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Photography by Joe Almond

Society presents proposals to boost number of students visiting town during day

Members of a Loughborough University society have come up with a host of proposals to encourage students to use the town centre during the day.

The ideas, more than 20 in total, were the result of a creative workshop staged by Design School students who are members of TADA (That Awesome Design Association).

They presented them to Love Loughborough, an organisation funded by town centre businesses, and hope some will be implemented.

Kate Saunders, an Industrial Design student who helped found TADA last year, said the half day event had been a success.

She added: “One of the reasons we did this is because students don’t spend as much time in town as they perhaps could do. We are, hopefully, trying to change that.

“I loved it. It’s nice because we put a month to two month’s work into working with Love Loughborough and some other stakeholders. It’s nice that it can be successful and all the students seemed to enjoy it.

“All of them found something new, like cafes they would like to go back to. It surprised them and opened their eyes a bit.”

The brief for the creative workshop, which involved 20 students, was, ‘How can students be encouraged to use the town centre during the day?’

Kate says that while students visit the town centre at night they tend to avoid it during the day. Many felt that Sainsbury’s was a barrier to the rest of the town because students tend to park their bikes there and go no further.

One idea was to introduce better bike parking in the centre.

Others included the provision of a café/bar where students can study and which could be used for comedy/band nights, encouraging societies to interact with locals, a campus notice board promoting town centre events, and creating distinct zones relevant to different interests, like shopping and nightlife.

The students were given talks by representatives from Love Loughborough, Kerching, a retail marketing and consultancy firm, the Design Council, and university senior lecturer Cathy Hart, who was an advisor to the ‘Love Loughborough Partnership’ campaign which was successful in its 2012 bid to become a Portas Pilot town.

They then split into groups and headed to the town centre before returning to the university for a brainstorming session, which resulted in the proposals that were sent to Love Loughborough.

Kate said: “Love Loughborough will sort through the ideas and present them to their board to see if there’s anything that can be implemented.”

This was the second event TADA have organised under the banner ‘Local Fix’, the first being a venture to help a local pizzeria design the interior for a new restaurant.