EACH of the Vale’s four town centres are set sparkle this festive season thanks to additional funding from the Vale council.

The funding, awarded to each of the four town councils aims to support projects that provide an economic stimulus.

High streets in the Vale and across the UK are facing increased challenges such as competition from online retailers and higher costs.

Christmas is a critical time in the retail industry, with evidence suggesting that up to 70 per cent of trading is done in the run up to the festive season.

There is pressure on our towns to attract footfall during this critical time so the council has decided to commit resources to make sure that the experience of shopping is a festive one.

The Vale council's regeneration team worked with each of the town councils to identify opportunities to invest this funding, with Christmas lights coming out top of the list.

Christmas lights are often rented, but this funding has allowed lights to be purchased and used in future years.

Vale council, cabinet member for regeneration and education. Lis Burnett said: “Our High Streets are facing unprecedented challenges and so supporting

"Christmas lights and events reaches far deeper than just making our retail areas pretty during the Christmas period.

"Supporting our traders by encouraging people to shop here and keep their Christmas spending within the Vale is vitally important as it helps to create and safeguard jobs for the local economy.”

New lighting installations will be celebrated through a series of events in the run up to Christmas. Cowbridge, Llantwit Major and Penarth’s installations will illuminate the main retail areas, and Barry will see festive illuminations on the High Street, Park Crescent, Holton Road and King Square.

This scheme is one element of a much wider initiative made available through Welsh Government funding.

The Vale council was successful in securing a share of the £20m made available by the Welsh Government for funding through the economic stimulus fund.

Full details of each of the town’s festive light switch on and Christmas events can be found at visitthevale.com

Penarth Christmas light switch on is on Sunday, November 17.

Barry Christmas market and light switch on, in Holton Road, is on Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23.

High Street, Barry, Christmas light switch on is on Friday, November 29.