Our Team

Russell Downing, Business Development Director

0333 012 4285


Russell was appointed as Business Development Director for Revive & Thrive in April 2019. Prior to this Russell established himself within the BID industry, undertaking the feasibility & development of Newbury BID through to a successful ballot in 2012. Following a productive first term, Russell delivered a successful renewal ballot securing second five year term for Newbury. During his time in Newbury Russell has represented the BID industry on the advisory boards for both British BIDs and more recently The BID Foundation. Russell was also part of the first group to undertake the British BIDs Academy programme. Russell has worked in the food retail industry overseeing retail outlets in London and Bristol and a nationwide box scheme.

His business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit were achieved through a background in the hospitality industry, managing both city centre hotels in London’s West End, and smaller properties across the South of England and Wales. Russell further honed his business skills after successfully achieving a scholarship to attend Cornell University, New York State, America where he studied with both industry leaders and peers from around the world.

During his career Russell has always been a key stakeholder in the towns and cities he has worked in and he has sat on a number of Chamber of Commerce Councils and business groups, working tirelessly to improve the business community and wider community at large. He is a keen sportsman and when not working can often be found on the rugby pitch. This is where his competitive nature, desire to win and team ethos are applied, and coupled with his business skills these attributes have brought him success in his career to date and help him deliver the goals of Newbury BID. As a result the town has flourished and grown for the benefit of businesses, local residents and visitors alike.

Matthew Powell, Director of BIDs and Contracts

07967 395621


From inner-city Bristol to rural Cornwall, suburbs of Birmingham to BID developments as far apart as Hexham and Hastings, Matt has a wealth of experience in all aspects of place management.

Leaving a successful career in retail in 2004, Matt trained as a Business Advisor working with pre-start and existing businesses and brought this experience, along with many innovative project deliveries, a wealth of place-based knowledge and strategic-level BIDs involvement to Revive & Thrive when he helped Mark Barnes to start the company and later joined it himself.

Matt has subsequently worked on a range of projects in towns and cities around the country, developing, delivering and managing BIDs, supporting other town partnerships and working alongside Mark on establishing and growing Revive & Thrive.

Matt is a champion for town centres and the High Street and is committed to helping business groups, BIDs, local authorities and other interested parties

Mark Barnes, Managing Director and Founder

07590 005692


Mark’s vision for supporting places up and down the country began a decade ago when he left a career in Automotive Aftersales Management to work on place related projects and contracts

A three-year spell as a town centre manager gave him the understanding of the difficulties faced by place practitioners as he developed the concept for Revive & Thrive supporting and working with solutions providers and strengthening his extensive national network.

Since incorporating the company in 2013, he has grown Revive & Thrive into one of the pillars of the place-based support community and, with the recent addition of the non-executive board, advisory group, ambassadors, a growing team and the company’s corporate advocates, he continues to oversee the evolution of Revive & Thrive and the development of our industry.

Stephen Blackwell, Marketing, Events & Membership Manager

07403 789645


Invaluable member of Revive & Thrive Team, Stephen is an experienced graphic and web designer with over ten years of freelance work under his belt. He has turned his hand to events in recent years delivering dozens of town and city events. He is passionate about all things design with experience in video editing and effects, web design, illustration, animated presentations, copywriting, typography and graphic design – he brings all of these qualities to deliver Place Magazine each month as well as taking care of all of our marketing materials and website design.

Having worked within the Place Management industry for most of his career he’s caught the passion for improving our communities that Revive and Thrive stands for.

Hugh Frost, Customer Relationship Manager

03330 124285


Hugh has worked professionally with a wide variety of plants, places and people, to learn and communicate new ideas to various progressive organisations.
Originally from a farming family in rural Dorset, he branched out into horticultural ventures to provide organisations with technical and professional support in their green objectives.

Hugh brings both customer relationships skills to Revive & Thrive, as well as a new role in delivering a ‘Greening’ aspect to town and city regeneration.

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