Power to Change’s CEO joins High Streets Task Force Board

As our beleaguered high streets stand at a critical crossroads, Power to Change’s CEO, Vidhya Alakeson, joins the High Streets Task Force Board to help shape a new future for our urban centres.

The High Streets Task Force is an alliance of eleven place-making experts led by Task Force Chair, Mark Robinson, Co-Founder of developers Ellanidi. It was set-up by the government in 2019 as part of its Plan for the High Street and in response to the High Streets Expert Panel recommendations. Its role is to strengthen local leadership in high streets and town centres in England and provide information, advice, training, knowledge and data that will help people make a positive difference to their local communities.

Vidhya joins the Task Force as an original member of the High Street Expert Panel. Commenting on her appointment to the Task Force Board, Vidhya said: “The High Streets Task Force is an important alliance that is driving forward much needed change for our high streets and urban centres.

“It’s a privilege to join its board, particularly at this time when the decline of the high street is entering a new, accelerated phase as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Empowering communities through increased social trading and ownership is integral to building a new, more resilient high street of the future and I’m delighted to bring that perspective.”

Vidhya joins the Task Force at the same time as Ibrahim Ibrahim, Managing Director of Portland Design. Ibrahim Ibrahim is the Managing Director of Portland Design, a leading strategic branding and retail design business focused on future readiness. He has over 30 years’ experience including leading projects in retail design, commercial masterplanning, mixed use developments and urban regeneration.

Mark Robinson, High Streets Task Force Chair, said: “In Vidhya and Ibrahim, I’m delighted that the High Streets Task Force welcomes two individuals that are dedicated to sustainable, inclusive and successful town centres. With their respective organisations they have led inspirational change and are at the vanguard of a progressive vision for high streets; one that is representative of local communities and ready to adapt to emerging ways of living.

“COVID-19 has presented major challenges to the future of high streets, but it is also a chance to reimagine them. Vidhya and Ibrahim will be part of that work on the Task Force Board.”

The High Streets Task Force has supported place leaders to react to the impact of COVID-19 and has just completed a series of six support webinars for local authorities and leaders, providing advice on high street transformation to over 1,000 place managers. Later this year the Task Force will begin delivering direct help to locations around England with on-the-ground expertise and support, building on the online resources and advice it has published since the beginning of the lockdown period.