"Suffering, failing, depressed, declining." Many things have been said about the UK's high streets recently, with a number of initiatives kick-started to help stem the decline.
But what does the next generation think of the high streets? Surely to really protect the future of these community spaces, we should be asking them?
And it's with this in mind that somewhereto_ (an Innovation in Giving and Big Lottery funded project) is launching its summer campaign, somewhereto_ re:store [the high street heist].
Utilising the UK's two most underused resources: young people and space, somewhereto_, is empowering and supporting 16-25 year olds to take over disused shop spaces across the UK.
The campaign kicked off in London on Thursday 18th July, in East Street, Southwark, with further spaces opening in Glasgow, Cardiff, Bangor, Northern Ireland and Manchester. Alongside these main hubs, satellite activity will broaden the opportunity to those located further afield.
Throughout the summer months young people will be encouraged to take up a residency in any of the shops, showcasing their talents, ideas, enterprises and ambitions to their local community and in turn the whole country.
Supported by a research commission into young people's attitudes to their community spaces and local high streets, somewhereto_ re:store will bring an explosion of new energy and optimism and allow young people the chance to join the conversation about their local spaces.
To find out more about this campaign and in turn, the wider work of somewhereto_, please visit www.somewhereto.com/restore.
Kate Harwood is a project manager for Somewhereto_