The Stourbridge News has teamed up with Dudley Council and partners to help launch the ‘Forging a Future for all’ Awards. The 12 awards will reward people and organisations who are leading the way in forging a future for all in the Dudley borough.

Towns are more than just shows – they’re places people want to visit for a whole host of reasons, a senior business leader says.

Eve O’Connor, Halesowen Chamber of Trade Secretary and a Director of the Halesowen Businesses Improvement District, says we cannot rely on retail alone to make thriving centres.

Eve is also a lead on the Dudley borough Vision which aims to look at how to create bustling town centres and positive neighbourhoods by 2030.

Key partners including businesses, police, education, health and Dudley Council are all working together on the project which over the next 12 years will identify the detail behind some of the ambitions to make them a reality.

Eve’s key focus is on making sure the borough is home to vibrant towns and neighbourhoods offering a new mix of leisure, faith cultural, residential and shopping uses.

Key to that is to bring people to the towns for more than weekly shopping. Eve believes the borough’s centres offer an exciting opportunity to bring together people from all communities and develop a sense of civic pride again.

Eve O’Connor, said: “My view of the vision is that we need our borough town centres to be flourishing and vibrant places that people want to visit for a multitude of reasons, we cannot rely on retail therefore to increase footfall we need to look at making them a place.

“Towns must ensure place making is undertaken to ensure growth and development. This can be achieved by offering a new mix of leisure, faith, cultural, residential and alternative shopping uses, also town centres must have strong cohesive communities with diverse cultures working in partnerships to bring social transformation and take ownership and develop civic pride.

“The vision is that the town centres in the borough of Dudley are places where people are proud to live, work, shop and spend.”

Key partners from across the borough came together last week to launch the borough vision which focuses on seven ambitions. They are:

• An affordable and attractive place to live with a green network of high quality parks, waterways and nature reserves that are valued by local people and visitors

• A place where everybody has the education and skills they need, and where outstanding local schools, colleges and universities secure excellent results for their learners

• A place of healthy, resilient, safe communities with high aspirations and the ability to shape their own future

• Better connected with high quality and affordable transport, combining road, tram, rail, and new cycling and walking infrastructure

• Renowned as home to a host of innovative and prosperous businesses, operating in high quality locations with space to grow, sustainable energy supplies and investing in their workforce

• A place to visit and enjoy that drives opportunity, contributing to its ambitious future while celebrating its pioneering past

• Full of vibrant towns and neighbourhoods offering a new mix of leisure, faith cultural, residential and shopping uses

To nominate someone for an award visit