, to incentivise your consumers, support your local businesses and encourage visitors back to the high street, please get in touch with our community engagement team at contact@hlp.city.