New industry body renews High Street optimism

Revive & Thrive is pleased to support BID Foundation

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.Success of BID Foundation is crucial for the Business Improvement District industry

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 Revive & Thrive wishes the BID Foundation the best of luckaccreditation 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 open to membership from any operating BID. More details are available at www.thebidfoundation.com

 

The BID Foundation

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.

Link: www.thebidfoundation.com

Contact: Andrew Cooper (Chair of The BID Foundation and CEO of Leeds BID)

Email: andrew.cooper@leedsbid.co.uk

Art in Placemaking

Read lots of articles on Placemaking in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine

The Role of Art in Placemaking

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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:

  1. Placemaking, by using local knowledge to help develop innovative neighbourhoods.
  2. Place branding, by promoting an area as distinctive and attractive for locals and visitors.
  3. Business development, by helping industry professionals and entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
  4. Providing affordable spaces.
  5. Involving local people will build stronger communities.
  6. 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 artworksArt in Placemaking features in this month's Place Magazine

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

Banksy's Art can be seen in places all around the UK
Bansky street cleaner – Chalk Farm, London

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.Alison Bowcott-McGrath writes each month for Place Magazine

Alison Bowcott-McGrath

Founder and Managing Director

PinPointer UK and MAYNINETEEN Ltd

Building 8, Exchange Quay, Salford, Greater Manchester, M5 3EJ

E: alison@pinpointer.uk | T: 0161 850 1400 | M: 07870 176949

 

On the outskirts: towns in public policy

‘The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow’, according to Bill Gates.

Read all about opportunities for towns in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine
Read stories suggesting opportunities for towns in Revive & Thrive’s Place Magazine

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.

Carnegie Trust improve well being for towns across the UK 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.

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Family Trails for Town Centres

Summer Trails for Town Centres –

A Case Study

 

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.
Read more articles about this case study on town trails for town centres in issue 17 of Place Magazine
Read more about Felltarn Trails and other articles and stories like this in this month’s Place Magazine

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.

One of Kendal's Family Trails for Town Centres
Take Kendal’s Boozy Beer and Wine Trail
  • 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.

An example of a children's trail for town centres
Whilst parents are one the Booze Trail why not encourage to children take a trail of their own
  • 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.

Download an example marketing document for these trails for town centre
Download the Kendal Trail Marketing document here
  • 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:An example for a prize point for trails for town centres

  • 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:  Don't forget your umbrella when taking trails for town centres

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.