On 23rd January UnLtd held their first event since the announcement of the collaboration between themselves and Local Trust.
Held in the spectacular setting of the Conservatory Terrace at the Barbican Centre, the event attracted social entrepreneurs from all parts of England, Wales and Scotland.
The event was part celebration of successes so far reflecting on social entrepreneurs who have served their communities with projects such as community gardens, community cinemas, supporting ex-offenders and much more.
But the key theme was celebrating here and now and building excitement for the future with more areas coming online and 500 more awards in the pipeline.
The direction of social entrepreneurs was also considered, and it was acknowledged that they are now moving into even bigger projects such as green spaces.
The keynote speaker was Lord Andrew Mawson OBE who describes himself as a serial social entrepreneur, best known for founding the Bromley by Bow Centre in East London, the Community Action Network, Poplar Harca (social housing company) and Leaside Regeneration.
Lord Mawson’s speech focused on doing and not debating. He used the metaphor of the hot air over Brexit discussions in Government getting in the way with getting on with the job in hand.
In fact, Government was mentioned more than once with his suggestion that we should “Be bold and not follow Government. Governments come and go.”
The afternoon moved on to workshops from experienced and successful entrepreneurs who offered their experiences to motivate the audiences. These workshops included inspirational speakers from –
After another break-out session for conversations and discussion to generate innovative ideas, everyone came back together to hear from the key speaker Erik Paul Howard.
Erik, who came from Detroit especially for the event is co-founder of Inside Southwest Detroit, Young Nation, and The Alley Project in southwest Detroit. He shared with us anecdotes and inspiring words about how he combines his passions for youth and community development with his love of photography. Through cultural and place-based activities such as lowriding and street art, Erik has been building with neighbours and youth in southwest Detroit for over 20 years.
It was an extremely powerful and at times emotional event. Without doubt, everyone left with new ideas and refreshed and enthused about their local projects.
sound bites from the day
“Ordinary people doing extraordinary things, showing what can happen if you give people resources, support, time”
“Social entrepreneurs are driven by making a real difference and not necessarily following rules”
“We can’t do it if it’s not driven by the local voice”
Mark Norbury “We are creating an ecosystem to grow, all driven by the neighbourhood – listening to local people about what they really need. We’re building hope and creating communities.”
“Entrepreneurs should focus on the mechanics and detail not the ‘hot air”
“Look up into the machinery of government from the perspective of community to understand how best to support place says Lord Andrew Mawson”
“Social entrepreneurs see a problem and want to do something about it. They are fuelled by passion… Government can’t sort *every* problem. We all need to solve problems too. Take responsibility.”
“Get behind people not process”
“The only opinion I care about are the people who live here”
“Councils ask how did the The Bevy manage to get 200 people to donate £10? Answer, because it’s a real grass roots project”
“Social Entrepreneurs fill in the gaps in the community”
“The reason that residents, students and academics can come together for a meeting at The Bevy is because it is a pub”
“Work with people not at people”
“The way to big things is the through the small things”
You need a wide range of partners, funding and resources to create #social change”
“Get rich and go to heaven”
“Social enterprises are best at operating where individuals, community & business interests intersect”
“It doesn’t matter where you are. It’s all about participating, communicating with people, knowing your assets and feeling empowered about your future”
“We need a holistic approach, using community assets as a toolbox to support specific community needs.”
“Unlikely relationships unleash outcomes and opportunities”
“Social enterprise isn’t a magic money tree- it needs a whole range of approaches, funding, and support”
“Frequency and depth of unlikely relationships that arise as a result of the work”
Revive & Thrive is always pleased to receive and share stories about social entrepreneurs such as this one from media partners, UnLtd –
UnLtd and Local Trust have announced £2.8m will be invested in building sustainable and socially-beneficial local economic growth in communities around England as part of a new support offer.
Social entrepreneurs are improving their local communities across the UK, working hard to respond to specific challenges in their areas. In a new partnership, UnLtd, Local Trust and 19 Big Local areas will be working together to accelerate social enterprise and increase local job creation over a three-year co-funded support programme.
The 19 areas taking part span a wide range of communities, including rural areas, new towns, market towns, suburbs and cities. All of them are part of the Big Local programme, a unique initiative that provides £1m and a package of support to each of 150 areas in England. Each of the areas put forward a proposal to UnLtd outlining their ambition to strengthen local social enterprise, and the selection panel also drew on UnLtd’s energy index, which measures social entrepreneurial activity in a neighbourhood.
The 19 participating areas are:
London and the South East:
Bountagu Big Local, in Enfield
St James St Big Local, in Walthamstow
William Morris Big Local, in Walthamstow
South Bermondsey Big Local, in Southwark
Riverside Community, in Essex
Dover Big Local, in Kent
Par Bay Big Local, in Cornwall
St Peter’s and The Moors Big Local, in Cheltenham
Whitleigh Big Local, in Plymouth
Birchfield Big Local, in Birmingham
Palfrey, in Walsall
North: Big Local Central Jarrow
Little Hulton Big Local, in Salford
Collyhurst Big Local, in Manchester
Sale West Big Local, in Greater Manchester
Barrowcliff Big Local, in Scarborough
Greatfield Big Local, in Hull
Tang Hall Big Local, in York
Keighley Valley Big Local, in West Yorkshire
Social entrepreneurs are uniquely well-placed to create change in their local areas because they deeply understand the problems facing their communities. The new partnership will support Big Local areas who are working to make their places even better, boosting confidence and inspiring other local people to tackle the challenges that matter to them.
With support from UnLtd, each Big Local area will be able to:
Access an annual grant fund of more than £16,000 in each area
Get dedicated help and support from UnLtd staff to unlock people’s potential and support the growth of social ventures in the area.
Forge new connections with local decision makers, government and investor communities, to create a culture where social entrepreneurs can thrive.
The three partners are contributing equal financial support, with UnLtd, Local Trust and each of the 19 Big Local areas providing £50,000 towards the project for the next 3 years, with work starting in January 2018.
In York, UnLtd will be working with Tang Hall Big Local to support social entrepreneurs like Sue Williamson, who founded Tang Hall SMART to fill a void in her community after the local school closed.
Using her experience as a teacher and skills as a musician, she gives vulnerable people the chance to be involved in a community, enjoy themselves and participate in music and the music industry. As her venture has grown she has begun to offer employment to other local people who have been farthest from the labour market and launched her own record label.
Sue is one of a collective of social entrepreneurs in the area working to provide resident-led services that benefit local people, from pre-school & Yorkey dads’ cookery to all-inclusive riding classes from ages 18 months to seniors.
Mark Norbury, UnLtd CEO said: “We are living in increasingly turbulent times; economically, culturally and socially. The social challenges we face have no easy answers, but Local Trust and UnLtd understand that the solutions lie with social entrepreneurs who have the spark and commitment to change their community for the better. We must invest in the energy, talent and ideas in these local people and communities. This partnership will enable them to have a voice, create opportunities and build confidence so that they become fairer, more optimistic and resilient communities. There’s lots of hard work to come, but we’re looking forward to rising to this challenge.”
Matt Leach, Local Trust Chief Executive, said: “Residents involved in Big Local have a brilliant track record of finding imaginative ways to meet local needs. We’re delighted to renew our partnership with UnLtd and offer further support to Big Local areas that are harnessing local entrepreneurial spirit to explore and develop new social enterprises.”
This work is part of a wider focus for UnLtd on building resilient communities, through harnessing the power of social entrepreneurs. In total, over the next three-years UnLtd plans to support 400 social entrepreneurs to transform their places for good. This will involve funding and supporting ventures to help them grow, building new collaborations between social entrepreneurs and other organisations, enabling access to further investment, and fostering a local support infrastructure of embedded social ventures.
The BID Foundation launch is welcome news for the Business Improvement District industry
Revive & Thrive is very pleased to share the following announcement about the launch of the BID Foundation.
All involved in place management will know that national representation for Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) has been in a state of flux for at least two years now. Revive & Thrive is pleased that the BID Foundation will be addressing this.
Revive & Thrive and Place Magazine stands in a unique position in being open to BIDs and all towns or cities, irrespective of size, and all organisations representing place. Its membership and subscriptions complements and does not conflict or compete with the aims of the BID Foundation.
All at Revive & Thrive and Place Magazine fully support the BID Foundation and offer full support in making this new organisation, built on strong foundations, a great success.
Revive & Thrive and Place Magazine offers its resources and networks to help in anyway to ensure BID Foundation success.
BID Foundation Press Release 17th January 2017
The BID Foundation has launched today (Wednesday 17th January) to meet challenges facing commercial districts up and down the country. Against a back-drop of ever-more difficult trading conditions and local government cuts, the new industry-led body will help Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) manage town and city centre retail, leisure, and other commercial areas more effectively.
The new membership organisation is an alliance of leading BIDs and the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, which has been appointed as its independent operator. The BID Foundation was set up in response to wide-scale consultation and is led by an elected council of 14 BID Chief Executives from across the country.
Commenting on the launch, Andrew Cooper, Chair of The BID Foundation and CEO of Leeds BID, said: “BIDs will now be able to work together more successfully to encourage change and investment in our town and city centres. We want BIDs to make an even more significant contribution locally and nationally and we need to engage more meaningfully with local and national governments and the wider business community to do that.”
The new industry body will provide strategic direction and practical support to BIDs. It will champion the revitalisation of the high street and commercial areas by raising standards, sharing knowledge and resources, and building a trusted and representative voice.
The BID concept started 15 years ago in the UK, with the operational priorities of making areas cleaner, safer and more attractive. This remit has matured, meaning BIDs are increasingly working with local partners to influence the economic development of the areas they manage and address big issues such as rough sleeping. Now there are nearly 300 UK BIDs and around 25 new ones are being elected each year. Annually, BIDs contribute a total £110 million investment to UK towns and cities.
Stefan Gurney, Vice Chair of The BID Foundation and Executive Director of Norwich BID, said: “It is great to be at the forefront of setting the vision and strategy for the future direction of the BIDs industry. The BID Foundation has been developed by the BID community and we aim to represent the industry with a clear, collaborative voice.”
The Institute of Place Management will provide specialist support and accreditation to members of The BID Foundation to ensure consistent high standards of operation, accountability, and transparency. BIDs will also draw on innovation and research insights from the Institute to inform their future business plans.
According to recent research from the Institute, the fundamental reason many commercial areas are struggling, is that decision makers and stakeholders do not adapt effectively to ongoing changes because they do not act collectively. BIDs provide this essential collaborative approach because they are business-led partnerships where retailers and other services pay an additional levy to fund a collective business plan aimed at improving a specific area.
Chair of the Institute of Place Management, Professor Cathy Parker, said: “We know how important BIDs are and The BID Foundation offers a way to increase both the local impact of each BID involved and further develop the model as a trusted form of urban management.”
The BID Foundation is the new industry-led body for Business Improvement Districts created in response to wide-scale consultation. The BID Foundation is an alliance of leading BIDs and the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University. The BID Foundation has been created to elevate standards, lobby and provide practical support to those within the Business Improvement District industry.
A council of BID senior practitioners govern The BID Foundation. Nominations for council election were held in 2017 and 14 BID CEOs have been elected to serve by their peers.
Highly-experienced town centre regeneration specialist Nikki Rolls has been appointed to head up Mansfield Business Improvement District (BID).
Nikki is the new chief executive at the BID, and brings with her a wealth of experience that includes stakeholder partnership development, community safety initiatives, delivering events, marketing strategies, and developing and delivering environmental and public realm improvements.
In particular, Nikki has a thorough understanding of regeneration schemes and how to bring them forward, working to resolve any issues that might be preventing delivery.
She has worked on the regeneration of a number of strategic town centres within Walsall, setting up a number of town centre partnerships, and has secured vital investment in the continued development of strategies that result in the reduction in the number of vacant units.
Nikki said: “The BID in Mansfield has been an extremely proactive organisation in the town centre, working with partners such as the local authorities and the businesses on a number of initiatives that have really made a difference.
“In fact, I have never come across a BID that does as much as Mansfield does for its levy payers. One of my first aims is to get the BID officially accredited for what it does. I am confident that this can happen and that the BID will become one of just 30 out of 205 across the UK to have this recognition.
She added: “My key role is to take the BID forward, using the foundation it has already built. I will be working on a strategic vision for the town centre, in particular the public realm areas (community spaces), attracting more national inward investment and the potential regeneration sites.”
Nikki is one of just 45 BID managers to have worked towards, and gained, a certificate in BID management.
Mansfield BID chairman John Sankey said: “Nikki has a wealth of experience in working in town centre regeneration and promotion, and has a track record of getting results. She’s a logical thinker with a can do attitude, and that’s exactly what we need in Mansfield.”
Nikki has secured several prestigious national awards, including securing a Gold Britain in Bloom award for Aldridge competing against the whole of Britain, Association of Town Centre Managers 2016 Awards for Building a Sustainable Town Centre Community, and the Towns Alive West Zone Winners 2014 Impact Award. She also helped Bloxwich secure Gold in the Heart of England In Bloom competition.
Winchcombe has seen an enormous rise of 753 places in the Digital Influence Index this year since working with #WDYT.
They have risen 37 places this month and 11 places this week overtaking towns such as Redruth (583) and Droitwich (566) which are much larger towns to a position of 561 out of 1300 towns and cities nationwide.
Highlights in Winchcombe this month include:
The #WDYT Workshop to help retailers with their social media took place on the 13th November at the White Hart. #WDYT were delighted to welcome along Emporium Gifts and Experience Winchcombe as well as representatives from the museum.
Cotswold Bone, Dandelion Blue and Banbury Home have been tweeting out some great Christmas ideas, alongside Maybe collections that showcase items in their stores which generated 95 votes and 52 comments, all helping to build their digital brand awareness and footfall to Winchcombe.
On December 6th the #WDYT team took a walkabout on the Winchcombe high street to chat to retailers and address any social media queries. The team explained how joining the campaign will boost the town’s footfall.
Stafford has maintained its digital influence ranking (23rd out of 1,314 towns) for an impressive ninth week in a row.
Ranking higher than all surrounding towns, such as Cannock, Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton, Walsall and Lichfield, Stafford is a major player in the Digital Influence Index. An overall move up of 97 places this year has meant a deserved Top 25 ranking for the town.
The town’s annual Christmas Tree Festival has resulted in 96 local businesses decorating trees that are displayed in St Mary’s Church – a great way to showcase themselves this festive season.
Highlights of the #WDYT campaign in Stafford this fortnight include:
The Wardrobe has just run a #WDYT competition to win a Juicy Couture bracelet worth £80
Chapters, the new independent bookshop, ran a #WDYT competition to win the Philip Pullman ‘The Book of Dust’ book, bag and poster, which resulted in a 169% increase in Instagram followers
Stafford Churches shared posts about organising the annual Christmas Tree Festival in St Mary’s Church
SUNDERLAND residents were invited to get their skates on….
….and head to Keel Square for the opening of the Christmas Ice Rink on Thursday 30 November.
The open-air ice rink is open for six weeks from the end of November to the first week in January as part of the Christmas celebrations in the city centre, organised by Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID).
The festivities kicked off with a gala event starting at 6pm where professional solo skaters Gary Beacom and Lisa Brewin showed everyone how it’s done and officially opened the ice rink to the public.
Visitors are able to keep the cold at bay by making the most of The Peacock’s festive food stall, which is open every Friday to Sunday while the rink is in the city centre.
“The ice rink is a really popular attraction which is why we have brought it back once again,” said Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID.
“Going ice skating is a great festive treat for the whole family and with the Christmas Market already open at Park Lane, there is something to help everyone get in to the festive spirit.”
Skaters will have plenty of time to practise their moves as the rink is open from 12pm – 9pm 30 November to 22 December and from 10am – 9pm 23 December to 7 January, with sessions on Christmas Eve needing to be pre-booked.
Following investments into the image of Northwich town centre over the last two years, the Northwich Business Improvement District (BID) has once again funded initiatives to catch the eye of shoppers and visitors.
Not only have they invested into winter planters, hanging and railing baskets but they have also facilitated the return of solar powered Christmas trees which are adorning lighting columns throughout the town and at the Hanging Basket stand on Leicester Street which is a key gateway to Northwich.
The trees, which are adding some sparkle to the streets in the run up to Christmas, were switched on at the Extravaganza on Saturday 25th November alongside the town’s Christmas lights and motifs which the BID have also part funded.
These investments by the BID, in particular the provision of winter plants, are all part of the organisation’s objective to deliver a greener and cleaner Northwich which can be enjoyed by shoppers and retailers alike and is the latest in a long line of projects delivered to this effect.
In the last two years alone they’ve been responsible for the re-development of Pocket Park, helped refresh the subway turret next to the Memorial Court, overseen the installation of a walled garden vinyl on Witton Street and also committed extra funds into the weekly cleansing of Northwich Town Centre.
On top of this, the BID carries out monthly audits throughout the year regarding the image and cleansing of the town too.
Northwich BID Officer Mark Henshaw is hopeful that visitors to the town centre will enjoy the floral and festive additions over the coming weeks.
“Since the BID began funding additional planting in the town centre we’ve had so many positive comments about how they add colour and vibrancy, and although the winter planting won’t come to fruition until the spring, they do improve the look and feel of the town.
“We also had great feedback from businesses about the solar Christmas trees last year so we’ve brought them back again. The switch-on was great and it means that people can now fully experience the trees and their shimmering glow.”
Isn’t it lovely to see all the colourful festivities as Christmas approaches?
Everywhere we go we see high streets festooned with awesome lights luring us into the town centre – taking us past decorated cafes and restaurants; exciting shop window displays with tempting gifts to buy; buzzing markets where Christmas songs ring out and where enormous Christmas trees bejewelled with lights invite us to meet our friends and spend time together. If only it could be Christmas all year round!
Sadly (or thankfully) it isn’t.
However, that doesn’t mean that once the last piece of tinsel has skimmed along the gutter in January winds and all the Christmas lights have been taken down that we can forget about ‘making an effort’ until same time next year. Quite the opposite in fact! The time we spend preparing our displays throughout the rest of the year are even MORE important to entice people out of their homes and away from their computers. Colourful, brightly lit window displays save a high street from looking drab and uninviting, helping to prevent people from shopping elsewhere.
But what about the rest of the year? Where do you start? Christmas displays are easy in comparison. Decorations, lights and gifting for most people is the solution. Job done! But what DO you do with that shop window – how do you get your message out to your customer?
Well we can help! We run talks, presentations and workshops teaching the basic guidelines of display. Just where to start and how to do something creative within a tight budget based upon simple key steps. We work with a variety of groups and Trade Associations, but especially with BIDs who can provide our training to the smaller business, many of whom need our help most.
From one of our recent workshops Katie Kinsella had this to say:
“I sourced some funding to host some window display training for retailers in Calderdale in the run up to Christmas and I sourced Made You Look’s details from a google search. The businesses on the training were many and varied which included higher end independents to smaller charity shops. Helen’s approach was interactive and creative. The businesses learnt how to make small changes on a budget and also how to create a more impacting wow factor. All understanding the wants and needs of the customer. Businesses completed the training feeling inspired and motivated. Many thanks to Helen for her inspiration and creative thinking”
So as the New Year approaches, and the twinkle disappears into the gloom, let’s see if we can help your high street shine not only now, but all year round.
After the resounding success of the Summer Trails produced by creative duo Claire and Amy of Felltarn Friends, the Lake District based design company have been commissioned to get back to the drawing board to come up with some fun, festive family trails.
Statistics showed an increase of nearly 500% in hits on the visit-kendal website throughout the duration of the Summer Trails, so for Kendal BID to employ Felltarn Friends to come up with something for locals and visitors to enjoy was a natural choice.
But Felltarn Friends don’t only operate in their local area – oh no! A commission from as far away as Basingstoke Together came through for a Christmas Family Trail with a Peter Pan theme to tie in with the town’s annual panto.
Felltarn Friends want to create a trail for YOUR town – and it doesn’t matter where you are, we can still plan and design something to help engage the general public with the businesses and services on offer across your BID area.
So, what do we do?
First, we need a simple brief from you regarding the theme or objective you want to focus on. You may want to promote evening trade in your town with a trail featuring places to eat and drink, or tie-in with a local festival, or simply keep it seasonal – Easter, Summer or Christmas for example. It’s up to you!
Next, we liaise with businesses within the BID area to give each one the opportunity to take part – asking them if they’d be happy popping something in the window to look out for on the trail, place an advert on the trail map, or provide a special offer for trail participants.
Then it’s time to get creative and design the trail! The Felltarn Friends style is quite distinctive and instantly recognisable, yet we produce something bespoke and unique with each project.
Once you’ve approved your trail design, we send it to print, or send you the artwork to print yourselves, the choice is yours.
We can help with social media marketing too by designing the graphics for an advertising campaign for your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and website.
Also – include a selection of adverts on the trail map to promote additional services, projects and incentives in your town to get people into the BID area.
Get in touch!
Contact Amy firstname.lastname@example.org or 07846805602 and have a chat about how we can help you achieve a higher footfall and an increase in business awareness around your BID zone.
We are currently looking at projects for Spring, Easter and even Summer – take a look at the pictures to get a feel for our services.
Congratulations to the winners of our Blachere Christmas Lights Competition 2017, Combe Christmas, who finally saw their prize light up Ilfracombe at the end of November.
Charmain Lovatt, who entered the competition on behalf of the Combe Christmas Committee said that it seemed that most of north Devon turned up to see the lights being switched on!
She added that “once again, the whole event was fundraised and led by volunteers, so we are so chuffed at how fantastically it went and the new lights look amazing! We want to try and tackle the harbour area next so everyone is asking if we can enter the competition again next year! We can’t thank you guys and Blachere enough as the prize pot has really made such a huge difference to us.”
Charmain also said that the town has an incredible bunch of volunteer electricians who not only installed all of the Christmas lights for free, but they also took on the mammoth job of replacing all the existing “permanent” lights which belong to the town council. The town council couldn’t afford to do it, so a local group raised the money for the equipment and the team gave their time for free, going out in all weathers and times to complete the work in time for the light switch on. It is estimated that they saved the town somewhere in the region of £55,000!
CH1ChesterBID’s CheSTAR has returned to the city centre this year, and with it comes a photography competition where the lucky winner will bag £250 worth of vouchers
The dazzling CheSTAR is back in the city centre this Christmas and to celebrate its return, the city’s Business Improvement District, CH1ChesterBID, has launched a competition to find the best photograph of the giant sparkling star.
Standing 25ft high and 25ft wide, the star is based in the grounds of Chester Cathedral on St Werburgh Street and will be lighting up Chester city centre this festive season as part of CH1ChesterBID’s annual Christmas celebrations.
The show-stopping decoration features almost 19,000 twinkling lights and made its debut in Chester last year, after being handcrafted especially for the city to add to the festive illuminations.
To mark its return, between 16th November – 7th January, CH1ChesterBID is encouraging city visitors and local residents to snap their best photograph of the star and share it on Instagram or Twitter. The contest will be judged by the team at Camera Solutions on Frodsham Street and is open for anyone to enter.
The chosen winner will take home £250 of vouchers to use at Camera Solutions in Chester.
Judy Tagell, marketing manager at CH1ChesterBID, said: “We’re thrilled to see the CheSTAR make its stunning return to the city centre this year. It’s an eye-catching addition to our Christmas activities and we’re really excited to launch our new photography competition alongside it. The competition is open to photographers of all abilities so we’re really excited to see all the creative angles people will capture images of the CheSTAR from.”
To enter, simply take a picture of the CheSTAR and post it on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #CheSTAR and tag @CH1Chester on Twitter or @CH1ChesterBID on Instagram. Alternatively, entrants can also email their photograph to email@example.com.
Ray Fisher, owner of Camera Solutions, said: “We’re really excited to be working with CH1ChesterBID on a Christmas photography competition this year and we can’t wait to see all the entries. We’re looking for something unique for our winning shot, so we’d encourage people to be bold and creative with their photographs and come up with something that really stands out from the crowd.”
The winner will be announced by CH1ChesterBID on 19th January 2018.
On Sunday 17th December 2017, Bournemouth’s Metropole Market returned to Holdenhurst Road with a range of alternative festive entertainment.
The Bournemouth Metropole Market brought a truly weird and wonderful Christmas market experience to Holdenhurst Road. On Sunday 17th December, the fourth in a series of popular street markets took over Lansdowne and will feature, food and drinks stalls, alongside local wares and craft stands. Presenting a Christmas Candyland theme, organisers of the market have now unveiled an eclectic range of entertainment and music for their final event of the year. Visitors, children and locals can look forward to appearances from everyone’s favourite anti-hero Deadpool and traditional folklore icon Krampus, courtesy of local business Dark Side of the Mirror.
Free and family-friendly entertainment at the upcoming Metropole Market also included returning favourites such as the fabulously funny comedy duo, Street Comedy and Lewis Jordan Brown’s energetic Rock “n’’ Roll tunes. There will new names performing too including the Bierfass Band, a group of Dorset musicians playing a unique mix of Bavarian polkas, waltzes and drinking tunes, combined with British pop and other well-known songs.
Furthermore, visitors to the market witnessed the Pantheatrix Fire Show. Dance was high on the agenda this month as well with performances by the First Position School of Dance along with Enrique Perez from Salsa Explosion UK, a Cuban inspired dance school, who was also be heating up the market and encouraging everyone to get up and join in.
Welcoming families, children’s entertainment was provided by Kristin Williams from Fusion Performing Arts. She held disco dancing sessions to keep the kids warm during the market. There was also a Kids Fancy Dress competition welcoming the most alternative Christmas outfits plus a Young Musicians Showcase featuring talented local artists, including Karl Lattimer an acoustic indie pop performer.
Lyn Turnbull, Co-Organiser of Metropole Market and Co-Owner of Mexigo Burrito Bar, said: “We’re thrilled to unveil all the wonderful and electrifying entertainment that we have in store for our final event of the year, especially the visit from Krampus and Deadpool! I would also like to encourage you all to dress up in line with our Candyland theme, especially all the children, to make this colourful pre-Christmas event truly special and unique.’’
A behaviour change campaign promoting ‘click & collect’ for online shopping purchases instead of personal deliveries to work.
No one likes missing a delivery at home, but having online shopping sent to work addresses in town centres adds to traffic congestion and air pollution. (It also means consumers have to carry shopping home on the bus or train!).
Barclaycard has revealed that 40% of online shoppers chose to have their purchases sent to their professional address, with 8% of people receiving deliveries to their workplace on a daily basis. For example, in the West End, a workforce of 150,000 would therefore mean a whopping 12,000 parcels estimated to be delivered into the area every day. The volume of vehicles required to facilitate this is a key contributor to the poor air quality in London, and other UK town centres.
Cross River Partnership and our partners are urging workers to take vital steps towards cleaner air and reducing health risk by rethinking how they manage their online shopping habits during Christmas shopping and January sales seasons.
There are now a number of ways for individuals to click and collect their online purchases to avoid having items delivered to their workplace, such as Amazon Lockers, InPost, Parcelly, HubBox and Doddle. These companies provide consolidated deliveries to convenient locations for consumers, and work with businesses to provide corporate membership and discount offers for employees.
Cross River Partnership’s ‘Click. Collect. Clean Air’ campaign brings all these solutions together. Click. Collect. Clean Air. has been promoted to businesses and central London employees by over 20 business improvement districts and boroughs since launching a year ago.
The campaign promotes the use of Click & Collect services to reduce the number of missed deliveries and redirect personal packages from workplaces to parcel collection points closer to consumers’ homes. Delivery of online shopping to ‘Click & Collect’ sites helps reduce the number of vans on central London streets, reducing air pollution and making for a nicer, safer and healthier place to visit, shop and work.
Central to the campaign is a unique website, www.clickcollect.london, which maps parcel collection points across London and the U.K. With hundreds of locations from multiple providers, the site makes it easy for online shoppers to find a convenient collection point close to home or along commute routes.
As part of the campaign, CRP worked with Parcelly to provide an introductory discount code (CLEANAIR) to encourage use of Parcelly’s premium Click & Collect option. CRP’s collaboration with Parcelly provided positive results including use of the ‘CLEANAIR’ promo code 3,466 times since the launch of Click. Collect. Clean Air. Of the Click & Collect deliveries made by those using the code, 90% are now being delivered outside London zones 1 & 2 where air pollution is the worst.
Parcelly also donate 5% per transaction to reduce the environmental impact of their service which has offset 800kg of CO2(see http://parcelly.com/live-green). This is in addition to emissions avoided due to the reduction in failed deliveries and fewer driver destinations resulting from Click & Collect deliveries.
With Christmas shopping season, and January sales upon us, be sure to choose Click & Collect for delivery and collection of online shopping. Find a convenient collection point at www.clickcollect.london. It’s convenient, easy and affordable.
Cross River Partnership is central London’s largest public-private partnership that has been delivering regeneration projects in the capital since 1994. Over the last 22 years CRP has worked to support sustainable growth across London, developing and delivering innovative pilot projects with, and for our partners, including 19 Business Improvement Districts, local authorities and public service providers such as TfL.
CRP has four core delivery programmes covering the key issues that help the city thrive: creating sustainable employment opportunities, driving economic growth and prosperity, making places that work, and improving air quality and carbon reduction.
Christmas has well and truly arrived in Chippenham after Chippenham’s Christmas in Colour – a two day festive extravaganza in the town centre by Chippenham Connected in partnership with Chippenham Town Council, and with support from the Bristol Hippodrome, Awdry Bailey and Douglas, and Emery Gate Shopping Centre.
Friday 24th November saw the town come to life with walkabout characters bouncing, dancing, hooping and strutting around the streets of Chippenham, free arts and crafts for children, and a beautiful artisan market in Chippenham’s oldest building, the Yelde Hall. There was a stage packed with local and headline entertainment, hosted by Heart FM’s Ben and Mel, and the classic Chippenham abseiling Santa, who came down from the very top of Chippenham Museum to the delight of the crowds below.
The Mayor of Chippenham, Councillor Mary Norton said, “I was delighted to see so many people come to see Chippenham’s Christmas in Colour lights switch on event with entertainment for all the family including arts and crafts activities, which added to the festive atmosphere.”
Local acts took to the stage to entertain the buzzing crowds before the town’s Christmas lights were officially turned on by the ever-entertaining Joe Pasquale who chatted to Ben and Mel on stage before encouraging the people of Chippenham to join him in a rendition of his famous (and potentially annoying) song! The lights went on, and the sky was filled with beautiful, bright fireworks to kick off the festive season in style.
This year’s event was extended to two days with further street entertainment and the artisan market. The giant snow globe and glitter face painting, all free to the public, saw over 1,600 visits throughout the day, and Chippenham Street Pastors (Chippenham Connected’s chosen charity) were on hand to chat to the crowds throughout the day as well as collecting for the work they do in the town in the runup to Carols Around the Christmas Tree.
Kathryn Crosweller from Chippenham Connected said, “It’s wonderful to be able to offer the town an event on this scale. We want everyone to love Chippenham as much as we do, and seeing so many people come to support their local Christmas light switch-on shows that community spirit is alive and well in Chippenham.”
The event saw an increase in footfall of 11% on the previous year’s event, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The Christmas season is now well underway in the town, and the Christmas in Colour event will stretch to Saturday 2nd December with the New Road Christmas Trail (more details can be found at www.chippenhamconnected.com)
Revive & Thrive’s Matthew Powell is the interim Manager of Chippenham BID.
A new commercial waste and recycling collection service to be introduced in Leeds city centre aims to help save businesses money while enhancing street aesthetics.
Leeds Business Improvement District (LeedsBID), working in partnership with Leeds-based Forge Recycling, is to deliver a new collection service to over 1,000 businesses.
The new service, introduced in the new year, comes in response to a LeedsBID survey which showed that 43% of its levy payers wanted to see improvements to their collection contracts.
The new trade waste service is part of LeedsBID’s business priorities to help its levy payers reduce costs while also contributing to improving the appearance of the city centre.
LeedsBID Chief Executive Andrew Cooper said: “The contract demonstrates how businesses can work together to achieve economies of scale. The ambition is to save money, improve recycling and enhance street aesthetics by having a regular and quality waste service.”
“BIDs elsewhere in the UK have employed similar schemes and we will be working collaboratively with Forge to ensure a first-class service for all businesses in Leeds.”
Forge will be offering a seven day a week service with collections timed to ensure trade sacks and loose waste are not left out on city centre streets overnight.
When businesses sign up, they will receive a free waste audit to check how they could save money, and will be able to receive a free collection of waste cardboard each week.The contract has been designed so that the more businesses who opt into the service, the more money they will all save. It is hoped that local businesses will work together to repeat the success of similar schemes elsewhere in the UK.
LeedsBID will play an ongoing role, alongside Forge, working together to increase recycling and ensuring that prices stay low over the lifetime of the contract.
LeedsBID selected the company through an extensive competitive bidding process, designed by waste consultants Eunomia, which looked at both price and quality of service.
According to PPS, placemaking is both a process and philosophy, strengthening the connection between people and the places they share. It capitalises on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential with the intention of creating public spaces that promote health happiness and well-being. Stimulating public artworks play a key role because they offer more than just passive observation. Culture is the perfect vehicle to engage communities and promote conversation about heritage, identity and sense of belonging. Great art makes great places, great places attract great talent, and great talent creates great jobs!
How UK BIDs can work with cultural organisations
Improving Places, a new report produced by Arts Council England, examines how culture is key to the success of UK BIDs. By collaborating with cultural organisations, they can drive economic growth and help local communities thrive. In the uncertainty of post-Brexit Britain, they can also offer a potential solution to falling public funding and rising business rates. BIDs and cultural organisations that are positively connected can share information and plan joint marketing campaigns for maximum reach and impact. The report identifies six ways in which they can work together:
Placemaking, by using local knowledge to help develop innovative neighbourhoods.
Place branding, by promoting an area as distinctive and attractive for locals and visitors.
Business development, by helping industry professionals and entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Providing affordable spaces.
Involving local people will build stronger communities.
Design a programme of creative activities to highlight a location’s unique offer and raise the public profile.
Obviously, there is no one-size-fits-all solution and local challenges will require local responses. But, to ensure coherent policies there needs to be an element of joined-up thinking with private enterprise, local government, BIDs, and cultural organisations all involved at the early planning stages.
Commissioning public artworks
The Great Places conference last month, launched a year-long programme of initiatives from the BFP (British Property Federation) to examine the dynamics of successful places. The project aims to showcase the real estate industry’s collective role and social impact across the UK to clients, communities and government. Coinciding with the conference was the joint publication of A Guide to Commissioning Public Art by BPF and Contemporary Art Society which highlights how art contributes to a sense of place and identity.
Ian Fletcher, Director of Real Estate Policy at the BPF said:
“The real estate industry provides value to society beyond its economic contribution, but it needs to communicate the benefits that flow from long-term investment if it’s to win the hearts and minds of the people it serves. We hope our Great Places campaign hardwires placemaking into the real estate industry’s contribution to the nation’s social well-being.”
Fabienne Nicholas, Head of Art Consultancy at the Contemporary Art Society said:
“Truly ambitious public art is now a key component of cultural placemaking, animating public realm and creating encounters that humanise and create meaning for places. It is often the art that contributes the most to that unique sense of place, supporting the identity and visibility of new developments and creating thriving sustainable communities.”
Cities of Culture
An example of how the arts can shape modern placemaking. Inspired by Liverpool’s 2008 European Capital of Culture status, the concept continues in the UK and in 2013 Derry/Londonderry reported that for every £1 of the £100m investment, £5 was earned for the city.
The University of Hull is about to release statistics on its tenure as 2017 City of Culture and the benefits to the economy. Key findings from the first 3 months include:
90% of Hull residents attended or experienced a cultural event or activity as part of the UK’s City of Culture.
70% of resident agreed it had a positive impact on the lives of local people.
342,000 visitors came to ‘Made in Hull’ during opening week and 94% of the audience agreed the event made them feel more connected to the city, the stories of its people, the history and heritage.
Of the 1.1m people passing through Queen Victoria Square during the Blade installation, over 420,000 interacted with the artwork. 50% said it was the main influential reason for their visit that day and 46% said they would not have come if the Blade wasn’t there.
Last month, Manchester joined a network of 180 world cities recognised by UNESCO for their commitment to the arts. With over 10 UK cities already accredited by the organisation, Manchester follows Nottingham, Norwich and Edinburgh in becoming a UNESCO Creative City of Literature. Winning is a real accolade and not just a title for one year, that reflects the depth of community involvement. Cities must have plans in place that continually improve access and participation in cultural life, especially for marginalised or vulnerable groups and individuals.
Earlier this week, at STC2017, I met Jean Cameron, Project Director for Paisley’s BID to be UK City of Culture 2021. A town of contrasts, Paisley’s heritage is stunning, thanks to its transformation into a textile hub during the industrial revolution, it is home to the largest concentration of listed buildings outside of Edinburgh. World-class business and international talent sit side by side with some of Scotland’s most deprived communities. Winning UK City of Culture 20121 is a chance to change that by reinventing the place and transforming the lives of locals.
Investment in culture has the power to do all that.
‘The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow’, according to Bill Gates.
But while it is true that digital spaces can contribute to informal support systems in our online relationships with family and friends, and increasingly, formal support systems in digital public services, they cannot provide us with the physical places that contribute to our wellbeing. Digital spaces alone cannot provide us with the same unique sense of place, identity, and shared history as the physical places of where we call home – from small rural settlements to large urban cities, to upland, lowland, and coastal communities.
And a town is where millions of us across the UK and Ireland call home. What our towns are ‘known for’ – an industry, a prominent historical figure, or renowned architecture – forms part of the local, positive story about where we live. But in direct contrast to this, in national policy the narrative is largely negative and one of decline. Our towns are defined in relation to the nearest city – as ‘commuter’, ‘satellite’ or ‘dormitory’ – or by their past – as ‘former-coal’ or ‘post-industrial’ – in need of regeneration, resilience or future-proofing.
Has such a framing of towns at the national level influenced the priorities, funding, and focus of our governments in developing place-based policies?
The Carnegie UK Trust’s new report provides an overview of the main policies and initiatives designed to improve economic, social, environmental, and democratic outcomes in places across the jurisdictions. At the regional level, the impact of City Deals and related cities policy is rendering the regions surrounding powerhouse cities, and their composite towns, as the secondary focus for investment. Equally dominant in the place-based approach taken by governments across the jurisdictions is investment in rural areas, which includes surrounding towns on the basis that they are in fact vital, if only for the economic development of rural areas. Integrating towns into rural policy assumes that supporting rural areas with a range of goods and services is the primary function of nearby towns, but there is very little data available to support this expectation.
The operating assumption appears to be that investment in nearby cities and rural hinterlands will inevitably lead to improved outcomes for their surrounding towns, despite towns being fundamentally different socio-economic geographies which require their own dedicated policy solutions to improve their performance.
While at the local level, whether the focus is on town centre regeneration, as in Scotland; in heritage, as seen in Ireland; or general urban regeneration, as in Northern Ireland, policies are operating at a sub-town level – focusing on physical parts of a town or individual communities with it – to the detriment of the wider town in which they sit. But austerity means that this approach is piecemeal – never translating into anything more than the sum of its parts to consider the town in its totality.
This dual focus – on the external city or surrounding rural hinterland and internal sub-town community or part of a town – means that towns are a neglected area of public policy. They are rarely taken as the starting point for formal policymaking, or have the policy levers available to them to influence their fortunes.
So what can be done to address this policy gap?
The rhetoric of devolution and decentralisation needs to be matched with the reality of more decision-making powers for towns; more data about towns and evidence about what works; and more opportunities for towns to work together. From international initiatives such as the World Towns Framework, to the UK cross-border such as the Borderlands Initiative, to the more immediately local such as the South of Scotland Alliance, there are opportunities for towns to share skills, knowledge and resources. These must be built upon to share successes, and challenges, to improving our places. Only through greater collaboration will towns and their practitioners have the strength in numbers to hold their own in the national policy arena with the well-resourced organisations advocating for the interests of cities and rural areas. Only through greater collaboration will it be time for towns.
The campaign was incredibly successful, with 4,600 unique tweets from nearly 1,000 discrete accounts that hit timelines globally around 6,000,000 times over the space of 24 hours.
For me, the most remarkable thing was that, of those 4,600 tweets, only one keyboard warrior took to Twitter to berate the place they lived in – every single other tweet was a positive take on the places that high street heroes love up and down the country.
Over the last week or so, I’ve been doing a little more research than usual into what people are doing in their places up and down the country and it inspires me as much now as it did four years ago how much people are passionate about the places they live and work in.
Every month we publish lots of stories about these projects and initiatives (and we’d always be happy to publish more, so please do let us know what you’re up to!), and whether it’s about celebrating success, delivering innovative and unique events, creating fabulous experiences, supporting the businesses in our communities or lobbying for change or improvements, the capacity that people have for improving their places always impresses and humbles me.
So, well done to all of you! Whatever part you play in supporting your town, city, village or high street, you are a High Street Super Hero (a nickname once bestowed on me, but I don’t like to talk about that…!). Keep up the good fight to make our places the best that they can be – and don’t forget to tell us how you are doing so.
Earlier this year Kendal Business Improvement District (BID) decided to research trails for town centres in order to create an even greater experience for their residents and visitors.
May 2017 – Initial Brief from Kendal Business Improvement District-
Plan and design 6 Trails (4xChildren’s; 1xHistory; 1xEvening Trail).
To run from mid July-mid September 2017.
Incorporate all businesses in whole BID zone.
Utilise the “Kendal Branding” designed in previous BID initiative.
Link in with 3 town centre umbrella installations.
Trail maps to be FREE to participants.
Kendal BID initially contacted Felltarn Friends with a general idea for children’s trails for town centres, specifically around Kendal. A map required designing in a fun and interactive style to engage with local families and visitors to the town. The objective of the trail would be to boost footfall around the entire BID zone and encourage interaction between the general public and a wider range of businesses than they usually visit.
After a very enthusiastic brainstorming session, it was decided that Felltarn Friends would create 4 children’s trails on 2 separate maps, a history trail for those interested in the culture and unique character of Kendal, and, to boost the waning evening trade in the town, a night-time trail featuring the range of bars, pubs and eateries available to visit once the shops are closed.
As Kendal BID were to undertake the installation of 3 beautiful, bright, eye-catching umbrella displays in town-centre locations over the summer, Felltarn Friends were asked to incorporate the umbrella theme into the children’s trails to reinforce the attractions.
Phase 1: Information Gathering and Planning.
Contact all BID members to gather numbers for participation.
Offer advertising opportunity.
Plan routes to include all interested businesses.
Give all BID members opportunity to devise a Trail Treat.
Throughout June, Felltarn Friends contacted every BID member to request their participation in the Summer trails for town centres. By ‘participation’, it simply meant authorising a picture to be placed in the window of the business. Each picture would be no larger than approximately A5 in size, and either be an umbrella symbol to find and tick off a list, or a poster denoting the route of the trail.
The business owners had the option to participate or not, and were also given the opportunity to place a free advert for their business on one of the trail maps (first-come-first-served basis.)
Felltarn Friends proposed an additional feature – the ‘Trail Treat’. Again, this was optional, but allowed each business the chance to engage with trail participants with a unique special offer of their choice. Trail Treats ranged from 20% off a photoshoot at Paul Holland Photography, to free lollies at Todds of Kendal, a high-five at Costa, a pen at NatWest Bank and a portion of chips or soft drink at Fish Express. In total, 42 businesses across the BID zone offered Trail Treats across the 6 trails.
All pubs, bars and restaurants were given the same information, and notified that they would all be featured on the Evening Trail.
With over 140 businesses requesting participation in the trails, it was then possible to plan the trail routes and decide where to place the umbrella symbols for children to find.
Phase 2: Design.
Children’s Trails for town centres to be in a recognisable ‘Felltarn Friends’ style.
10 umbrella pictures to find in windows and tick off on the map.
Highlight all eateries open during the day.
Highlight play areas and picnic places.
Include advert for Swipii (previous BID initiative)
Include activity page on reverse.
Include advert for Kendal Gift Card (previous BID initiative) and weekly competition to win one.
History and Evening trail designs to be unique and appealing to mature demographic.
Include adverts for local businesses.
Include advert for Swipii (previous BID initiative).
Include advert for Kendal Gift Card (previous BID initiative) and weekly competition to win one.
Include trail-relevant fun-facts and information.
A map of the BID zone was designed from scratch and the trail routes plotted out. Our Trademark Felltarn Friends design style featured In the Children’s Trails for town centres maps, however we wanted something unique for the Evening Trail and a more traditional feel to the History Trail.
Hand-drawn sketches of each pub and bar featured on the Evening Trail which also incorporated fun alcohol themed facts and a mini-directory of all places in Kendal to eat in the evening. Every type of eatery in the BID zone was included from fast food outlets to independent bistros and restaurant chains.
The History Trails for town centres combined photographs, drawings, facts and information about the town, and the route incorporated 18 specific points of historical interest around the BID zone as well as encouraging participants to explore the town’s alleyways and yards.
The Kendal Branding (a previous BID initiative) was included on all the trails to ensure design continuity not only for these trails but also to tie in with other initiatives in the town and strengthen the message that Kendal has lots to offer.
Phase 3: Print and Distribution.
6000 (1500 of each trail) to be printed.
Locate approx. 30 locations to be pick-up points (in and outside the BID zone).
Distribute trail maps to all pick up points.
Replenish pick-up points regularly throughout the duration of the trails.
The initial print run of 1500 copies of each trail map (A3 folded to DL size) was covered by the project fee. The BID provided leaflet holders and approx. 30 mostly BID members – shops, cafés, hotels and visitor centres agreed to be ‘pick-up points’.
Felltarn Friends organised getting the relevant umbrella pictures into the correct windows for the Children’s Trails, as well as the Trail Treat signs.
A local printer in Kendal was selected, and once delivered, Felltarn Friends joined forces with the BID manager to get the maps out to all the pick-up points for the start of the summer holidays.
After just 2 weeks, it became clear that a second print run was required, and a further 10000 trail maps were produced.
Felltarn Friends and the BID manager worked together to coordinate the replenishment of the pick-up points to ensure all were kept well stocked.
PR and Marketing:
Advertise the trails prior to launch across the South Lakes region.
Design flyers for school children.
Design banners for social media.
Design flyers for businesses to place on countertops.
Advertise in local publications.
Administrators for the Visit Kendal website were given relevant information to create new pages and downloadable versions of the trails. A direct link was set up to use on advertising material.
Flyers were designed by Felltarn Friends, one for the Children’s Trails and one for the History and Evening Trails for town centres. The Children’s Trails flyer was distributed to all primary schools in the South Lakes region. Both flyers were distributed to businesses across the BID zone and further afield to place on counter tops.
Kendal BID Manager sent out a Press Release to local publications, including an image of the flier artwork. Articles appeared in the Westmorland Gazette newspaper and Local Choice magazine.
A social media campaign was launched across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, utilising hashtags that were also advertised on the trails and flyers.
Local bloggers picked up on the trials after their launch and independent articles and posts were produced, as well as regular activity across social media platforms in the form of post shares, photo uploads and discussions.
Feedback and Testimonials:
The number of trail maps needing to be replenished in each of the pick-up points showed an average total of 1500 maps per week over the 9-week duration of the trails, split relatively evenly across the 4 maps.
Verbal feedback from trail participants to Felltarn Friends and BID businesses was all positive. Parents were happy that there was something fun for children to take part in, and with 4 different Children’s Trails it meant they could come back time after time. The umbrella theme and link to the displays was commended, as was the trail design style.
Kendal TIC had one of the fastest turnovers of trail maps, particularly the History Trail as tourists to the town found it a great way to explore and learn about Kendal.
Due to a well-documented lull in recent years in night-time trade in the town, the Evening Trail was deemed a well needed and fun way to encourage people into the bars, pubs and restaurants. The unique design style using sketches of all pubs and bars was a huge hit, with some locations asking for framed copies of the trail map.
BID businesses were inundated with extra footfall from the trails to the point that they ran out of their Trail Treat giveaways! Business owners and managers commented on the obvious increase in shoppers, browsers and awareness of their business. The trail concept in general was commended as a very good way to promote what Kendal has to offer throughout the BID zone.
The BID manager and board were very pleased with the planning, design, implementation and outcome of the trails project. Statistics from the Visit Kendal website show an increase in visits to the site during the first month of the trails up by almost 500% on the previous period, with 3400 visits to the trail pages.
Felltarn Friends have since been commissioned to create a Christmas Trail for Kendal BID, and have had interest from other BIDs regarding trails for their towns.
So, I’m five months into my first term as a County Councillor.
Becoming a County Councillor was driven partly by frustration. Matt and I have yet to fully demonstrate that we are driven by outcomes and positive change for towns and places and are not profit led.
Unlike the hallowed halls of Whitehall, local politics is not especially lucrative. In order to fulfil my elected duties as well as continuing to invest time, money and effort into Revive & Thrive, I took a significant salary sacrifice and Matt took up much of my workload, in addition to his, to allow me to bring about such change.
But, do you know what? I love it!! And bringing about change is easy. The long-term projects and future planning are clearly very slow to manoeuvre but some of the simple steps that can improve people’s everyday lives are simple. You just have to get on with it. And once you know who to speak to, Council Officers in particular, are, largely, keen to help.
Why quote Joni Mitchell? Well, perhaps as a consequence of working at Revive & Thrive, being a County Councillor, living as a resident, being a parent with school age children, starting up a new small family business (At Arwel) and supporting grass roots regeneration etc., I’m finding it increasingly easy to understand everyone’s point of view.
If this is a skill, then I definitely think I have it and am only concerned that a need for pragmatism might hold me back.
To reduce this risk, I’d love for you to help me answer this- how do you win a debate when you can see everyone’s point of view? My default position is ‘can it be afforded’? If so, allow debate to continue but if it can’t be afforded, is give up the answer?? I hope not…
If you feel like answering my conundrum, and I understand why you might not want to use your time up in this way (there I go again), I would love to hear from you on 07590 005692 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Until I find the answer to this perhaps Joni is right when she summarises –
I’ve looked at life from both sides now From up and down, and still somehow It’s life’s illusions I recall I really don’t know life at all
In a recent white paper, the Local Government Association acknowledged a growing recognition of the importance of cultural activities in the lives of people, communities and places. It states, “What is local and unique has special value and should be supported and encouraged.” Cultural identity is strongly tied to a sense of belonging, engagement, understanding and appreciation of where people live. Civic pride raises the confidence and aspirations of a community.
Above and beyond urban design, placemaking is instrumental in shaping our environment to better serve the community and support its future growth. It’s about defining space through cultural creativity, economic activity, and social connectivity. Listening to the community is key, residents provide important information used in assessing the effective delivery of services that are meant to benefit them. As placemaking professionals, the earlier we involve them, the better.
Seems obvious really doesn’t it? It’s about listening to the people whose lives we affect in the places we regenerate. It’s about forming strong partnerships between local government, the private sector and community organisations to pool our resources, knowledge and expertise.
An inspiring example is the Camden Highline. Taking its cue from NYC’s famous park, The Highline, Camden BID (Camden Unlimited) is spearheading a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for a feasibility study towards making the project a reality. London mayor, Sadiq Khan joins over 200 residents, community groups and businesses that have already pledged support to turn a half-mile stretch of disused railway line into a new public park and garden walk.
Urban gardening project, Incredible Edible in Todmorden was started by a group of like-minded people whose aim was to bring people together in building a kinder, more sustainable community, and help change attitudes and behaviour towards the environment. The locally grown food is shared by the community and since its conception in 2008 has become a full-fledged movement. Their ethos has been taken up by communities all over the world and there are now 120 Incredible Edible official groups in the UK and more than 700 worldwide.
Finally, after attending the annual conference of the Institute Place Management in Manchester a few weeks ago, a couple of other initiatives caught my attention:
Jan Brown from Liverpool John Moores University, presented “Connecting the Sound Tracks of Our Lives: Marketing Places Through Music.” Jan proposed innovative marketing campaigns using various media to create multisensory communications. Her paper explores the various music styles of a place and how they connect the community inclusively.
In her book, Cara Courage, a collaborative creative placemaker and arts consultant, explores the role of art in placemaking in urban environments. She analyses how artists and communities use arts to improve their quality of life and explores the concept of social practice placemaking, where artists and members of the community are equal experts in the process. Arts in Place. The Arts, the Urban and Social Practice byCara Courage
Working together, as an inclusive community that includes professional placemakers, artists, musicians, local councils and residents, we can create better places to live. When the environment inspires us, our connections strengthen and we become truly aware of the community.
Most of you reading this will, I hope, be advocates for BIDs, certainly in the sense of them being vehicles for delivering projects that support towns and cities, acting as a voice for business and generally taking a lead on local partnership working.
My own opinion is that, pretty much without exception, they do good stuff, some do great stuff, and some are exceptional. And it tends to be the case that, as BIDs mature, like wine, they get better with age.
Sadly, though, there are exceptions. To date, there have not been any instances of BIDs failing to renew after 10 years (a small but growing sample size, I admit). After a decade of delivery, all but the most fervent anti-BID businesses see the value for money they provide, but what if a BID was being so badly mismanaged that the atmosphere within its business community became toxic to the point of levy payers voting a BID out in spite of its record of delivery?
It pains me to say that this is a very real scenario I’ve come across recently. A CIC has been set up to rival the BID (well, not so much rival as do the things the BID should be doing!), and its first project is a crowdfunder to raise money so that businesses and consumers in the area can have Christmas Lights this year as the BID can no longer afford them.
BIDs more cartel than support?
Ask the local business community and they’ll tell you the BID board is more like a cartel. In nine years, 51 people have been directors and resigned. Most of the five who remain have been there since the start.
It seems ludicrous that an area with a BID should see a voluntary group crowdfunding to do the things it should be, but I’m sure many of you will have come across cases where ego has got in the way of running a successful business -BID or otherwise.
Most worryingly, this BID’s second term comes to an end next spring. Sometime between now and then, the BID is going to ask businesses to vote for a third term. As it stands today, I can’t see that happening.
There seems to be no easy answer to this problem either, a small gang of directors who are unwilling to cede control standing against a business community who are passionate about their area and support BIDs in general but who have arrived at a point where they see no BID as the best way forward.
It does, though, highlight the importance of good governance and getting the structures right from the outset. I wonder how many BIDs have terms of reference, codes of conduct, or even contracts for their directors? I imagine that the number is growing as the industry matures and we see examples of worst practice as well as best practice.
And, this scenario reminds us all that BIDs are not necessarily the only route to success – committed and passionate individuals make the difference, whether that’s within the structure of a BID or within some other kind of mechanism.