Helston Awaits Portas Pilot Results
By Em_Williams | Thursday, May 10, 2012, 22:18
It's been just over a month since Helston submitted its bid to become a Portas Pilot and by the end of May we should know whether or not we've been successful. Although there's no way of predicting the outcome, if the reaction to Helston's video part of the application is anything to go by we could be in with a shot.
Helston's Towneoke is the most watched Portas Pilot video on YouTube
The Towneoke video, which sees a number of people in Helston singing along to the song Keep on Movin' by boy band Five, has already notched up well over ten thousand views on YouTube. That's more than any other Portas Pilot video in the country. It's also been singled out for praise by Mary Portas herself. Not only has she mentioned it on Twitter, but when being interviewed by The Herald in Scotland for the launch of her new women's and homewear collection, she actually started singing along to the song (read the whole Herald article here).
Town Manager Jonathan Birkett is delighted by the response saying: "It's way bigger than we thought it would be. The success of the video has meant Helston's been mentioned nationally and with Mary herself commenting on it and singing the song, we couldn't ask for anymore than that."
That, he says, was all part of the strategy: "The brief for the video was that it had to support our application. I knew that would be directly interpreted by many of our competitors to show how bad the situation is, so our approach was to show our personality. For me, it was about what you should be seeing when you search for Helston online. It should show you how great and exciting it is to be here, you should be hearing about Flora Day, about our businesses, our community and our town centre in a positive light. It's tough out there but it's not all doom and gloom. People want to come to a place that's friendly and welcoming and I think the video shows that."
Rating Helston's chances of becoming a Portas Pilot Mr Birkett adds: "We're quietly confident as we feel we couldn't have done any more but it is incredibly competitive. There are a lot of other good applications out there and there's a lot of people who need the money as high streets across the country are struggling."
Should Helston not be chosen though, that doesn't mean it's the end of the road. The government has aready announced a second application process to find a further twelve towns so we would be able to apply again. With the first round results expected within the next three weeks it's now just a case of watch this space.