Innovative new project reveals Stockton High Street’s human side

An innovative new project designed to highlight the importance of our high streets has been unveiled in Stockton.

Humans of the High Street aims to document in real terms the thoughts and feelings of business owners during the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown.

The project, which took inspiration from a famous initiative in New York, is made up of a series of emotive videos filmed with the people who own and run shops, cafes and premises along the famous wide high street and surrounding area.

The videos can be seen here: www.youtube.com/channel/UC0uFhYnxPe64zJ418tvm6uw/

Running across multiple digital platforms including YouTube and social media, the videos document the business owners’ thoughts and feelings about the current situation and just how they have coped with it.

Plans include rolling Humans of the High Street out to radio and TV as well as having a presence on the High Street itself.

Stockton Business Improvement District (BID) is behind the project, which was developed by Stockton-based creative brand agency OOK. Together, they have been promoting ‘The Future is Local’ project to encourage more people to come and see what Stockton High Street has to offer.

The Humans of the High Street project is part of that and will help shine a spotlight on the wealth of independent shops, businesses and services in Stockton.

Jason Maxwell, Stockton BID manager, said: “This campaign should act as a catalyst to encourage us all to act and invest in our local businesses in the future.

“As a BID, our focus in on encouraging long term-use of the High Street and to do that we have to look at innovative ways of responding to an ever-changing landscape. We have some amazing businesses right here on our doorstep and we urge everyone to come and take a look at what Stockton has to offer.”

OOK, led by director Maxine Freer, developed the project. “For me, as the creative director on the Humans of the High Street project, it was really important that we didn’t just create another ‘shop local’ campaign that would blend in with all the others,” said Max.

“I wanted to create a campaign that captured the human aspect of the High Street, the essence and spirit of the community, people and place and to show that during Covid times, the smaller independent business people of Stockton High Street have demonstrated amazing strength in adverse circumstances.”

OOK managed a multi-disciplinary team on the project, collaborating with companies including Middlesbrough-based Wander Films to produce and edit the videos.

The list of businesses taking part includes Drake The Bookshop, Review, Hickson’s Motors, Stockton Modeller, Who-Ray, The Golden Smog, Jill’s Flowerbox, Slave to the Grind, Wags and Whiskers and Lu Lu’s.

Search for Humans of the High Street on YouTube Stockton BID_ The Future is Local to watch the videos and follow the progress of the project via www.stocktonbid.co.uk and Stockton BID’s social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.