The Retail Enterprise Network (REN) is searching for independent retailers based in six UK high streets to take part in a project to reverse the decline of town centres.

Entitled AGORA, the £2.7m project is part funded by the European Social Fund’s Equal programme and aims to protect and revitalise town centres by strengthening community involvement in town centre management.

At present REN, in conjunction with the Association of Town Centre Management (ACTM), is looking for six UK high streets which are in decline to be featured in the 18-month scheme. The town centres of Stockport, Greater Manchester, and Havant, Hampshire have already been chosen to take part in the project, which will use training and development courses to enable independent businesses and groups to learn the skills necessary to make a lasting impact in their areas.

AGORA project director Cathy Parker said: “We are looking for people with a stake in the revitalisation of their town centre to come forward to take part in AGORA. “That may be the local newspaper, the local retail association or anyone who believes in their town’s future.”

Anyone who wants to take part can find out more on