Wigan, heart and home

Mike Riddell is one of those precious people who can turn words and ideas into action. For years, people have talked about the decline of the high street, dabbled with ‘buy local’ and ‘loyalty’ schemes and scrabbled around with possible local currencies. I have to confess to a butterfly involvement with each of these. Mike is working to turn these into reality, by creating a technology platform for sharing across local shops and local citizens – nothing too new in terms of technology, but stuff that is usually kept within a single company and the relationship it has with its customers.

The initiative is developing in Wigan – recently characterised by CACI as one of the most vulnerable towns to retail loss / what we used to call ghost town status. What is up and running so far is called Hometown Plus – and the idea, in partnership with a farsighted local authority, is now looking at further models of smart living … Wigan_plus_document1[6] … and smart sharing.

I was able a few weeks back to introduce Mike to Mary Portas in Birmingham, at our inspiring Co-operative Congress. Mary is leading a review for government on the future of the high street.

Look to Wigan.

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