Apprentice TV star reveals her plan to transform Doncaster town centre

Frances Bishop, former Apprentice contestant, who runs the Pud store at Waterdale, Doncaster. Picture: Marie Caley
Frances Bishop, former Apprentice contestant, who runs the Pud store at Waterdale, Doncaster. Picture: Marie Caley

A Doncaster businesswoman who shot to fame on the TV show The Apprentice is set to regenerate Doncaster town centre - for a day.

Fran Bishop, who appeared on Lord Sugar's reality show and made the top three, has teamed up with the landlords of the Waterdale Centre to set up a scheme which will transform the privately owned shopping centre on Tuesday.

She said she and centre manager Rebecca Berry made the arrangements for a family fun day at the Waterdale Centre in a few hours, and is urging more similar schemes in the town centre to transform it and bring more people back.

The one-off day on Tuesday August 28, will see empty units at the shopping centre filled with activities and stalls, with family entertainment and small businesses using the space.

Parking charges have been scrapped for the day at the Waterdale car park as part of the plan.

Ms Bishop, who runs the Pud children's clothes store at the centre, said she thought action was more important than meetings and social media sites which drew attention to the issue of antisocial behaviour in the town centre.

She said: "I started ringing around at 11am on Monday morning. I feel that there are too many meetings and too much discussion on social media about problems that are going to put people off coming into the town centre.

"It feels like there are too many people who like the sound of their own voices.

"We need to look after the high street, and we need people coming to the town centre.

"I think the people of Doncaster will react better to this, and I think we're able to do it because its a private landlord who owns the centre.

"We're standing up and doing something.

"We're trying to show what the town centre could be like, with full units and entertainment. I think this is what people want and I think we should be doing more like this."

She said businesses who she had phoned had been keen to get involved.

As part of the family fun day, there will be three face painters, and two bouncy castles, housed within shop units on Waterdale, and free frozen drinks, candy floss, popcorn, and balloons, and four Disney-style princesses provided by a local party entertainment agency.

One of the largest empty units will be filled with independent stalls operated by businesses from the Doncaster post code area. There will also be food stalls and talks are ongoing with a firm who would provide reptiles for people to see.

There will also be football sessions, and a disco in the sheltered area below the Lovers statue.

The family fun day will run from 11am until 4pm.