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Re:Imagine hailed as pioneers of Community Spirit as they land top UK retail award

26 September 2022

The Re:Imagine pop up shop initiative have claimed one of the top awards in UK retail at the 2022 Drapers Independent Awards in London.

The store in Derry’s Foyleside Shopping Centre this week received the Community Champion Award which seeks to recognise collaborative retail projects who have innovatively supported each other and their local community.

The Re:Imagine initiative is a pilot programme consisting of 11 traders who won a competition to take up residence and showcase their products in prime retail space in Derry and Strabane.

Drapers Award Judges described Re:Imagine as a 'quite brilliant, wonderful concept and a true community champion'.

They were impressed at its approach to reviving the local community and economy, with one judge saying its practices should be 'a template rolled out across high streets everywhere'.

Deirdre Williams from the Fashion Textile and Design Centre received the award along with Foyleside Centre Manager Fergal Rafferty, Re:Imagine Trader Catriona Hutton from Koto Candles and Leeann Doherty from Council's Business Support team at this week's presentation at Grosvenor House in London.

"We are over the moon to receive this award which is just recognition for the brilliant way our stakeholders and traders have worked together to drive the Re:Imagine project forward," she said.

"From the start, the aim of the project was to create an environment to allow the brands to reach the next level in their development and to see that vision come to fruition is truly gratifying for everyone involved.

"The public have got behind the project by visiting the store in high numbers and to now have the backing from the retail industry at the highest level is the icing on the cake.

"I want to thank and congratulate all our partners and traders for their dedicated work in launching and managing the shop which has 'Re:Imagined' the high street with local, sustainable and organic products and clothes."

The Re:Imagine project is an element of a new Start Up Accelerator Programme being delivered by Derry City and Strabane District Council, Enterprise North West and Strabane Enterprise Agency with support from BID in Strabane.

The Fashion and Textile Design Centre (FTDC) is responsible for the design, delivery and management of the Re:Imagine pop up shop and have supported the brands through every stage of the process.

Head of Business at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Kevin O'Connor, explained the thinking behind the initiative.

"The purpose of the pop up shops is to 'Re:Imagine' the high street and the use of empty spaces,” he said.

"It seeks to take a fresh look at how they source with ethical practices and local involvement to give a new shopping experience to customers through local events.

"The traders have worked well together to create a unique and innovative retail experience and this award is just recognition for their dedicated efforts."

The other shortlisted candidates for the Community Champion title were Humes Outfitters in Scotland and Jon Ian in Cardiff, Wales.

The full list of winners of the awards can be viewed at drapersonline.com.
For more details about how Derry City and Strabane District Council's Business Support team can help existing, start up and prospective businesses visit derrystrabane.com/businesssupport