Major retailers have pledged their support to the Portas Pilot schemes by offering up representatives to help the town teams involved in the projects.

The Co-operative Group, Boots UK, Marks & Spencer and Wilkinson are among those offering High Street Champions as part of an initiative unveiled by the charity Business in the Community today.

Each of the 27 pilot towns are trialling initiatives to revive their high streets following high street guru Mary Portas’ report to Government last year.

Under the scheme, High Street Champions will typically be an individual working for the company at local level such as a store manager or branch manager who has been nominated by their company. 

At the same time the High Street Champion will consult with a number of experts in middle and senior management in their firm to provide further support for town teams.

Each of the High Street Champion companies is part of the High Streets Taskforce. It is hoped that their work will become a sustainable model for the regeneration of High Streets that other towns across the UK can replicate.

Portas said: “No one said the regeneration of high streets would be easy, there are no quick fixes, it takes teamwork with all stakeholders working to a common goal. So I am delighted big businesses are taking social responsibility and becoming pillars of the community, giving invaluable support and advice as well demonstrating good citizenship.”

Alliance Boots health and beauty chief executive Alex Gourlay said: “We believe in the importance of strong local high streets as a key driver for the future of retail in the UK. There has never been a more important time for Government and business to take an active interest in how local high streets are run and managed.

“The High Street Champion pilot is a new and exciting opportunity for businesses to support the regeneration of healthy high streets and communities.”