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.
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.