A New Business Model?


UnLtd want to create a future where enterprising people are transforming our world for good. They are involved with us in Newcastle. Click here for the story


Human Nature Escapes -  caught by CounterCoin

Human Nature Escapes connect people to nature as a means to ‘escape’ – inspiring a sense of wellbeing. They are a ‘profit for purpose’ social enterprise – investing all profits back into serving the  community. Check out what they say about Counter Coin.

human nature escapes.jpg

Read what they had to say here 

CREDEX creates CounterCoin credence!

Credex Business Credit Network takes a look at HomeTown Plus and CounterCoin


Click here to read more


York Place in the press

 Go to The Sentinel by clicking  here

Go to The Sentinel by clicking here

The Stoke Sentinel reporting

Hometown Plus is doing great things for the local community.

York Place Shopping Centre, in Newcastle, has been struggling to retain business for around 10 years after it fell further and further into disrepair.

But now, having been commissioned by Riddell TPS, regeneration consultancy Hometown Plus has given the arcade a new lease of life.

The company is committed to social and economic regeneration – on an ambitious scale – and is demonstrating how an underused shopping centre can be re-conceived as a new destination for business and community development.

This is something which the company believes is crucial to the regeneration of the town as a whole – and the region.

Paul Bradbury, manager at Gamepad and a long-standing tenant at York Place, said: “I’ve seen first-hand the shopping centre’s steady decline over the years. Investment in new arcade flooring and lighting has given the place a real lift.

“I think that with the new arrival of Keele University students in the town centre, the re-development of the Ryecroft site, reinvigoration of Newcastle market and re-purposing the Guildhall, our town’s time could be coming again.”

Hometown Plus has also introduced its innovative ‘CounterCoin’ scheme in a further bid to revitalise the York Place Shopping Centre.

The token trading system will be used as the catalyst to inspire people to volunteer at community and charity events, in return for rewards. For every hour volunteered, that person will earn five CounterCoins with a total equivalent value of £5 worth of discounts – which can be spent at specific outlets within the town centre.

Rewards can be redeemed at places including milkshake shop Hippy Hippy Shake, Limelight Lanes Bowling Alley and Laser Quest.

Mike Riddell, director at Hometown Plus, said: “The intention is to get more people involved in their local community, and increase footfall at shops and businesses. In short, Hometown Plus are also hoping to make it the start of a ‘contribution revolution’ to eliminate waste.”

Hometown Plus has now entered The Sentinel Business Awards , in the Business in the Community category, sponsored by Synectics Solutions.

Mike explained how the company has ambitious plans for the future, with plans to develop its CointerCoin initiative further.

He added: “We’re now further developing existing relationships and building new connections with brands, employers and the education sector. This is in a bid to offer our volunteers a wider range of volunteering opportunities and a more diverse reward scheme; as well as bridging connections to Hanley.”



Recognition that York Place Shopping Centre is a fair place to work for people and planet

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Mike with the team from the YMCA

Innovative place-based regeneration specialists Hometown Plus today announced they have been awarded the Fairplace Award, the prestigious ethical workplace accreditation run by leading UK property charity, the Ethical Property Foundation.

The fairplace Award ® - developed in partnership with the property industry - allows businesses to demonstrate practical commitment to people, local community and planet. The York Place Shopping Centre in Newcastle-under-Lyme, run by Hometown Plus and Riddell TPS on behalf of the landlord, is the latest accreditation for this new Award which is fast gaining respect across the property industry. www.fairplaceaward.com

Mike Riddell, Managing Director of Hometown Plus, says “I am delighted to have secured this accreditation, which gives independent validation of our approach to revitalising this once-failing shopping centre. Our partnership with the YMCA as a new anchor tenant has allowed us to use wasted space in ways that benefit local people and strengthen the community by delivering a wide range of daily events for everyone. We are now working with our tenants to further improve the shopping centre as a place that is good for people, communities and our planet.”

The project recently reached a further milestone by launching the centre's CounterCoins - a new currency designed by local young people that will be used as the catalyst to inspire people to volunteer at community and charity events, in return for rewards. For every hour volunteered, the volunteer will earn five CounterCoins with a total value of £5 - which can be spent at outlets within the town centre. 

Paul Collins, Manager of Newcastle-under-Lyme’s Business Improvement District (BID) says “The news that York Place has become the first ever shopping centre to be accredited with the fairplace Award is fantastic for Newcastle-under-Lyme; it shows the commitment of Hometown Plus and Riddell TPS to revitilising this once run-down shopping centre. The BID engages in a range of great working partnerships, supporting plans including new projects and activities in the shopping centre that help to increase the popularity of the town centre.”

"At a time when businesses must demonstrate they are part of wider society, fairplace is a comprehensive accreditation which aligns good ethics with best practice across Finance, Procurement, HR, and Facilities Management as part of core business planning.” says Ethical Property Foundation Chief Executive Antonia Swinson.  “This is our first shopping centre to achieve the Award – an exciting first!”

All income from the Fairplace Award supports the charitable work of the Ethical Property Foundation which provides property advice to charities and community groups. The Foundation is preferred supplier of land and property advice to the Charity Commission.  

National News!

Big piece in the Guardian, click here to read it


FM World highlights YP Ethical Workplace 

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Facilities Management World magazine has featured York Place Shopping Centre in this article published last week.

Taking on the big boys - 01/10/17

Every three weeks or so in the winter, the country looks to football for an FA Cup story. Not least because of the chance of glory for the little teams, the game's grassroots. Each year in the autumn, the gaming community embraces football with the launch of a new FIFA and it's associated fanfare.


This season, The Gamepad in York Place made the most of an away draw at 'The Place To Be' to pull off a giant killing of its own. Several consoles and various sized screens were set up to allow Newcastle's FIFA fans to get in on the action before the game went on sale at midnight last Friday.


While supporters of the bigger outlets were forced to queue all night at the turnstiles, local gamers enjoyed match day hospitality courtesy of the YMCA and Gamepad manager Paul Bradbury with the opportunity to play before the official release and purchase the product as soon as time allowed .


Paul is already planning his next events; Star Wars Battle Front 2 in November and a Retro games night in December. He encourages anyone with ideas about running games nights to get in touch as he’s keen to build a gaming community in and around The Place to Be at York Place Shopping Centre in Newcastle.


Good People Needed

By Mike Riddell, 24th September 2017

Would you like to join a new company board focused on facilitating and rewarding social action for community and business benefit?

We'd like to chat possibilities with strategic and operational development work and a possible gift of shares in mind. Pioneering and resilient spirits with principles, values and a keen sense of social responsibility should definitely get in touch. 

Forget Silicon Valley: the North West’s city regions can become era-defining sharing economies


HomeTownPlus’ Mike Riddell makes the case for the sharing economy to boom in its rightful home- the birthplace of the industrial revolution and the home of cooperatives; the North West.

In Silicon Valley, San Francisco, billions of dollars have been poured into a handful of tech start-ups, most notably Airbnb and Uber – that have made their fortunes despite owning no hotels or taxis- but instead creating businesses based on people creating and sharing goods of value to them.

The media were drawn to these organisations, and they soon became synonymous with the sharing economy.

However, as the money rolled in, the communitarian element rolled out. Exploiting peer providers, purposely breaking regulations, strong-arming local governments, and unethical competitive tactics became the norm. The very thing that earned these start-ups traction in the first place — how they recast relationships between strangers in radically constructive terms — was sacrificed to growth. Instead, they became a particularly aggressive extension of business as usual.

Despite these disappointing examples, the real sharing economy has not disappeared. The sudden explosion of this economy may have had its growing pains, but this new wave of creating wealth presents inventive and creative opportunities for Merseyside and Greater Manchester to become the world’s first city regions that develop a platform for sharing- where its citizens, governments and markets work together to promote sharing and the common good. 

Our city regions are in the best place to take advantage of an era-defining opportunity for us, once again, to lead the world in economic development. One that fundamentally transforms the way our people create value.

We have increasing evidence of the positive outcomes that a sharing economy approach can produce to revive a dying shopping centre in Newcastle-under-Lyme and are identifying sites to roll out the approach here in the North West.

Imagine an economy based on solidarity. An economy that is future-proofed through car-sharing, bike-sharing, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, co-working, co-housing, open government, participatory budgeting, hackerspaces and more. 

It doesn't have to be an idealistic view of how society can work, it is happening in pockets across cities - we just need to make sure the people who can lead this change come together.

Want to find out more? Get in touch with Mike for a coffee and chat: Mike@hometownplus.co.uk 


During the last 30 years, Britain has undergone

dramatic socio-economic change

For some this has worked well – they have been able to embrace the changes around them and make them work to their advantage.  Many of our cities, for example, have been transformed by a combination of the concentration of digital and other businesses, investment in infrastructure and a revival of inner city living.  But there have been huge swathes of the population for whom the change has damaged much of what they value and who now feel that they have been abandoned by society and government alike. 

Nowhere has this manifested itself more than in the old industrial heartlands, where more often than not the townsfolk were reliant for employment on a small number of large businesses, now long gone and unlikely ever to be replaced.  The community was often built around these industries and this too withered away simultaneously. 

The position has been exacerbated by the decline in town and shopping centres, previously thriving community hubs, but now hit hard by a combination of under investment, increased popularity of online shopping and the pull of large out of town shopping centres.  These towns have also seen in some cases an influx of residents for whom the area is not their historic hometown and who have yet to establish a sense of belonging. So today the Britain we see is one of contrasts – not just between the affluent South East and the rest of the country, but also between the cities which are forging a new and bright identity and the towns which have been left stranded in their wake.

If this situation is not addressed as a matter of urgency, the gap will get still wider.  The cities with their bars and restaurants, employment opportunities, excellent public transport and inner city housing will continue to attract those with money and talent whilst the towns will continue in the downward spiral which has left their centres derelict, job opportunities non existent and a large proportion of the population disaffected, disenfranchised and disillusioned.

Hometown Plus exists to redress the balance – to help the communities fight back, recover their identity, re-establish themselves and to help put local businesses and the general public back on the road to sustainable prosperity.

Find out more about our work to generate sustainable change for all stakeholders.