In 2022 we took our PopUp Wales project to Bridgend. Working for Bridgend County Borough Council we piloted an approach intended to help rejuvenate Bridgend town centre with pop-up shops and activities as part of the the Council’s wider Elevate and Prosper (EAP) project, which was funded by the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund and the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns Fund.
What it has delivered
The project has provided opportunities from practical training for entrepreneurs, to festive workshops and live music. Since its launch, PopUp Wales Bridgend has supported over 30 small businesses and 20 voluntary organisations.
The PopUp Wales project is the first pop-up space (sometimes called ‘meanwhile space’) initiative of its kind in Wales and matches up temporary retail spaces with individuals and businesses who want a flexible, short-term, and affordable space to trial an idea.
It mirrors a pilot we have also undertaken in Swansea.
Local feedback celebrates its success
Local businesses and initiatives such as Tia Robbins Art, Bridgend College, and Wheely’s Café have all taken advantage of the scheme and are successfully operating in their new spaces. In total, over ten pop-ups have been matched to empty units in Bridgend town centre, along with 100 per cent grant funding being distributed to seven small businesses and one organisation.
Tia Robbins from Tia Robbins Art, said: “This has been a great opportunity and demonstrates that people really want to shop local.”
Rachel Bell, Centre Manager at the Rhiw Shopping Centre said: “The funding has been so positive. Having organisations such as Bridgend College in a space have made a huge difference to the Rhiw Shopping Centre. I genuinely hope that the initiative continues in 2023.”
Chris Pritchard from Wheely’s Cafe said: “PopUp Wales have been so brilliant and supportive, plus the events in the market have been great for business and should happen every weekend.”
Tara Tarapetian from Urban Foundry said: “We’ve loved working with Bridgend Indoor Market and The Rhiw Shopping Centre, as we have been able to provide new start-ups and organisations temporary spaces to test their business or idea risk-free, in a great location at the heart of Bridgend’s town centre. At the same time, the craft and music activities have really enhanced the vibrancy of the area and added something a bit different to the shopping experience.”
Cllr Neelo Farr, Cabinet Member for Regeneration said: “The PopUp Wales initiative has brought new life to Bridgend town centre, and we are really pleased to see such successes with the scheme. The scheme is a great way to trial a business idea and give enterprises the opportunity to showcase their diverse services to shoppers in Bridgend, as well as opportunities for training sessions to take place.”
If you are interested to find out more, please visit the PopUp Wales website.