Our towns have always been a crucial part of everyday life in Wales, playing a significant but often underrated role in driving economic development and providing the context for businesses to grow and thrive. During the Covid-19 crisis, with lockdown measures reducing our physical exposure to a wider area, our local communities have become essential support to our social and economic wellbeing and helping individuals and businesses through the crisis.
Towns are where we access public services, from GP surgeries to libraries or foundational economy businesses like childcare. Businesses are a key part of what makes a town tick in the good times and the bad.
Many town centre businesses such as butchers, bakers and grocery stores have adapted their businesses to help vulnerable or shielded people get their essentials delivered to their door. They have remained open, in difficult circumstances, and provided a measure of community resilience.
As we exit lockdown and restrictions ease, our towns will need to play a different role to that which they have played in the past. Previously, increasing footfall was a sign of a healthy high street, now towns will need to be smarter and more cohesive to support their broader community.