Future came into being as the result of an initiative by the Fleet and Hart councils. We were established as a not-for-profit community group of local volunteers with a formal constitution and elected steering committee. The first objective of the team was to develop a plan to make Fleet a better place and document this in a Town Plan. This was to be evidenced based and then, as you are aware, confirmed by a formal consultation with the community. This plan was completed a year ago and we are now working on the actions described in that plan.

One of the objectives in the plan was to increase the vitality of the town centre. Here we have assisted in getting a number of initiatives off the ground. We helped get funding to enable the Food Festival to go ahead. The Fleet Film club was formed by one of our committee as a result of feedback from our consultation process. The Fashion Week initiative came about as a result of some analysis and survey work we did on the high street, followed by meeting with a group of retailers. We've also helped the Fashion Week team with getting funding from Fleet Town Council, and Fleet Future will be providing cashier services for the project via our bank account and also insuring the Fashion Show catwalk models.
We're hoping the Fashion Week will be a great success and that we can use the same techniques to get similar retailer-led events off the ground. We're running a brainstorming round-robin right now. Other potential activities for the future include updating the town centre benchmark which we ran in conjunction with Action for Market Towns back in 2012.

Another recommendation in our report was to develop an identity for Fleet i.e. establish a Fleet brand. This had a high level of support from local businesses so we ran a workshop for retailers, local businesses and community members to start the project. This was run by a branding consultant funded by Hart District Council. This led onto a design competition for local design agencies to come up with ideas for logos etc.. Again, the judging for this involved retail, business, community and council representatives. Next we will start the process to roll this out.

Other activities we have undertaken have been less exciting (to some!). We have produced reports on business rates and also on parking, both topics that concern our local community. These have been submitted to the councils and at the recent Hart Cabinet one of our recommendations was agreed: the implementation of Pay-on-Exit at Church Road car park. As a web master you'll also be pleased to hear that we have commissioned a design company to redesign and help redevelop our web site - much overdue!

for more information visit www.fleetfuture.com

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