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Great British High Street
By Bira

Is yours the best high street in the country?

The government-backed Great British High Street Awards, which aim to celebrate the best retailing communities across the UK, have been revived this year after last being run in 2016.

The bira-backed GBHS Awards, which began in 2014, have been relaunched with support from Visa after last year’s break.

At the official launch on 20 June, government officials encouraged the public and local businesses to get behind their local high streets in order to “drive local economies, share success stories and empower local leadership, and create community pride”. Past president Vin Vara attended the launch for bira.

Alan Hawkins said, “We are really happy to support these awards, which will shine a light on how important our high streets are to local communities, as well as celebrate the wonderful and resilient retailers on them.”

The categories cover the Champion Award, which identifies the best high streets by country. In all, 26 will be shortlisted, with one winner each from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Rising Star Award is for the most ambitious high street by country (three per nation shortlisted, one winner from each nation). The High Street of the Year accolade goes to the winner.

Applications will be judged on four pillars of success: Community, Customer Experience, Environment, and Digital Transformation. Entrants for the Champion Award will be judged across all four pillars. Entrants for the Rising Star award will be able to select a pillar against which to enter an initiative.  Applications will be awarded bonus points for an entry that clearly demonstrates Leadership, Impact, and/or Innovation.

A centrepiece of this year’s activities will be a Great British High Street Week on the week commencing 16 July. Entries for the awards close on 15 August and the shortlist of contenders will be announced on 10 September. Public voting closes on 31 October and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in November.

The GBHS website state: “The GBHS Awards recognises and celebrates local achievements on our high streets and supports the communities in which we live and work. The high street is the life and soul of communities across Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and is crucial in creating jobs, nurturing small businesses and driving local and regional economies. People are looking for a range of experiences on the high street, from shopping to leisure services; the most successful high streets offer a unique experience that people cannot get anywhere else.

High Street of the Year awards went to Belper in Derbyshire (2014), Bishy Road, York (2015) and Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire (People’s Choice 2016).

For more details on how to enter, visit

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