Blachere Christmas Light Competition WINNER

               On the 18th July, representatives of twelve towns made their way to Fitzrovia in London as finalists of the fourth Annual Blachere Illumination Christmas Light Competition.

After towns and cities from across England and Wales submitted their entries in June, it was just down to the last stage to win £10,000 worth of lights for their town centre or high street.

Asked to demonstrate why their town centre is more appealing as a destination for a Christmas Light Switch On, the finalists presented to five Judges all with extensive place management experience.

After extensive deliberation Ormskirk was announced as the winner with Farnborough a close second winning £2,000 worth of lights.

Ronnie Brown, Managing Director of Blachere Illumination said “Over the four years that we have been running the competition this was the closest final with the top five separated by only 3% of the scoring points” Mr Brown added “The quality of the presentations was extremely high and the passion that the entrants demonstrated for their towns was very impressive”

Mark Barnes, Founder and Managing Director of Revive & Thrive Ltd who manages the competition each year for Blachere said “These challenges are not designed to entertain, each year the entrants say that just by taking part they have learned something more about their towns and the experiences that residents and visitors are looking for” adding “Each town should be proud of just reaching the final twelve.”

The runners up each won a prize of £1,000 worth of lights.  Those heading home with a runners up prize are, in no particular order, – Thame, Putney, Kidsgrove, Lancaster, Pontardawe,  Portishead, Halifax, Salisbury, St Helens and Sunderland.

Blachere Illumination and Theming are also offering a prize as part of the Revive & Thrive Market Towns Challenge which was launched earlier this month.

The Perfect Partnership for Places

Institute of Place Management and Revive & Thrive  working together for UK Places

Revive and Thrive is proud to announce that it is now a Partner of the Institute of Place Management (IPM), which is the professional body for the place management sector. Both organisations have committed to work together and make it easier for place managers to get the information and support they need to do their job.Institute of Place Management and Revive & Thrive unite for all UK places

The agreement will enable more Revive and Thrive events to be recognised as valuable learning opportunities for delegates, through IPM’s Continuing Professional Development accreditation process. In addition, more insight and knowledge developed by the world-leading researchers in IPM will now be shared through the Revive and Thrive community.

Professor Cathy Parker, Chair of the Institute of Place Management said, “We have been very impressed with the Revive and Thrive team, their events as well as Place Magazine so we are really pleased to have the opportunity to work more closely together”.

MD and Founder of Revive & Thrive, Mark Barnes, said “The two organisations complement each other extremely well and will offer a huge amount of value to their respective networks.”

He added, “We have a shared ethos of supporting places of all sizes and offering accessible information to place managers, councils and community activists to enable them to bring about the changes they want in the places that they care about.”

This new collaboration melds together perfectly.  IPM’s academic approach, research and training fit together with Revive & Thrive’s solution-focused approach to inspiring and sharing best practice, thus ensuring that advice, mentoring and information is readily available to all places.

With networks extending from academia and the country’s largest BIDs to elected councillors, volunteers and businesses on the high street, the future for place management and our nation’s towns, cities, villages and high streets looks as promising as it has for a long time.

Reverse the effects of the 3Ds

From wasteland to areas of economic growth

Urban regeneration is simply defined as the process of reversing the effects of what I like to call the 3Ds:

  • DownturnRead regular article from Alison Bowcott-McGrath in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine
  • Decay
  • Dereliction

However, wherever there is a wasteland, there is also an opportunity and, with a little creative vision, high streets experiencing social decline can be transformed into areas of economic growth. It’s all about repurposing existing buildings and introducing mixed use developments that better represent the needs of the community such as; residences, workplaces, retail, health and public spaces.

According to Essential Retail magazine, retail businesses with large footprints, especially those with large format stores and long lease terms, will struggle in 2018. We’ve all heard about John Lewis and New Look seeking CVAs (company voluntary arrangements), legal agreements allowing rent reduction negotiations and store closures amid concerns over poor sales figures. These have come under recent scrutiny believed to simply delay the demise rather than rescue the business. Maplins, Poundworld and Toys R Us have all fallen into Revive & Thrive Local Legend Campaign sponsored by PinPointeradministration and it seems a failure to adapt to industry changes has left the traditional retail business model no longer fit for purpose in the modern digital world.

What does this mean for the future of UK high streets?

Creative thinking is required for the changing environment because these days people want to work in places where they can make a life and not just a living. Thoughtful regeneration that considers the needs of the community it serves will attract investment and offer security in the ebb and flow of shifting consumer habits. We need to create spaces that encourage collaboration and creativity to bring in the best talent and nurture the best ideas.

If we consider the future by reimagining the buildings in our high street as more vibrant, exciting and inspiring places we provide them with a whole new lease of life. Flexible and sustainable spaces to suit an increasingly diverse workforce are the essential fabric of the community, places we can experience, live, learn, work, develop and grow.

Alison Bowcott-McGrathAlison Bowcott-McGrath is MD of MayNineteen and PinPointer

Founder and Managing Director

PinPointer UK and MAYNINETEEN Ltd


Building 8

Exchange Quay

Salford M5 3EJ


T: 0161 850 1400

M: 07870 176949

It’s the invisible network that secures the future of your place

Invisible Networks and How to Use Them in Your Place

Places are defined by the physical network of buildings and roads that they cover. So it is relatively easy to map the physical area a place occupies from individual streets to an area on an ordnance survey map.  Surveys of shoppers and Invisible networks article features in Place Magazineworkers can also be used to map out the hinterland of a place which can be transferred to a map showing the retail catchment area or the travel to work area.

These visible networks are useful tools to use to compare your place with others and over a period of time can act as barometers to the vibrancy of your place. The networks that drive the changes in the physical networks are harder to capture.  Our places have input from both the public and private sector, some of these networks are well defined and easily captured, others are more difficult and probably more vital to your places future.

Invisible network author Keith Jackson is a monthly contributor to Place Magazine
Keith Jackson is a monthly contributor to Place Magazine

Part of my previous work at CRED in the University of Cumbria highlighted the invisible networks across the public sector that ensured business compliance of national regulations at a local level. These networks interacted with various trade bodies to encourage where possible that these networks delivered elements of business support as well as regulation compliance.  IFLAS, another body within Cumbria examines the invisible networks across the public and private sectors that make up a place and then looks at how these can be led.

Our own recent experience (as Thomas Jardine & co) in renovating a city centre building to house a co-working space highlighted how you can stumble across these incredibly vital invisible networks.  In our area at first glance the construction sector looks fairly visible with several large local, regional and national firms either developing housing sites or working on larger commercial projects. As a smaller developer, we were fortunate enough to work with a really good local architect who guided us through the necessary compliance of our project and who introduced us to an excellent local builder whose invisible network of contractors and suppliers seems to be able to tackle any contingency we come across.  We were also lucky to have a chance conversation with one of our son’s friends whose business is now redoing all of our electric and gas heating requirements.  This network of invisible local trade’s people is essential in maintaining the growth of our place and it should be no surprise that the good trades people tend to know each other and appear to prefer working on sites with people they know and trust.

Like all good local networks they tend to get on with it quietly with not too much noise hence they tend to be less visible than the larger national firms, this does not stop their ambition, one Advertise in Place Magazine each month at a very low rateof our local firms (Story) has gone from a one man band to a national player in one generation.

The invisible networks in your place are what creates the visible network.  This is just as true for the food network that supplies the local hospitality trade as it is for construction and I am sure you could think of other invisible networks.  So before you next decide to help change your visible networks in your place take a deep breath and check to see that you have included all the invisible networks in your plans as well.

Institute of Place Management Article

Let’s do something radical to boost town centres

By Simon Quin, Director Institute of Place Management

The Daily Mirror on Saturday 3rd March ran a story headlined “Britain’s high streets becoming ‘ghost towns’ due to brutal closures” which detailed further retail collapses, the high level of retail vacancy in some centres, notably Stoke-on-Trent, Dewsbury and Newport, and words of worry from retail expert Richard Another great article from Place MagazineHyman. The story highlighted concerns from Richard Hyman that many retailers are in denial over changing shopping habits and also contained various references from local retailers to the perceived lack of or wrong response from local authorities.

Institute of Place Management Findings

Research by the Institute of Place Management published in the Journal of Place Management and Development (Improving the vitality and viability of the UK High Street by 2020: Identifying priorities and a framework for action) notes that “dramatic changes have been a constantly recurring theme” in respect of retail centres as they have seen the rise of department stores, chain stores, supermarkets, shopping malls, the impact of refrigeration, increased car ownership, retail deregulation, out of town retailing and online. Having undertaken a systematic review of the literature relating to retail centres and then working with stakeholders in 10 town centres, we were able to identify some two hundred factors that can impact on town centre health. Most significantly we also identified the 25 most important factors that are controllable locally.

The 4 Rs of Regeneration

The research identified the ‘4 Rs of Regeneration’. The first of these is Repositioning and requires collaboration amongst different stakeholders to share and analyse data and information about what is happening in the town centre.  Do stakeholders, whether from the public, private or community sector, really understand the forces of change that are For support for Town and City Centre contact Institute of Place Managementimpacting their centre? In the Daily Mirror article Richard Hyman suggests they do not and we agree. We are currently working to develop dashboards that stakeholders can access to monitor the performance of their centre looking at key indicators like footfall and sales. Repositioning enables towns to recognise the failure of previous strategies, identify new ways of expanding economic activity, and find ways to improve existing retailing.

The second R is Reinventing. Individual retailers are very familiar with this. They adapt opening hours to different circumstances, they segment their stores to fit market niches, they adapt the store to meet the physical requirements of the individual unit. How can this be applied town wide? We think it is essential to understand the customers you are looking to serve. To know what kind of town you are and to meet those customers’ needs, and not just retail needs. Find out what you can about the people who use your town and remember that some towns have many visitors that will not be obvious in a simple look at the catchment area.

Rebranding is the third R. This is about communicating the image and identity of your town. What is different, what is unique about you? It is now recognised that good place brands cannot be imposed from above but need to be something that reach the right audience by advertising in Place Magazineis co-created, hence again requiring collaboration and engagement.

Restructuring is the final R and in some instances is the most difficult to achieve. It is the recognition that old systems are not working, that strategic networks and partnerships need to be created to address the scale of challenge. We are seeing the difference that Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are making to town and city centres around the country. These actively engage many more of the location stakeholders in decision-making, which is why the Institute of Place Management is keen to support them through The BID Foundation. A BID takes time to establish and it is not the only route to Restructuring. Local partnerships can be established, but they need to be strategic to be effective.

Some articles you read would suggest that all high streets are set to collapse. That this is not the case should encourage you to take the steps you need in your centre. In 2010, Altrincham, one of the 10 towns we worked with on the High Street research, was the town making headlines as a ghost town. Retail vacancy was around a third of units. Today the town is a thriving centre, vacancy has plummeted, footfall has risen by a quarter, new businesses are arriving and new investment is happening. You can read more in the Manchester Evening News article from February  ‘From ghost town to boom town – how Altrincham became the place to be’. We feature Altrincham’s story in our research article along with other useful initiatives in 9 other towns.

It is time to do something radical and adopt a new approach for your town if you want it to have a future.

Read more articles like this by subscribing to Place Magazine here

Read more articles from Institute of Place Management here




Wolverhampton BID – Life as a Project Manager in a BID

The many joys of being a Project Manager within Wolverhampton BID

Since joining Wolverhampton BID in April in the role of Projects Manager it’s opened my eyes to the diverse skills and multi-tasking requirements of the role, working in a busy BID office. Drawing on my extensive retail and customer service background it has enabled me to redirect the focus & role of the BID Ambassador Team, from its original street warden patrols and general public engagement role to an integral support role for both City centre visitors to Wolverhampton and the BID businesses within the city.

Life experineces such as this are always featured in Place Magazine
Subscribe to Place Magazine for free

The refocused approach was brought about by the recruitment of 3 new members of the team Jo, Sally and Heidi, who joined the original members Wendy and Mick.  There was real emphasis that the new members needed to compliment and strengthen the existing team, whilst having strong customer service focus in their skill sets. The new team members brought with them a wealth of retail and customer service experience, an ability to see in great depth the city centre from the business’s perspective. Luckily for the businesses, visitors and shoppers of Wolverhampton the new approach and team has paid dividends, as the drive and enthusiasm they express towards the goals of Wolverhampton BID and the thriving city centre is infectious.

The Ambassador Team is so much more than just a meet and greet service, they are the friendly face of the city centre, the walking talking visitor information service, the travel information team, first aid support, the business engagement team and 2 members of team have also successfully achieved SIA CCTV operator status, , thus ensuring that they can strengthen the Join Revive & Thrive - a membership for all people passionate about placesupport offered to the levy payers, they can monitor, assist and direct resources to deal with negative behaviour within the city centre – they really are the eyes and ears of the city, and no 2 days are ever the same.

As re-ballot in 2020 is fast approaching we would hope that the hard work of both the Ambassadors and the Wolverhampton BID team to meet the wants, needs and expectations of the business community have been understood, met or exceeded, and that the re vote for a second term supports the future of Wolverhampton city centre and its businesses to grow, be prosperous and support the continued growth and regeneration of this great city.

Shaun Boyce, Projects Manager
Wolverhampton BID

Digital influence – the value of a high ranking for your town

Do you know where your town ranks in the UK Digital Influence Index?

GFirst LEP recently shared the results of the successful #WDYT campaign with the LEP network, inviting towns to find out where their High Streets rank in the UK Digital Influence Index and the opportunity to take part in the campaign.

The #WDYT campaign in both Cheltenham and Gloucester saw each town feature within the top 12 most digitally active towns in the UK, ranking above significantly larger towns and cities. On the back of these fantastic results the GFirst LEP shared their success and invited other towns and LEPs to participate in the #WDYT campaign. Read on for an excerpt of this letter.

We all know the significance of ‘place’ in current policy thinking and we believe that the success of our high streets is vital in place-shaping and influencing the overall economic success of our LEP geographies.

The pilot addressed three of the key recommendations of the DCLG commissioned 2020 Digital High Street report: Digital Skills, High Street Lab, and High Street Digital Health Index.

Subscribe to Place Magazine and monitor the digital influence index
Keep up to date with the Digital Influence Index by subscribing to Place Magazine

At the start of the pilot we researched the digital output of a wide range of High Streets measuring the online presence of local retailers and the use of social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. It revealed that up to 74% of all High Street retailers have no active social media presence, 50% have no e-commerce facility and 40% have no website at all.

These results suggest that local retailers were not taking up the opportunities created by digital platforms, and analysis of current and future shopping habits all point to the increasing importance of these channels in retail purchases. Research from Deloitte makes it clear that close to 40% of all OFFLINE transactions are influenced by digital communications.

To improve the digital output of local retailers the #WDYT (What do you think?) campaign launched last year prioritising the development of digital skills, knowledge sharing, and the creation of a robust nationwide digital index that covers data from 150K retail locations in 1,300 towns.

To date, the pilot program has helped a number of Gloucestershire towns and over 1,000 retailers significantly increase their digital skills. Both pilot towns of Gloucester and Cheltenham now sit in the 12 most digitally active towns in the country.

Stafford, another pilot town, has risen 93 places to 21st in the Digital Influence Index. They have reported a week on week increase in footfall for the duration of the campaign, with footfall increases of over 22% on data from last year.

This campaign has proven to be a catalyst that encourages High Street businesses to begin or accelerate their digital journey. We are extending our ranking technology to include each retailer within each town.

The outcomes of the #WDYT campaign are clear:

  1. Digital output drives local footfall
  2. Ranking data is a great incentive for improvement
  3. Every town is the sum of its digital parts By increasing digital output, High Streets can reach established or new customers and by working together local retailers can increase their collective and individual influence.

Recent headlines have reported the failure of the “Portas” towns and it is interesting to note that all of these towns have a very low Digital Influence ranking. (See press release).

We are also working with other key organisations like BIRA, ATCM and ACS to raise awareness of the Digital Influence Index and to ensure its place as a key economic and productivity driver that must be invested in. We would like to invite you to be part of this by accessing the freely available Digital Influence Index for each of your towns.


Gluten Free Mobile Catering for your Market and Events

Gluten free but your residents and visitors will never know


Why not invite At Arwel to bring gluten free mobile catering to your town
Read about more unique experiences and ideas in Place Magazine

Gluten free food is always a tricky beast to find at markets and events.  Could our new Business Group member fix this issue?

Baking At Arwel is a new start up business that has recently joined Revive & Thrive with the aim to find markets and events around England and Wales to bring their rather cool gluten free mobile catering trailer (pod) to.

Baking At Arwel offers hot and cold snacks for all the family with the very unique slant that everything they sell is gluten free.

However, you don’t need to be a Coeliac or gluten intolerant. All of Baking At Arwel’s produce is for everyone and offers the guarantee that if you can taste the difference between gluten free and non-gluten free, they will give you your money bakery.

As well as their top of the range barista coffee machine, their toasted Gluten free mobile catering for your markets and eventssandwiches and crepes, they also bring an array of home baked cupcakes, florentines, brownies, lemon drizzle cake, victoria sponge and much more.

If you would like a classy looking and unique food pod at your event call 07590 005692 or email

Please visit for more information

How to improve the health of your high street

Five things you can do for your High Street

By Cathy Parker & Simon Quin, Institute of Place Management

Can you improve the health of your High Street? Newly published research suggests there are initiatives that can be effective but they require partnership and collaboration.  Town and City Centre - Institute of Place Management

Although some did better than others, many retailers posted disappointing figures for High Street sales over the Christmas period. There are many reasons for this, not least the growth in online retailing, but research by the Institute of Place Management shows that decline has been a long time in the making. The fundamental reason high streets are struggling is that decision make


rs and stakeholders are not adapting effectively because they don’t act collectively.

Stories about the high street are always featured each month in Place Magazine
Read more from IPM and BID Foundation in Place Magazine

The High Street UK 2020 research findings identified 201 things that can improve the vitality and viability of traditional retail areas. Not all are relevant everywhere and not all can be locally implemented. The 201 factors were assessed by leading experts as part of the research project and the five most important have been identified.

Top of the list of priorities is ensuring the trading and activity hours of the location meet the needs of the catchment. Many shops and services are stuck in a 9-5 trading pattern that does not reflect the time that many people want to use the centre, especially in places that have a high number of commuters living nearby.


The second area is improving the visual appearance. This can involve large projects like street improvements, better lighting and so on – but it also covers basic cleanliness. Unfortunately, too often, commercial waste and consumer litter or the poor maintenance of property act as a blight, undermining investment in the physical realm, and just putting people off.

The third priority is ensuring the mix of retailers and other services is providing the right offer. A bit like the first priority, a thorough understanding of who is and who is not using the town and why is key here. As individual landlords are free to let their properties to whoever

they please, managing the overall offer of a location is challenging. Much provision is complementary – a town may sustain a butcher, greengrocers, fishmonger and deli for example, but if any of these shut down, then it has consequences for the other shops as it is the linked trip behavior of the consumers that is keeping them all in business.

Having a shared vision and strategy for the location was the fourth priority we identified. This is the mechanism by which stakeholders can be encouraged to develop their business in line with an overall plan to improve the high street. A vision, strategy or plan is important for attracting investment from both the public and private sectors. Many town centres just do not seem to have a purpose now they are no longer the centres of retail they once were.

And in fifth place came the quality of the experience. Again, this relates to the collective offer of the location. A number of positive customer service interactions in retailers and service outlets can be wiped out immediately by a surly bus driver or a dark and foreboding multi-storey car park.

The actions that will improve footfall on the UK high streets have now been identified by our research, and you can access them with a more detailed explanation. They are available free of charge at Revive & Thrive supports the work of BID Foundation in our high streets Nevertheless, we do not underestimate the challenge ahead for individual locations wanting to change their prognosis. As collaboration is key to success then new governance and place management models are needed and this is one of the reasons the Institute is delighted to be working with BIDs from across the country through the new industry body


PinPointer Boss Grilled on 2017

MayNineteen Brings Major Changes to PinPointer in 2017

January was a sober time for some of us! Personally, I opted for a damp January but for the rest of you, well done! The new year is often a time for reflection on the previous one, the highs and lows, successes and failures, the Alison Bowcott-McGrath is MD of MayNineteen and PinPointertime-track of our lives, the things we’ve learned and our ambitions for the future. It’s a new year, new you, a fresh start, out with the old and all that jazz.

At PinPointer we’ve seen some major changes throughout 2017, it’s been a roller coaster ride since we took the strategic decision to acquire another business to evolve our own. We doubled the number of employees overnight which brought about some challenges but overall there have been more positives than negatives. We’re 9 months into the deal now and things have settled down. As a team, we’re a united front with our sights firmly set on the future.

Our marketing manager, Jo Prosser questioned me over coffee about 2017, so I’d like to share my responses with you.  And, for a personal insight on what it’s like to work here from one of our own, you can read the Maynineteen blog. 

If you had to describe PinPointer’s 2017 in 3 words, what would they be?

Invigorating, petrifying and intoxicating 

What single achievement are you most proud of?

Probably winning the Hammerson pitch with Maynineteen. It wasn’t something I was directly involved with and that’s not something I’m used to. Typically, I’m instrumental in all business dealings and it made me feel incredibly proud of my team that I was able to take a step back. I feel like the conductor of an amazing orchestra!

What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2017?

How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours. It’s a quote from the American psychologist, Wayne Dyer but it’s stuck with me. It’s all about values for me and not feeling the need to compromise.

Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?

I stressed out over how I might align the new business acquisition with my existing company. Maynineteen had a very different culture to PinPointer and I wasn’t sure how they’d fit but it wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated. With great leadership and a loyal team, you can achieve the impossible.

What one thing would you do differently and why?

I’d put more emphasis on communication, even when there’s nothing to say because it gives others an opportunity to voice their opinions. I’ve realised that frequent communication is key and something I’m more focused on.

What experience would you love to do all over again?

Honestly, and if you knew the details, you’d call me crazy, but I’d love to do another business acquisition. I have no regrets, I loved it, it was thrilling, a real buzz and can’t wait to do it all over again.

What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?

Investment in the team. Definitely. The new hires have brought a different skill-set to the table and a whole new dynamic to the office. It’s great to see them settle in and develop the business.  

What was the biggest problem you solved?

I suppose aligning the two businesses as I mentioned in question 4. The changes have been subtle, Maynineteen and PinPointer operate independently of each other for now but the teams get along well, complimenting each other and we’re starting to see a cross-over in terms of our clients. It’s exciting.

What was the funniest, burst out laughing, moment of 2017

There have been lots, but you had to have been there for most! I think the social aspect of agency life has generated the most laughter. The office Secret Santa gifts had us all cracked up and our treasure hunt quiz around Manchester city centre resulted in some hilarious video footage that will never appear on YouTube!

What are your goals for 2018?

I want to increase our portfolio of managed towns even further and I want more direct engagement with brands and experiential agencies.

It’s also important for me to enable my team with everything necessary to be the best they can be. We’ve adopted a policy of doing something different every day just to shake things up. It might as simple as listening to a new radio station or taking the stairs instead of the lift, but I firmly believe that we adapt and grow more easily when we embrace change. MayNineteen says bring on 2018

Here’s to 2018, I wish you all a wonderful one!

Alison Bowcott-McGrath

Founder and Managing Director

PinPointer UK and MAYNINETEEN Ltd

Building 8

Exchange Quay

Salford M5 3EJ


T: 0161 850 1400

M: 07870 176949

Enterprising Communities: people transforming where they live!

A celebration of social entrepreneurs

On 23rd January UnLtd held their first event since the announcement of the collaboration between themselves and Local Trust.

Social Entrepreneurs created a community pub called The Bevy
More on this event can be read in the latest Place Magazine – click here to download

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.


Social entrepreneurs:

sound bites from the day


Read more about UnLtd and their social entrepreneurs in Place Magazine“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 Revive & Thrive spent the day with some of UnLtd's Social Entrepreneursneighbourhood – 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”

People Power is one of the catalysts for Business Improvement Districts“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”

Read more about this event in Place Magazine
Read more about this event in Place Magazine

“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”
Download Place Magazine here for free

A new partnership to support social entrepreneurs to thrive in their communities.

Revive & Thrive have a media partnership with UnLtd

Investing in Social Entrepreneurs

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.UnLtd Supporting Social Entrepreneurs

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 

South West:

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 UnLtd supports social entrepreneursareas 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 Revive & Thrive supports UnLtd and social entrepreneursprovide 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.

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


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.


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


Nikki Rolls appointed to Mansfield BID chief executive role

Mansfield BID appoints new CEO

Highly-experienced town centre regeneration specialist Nikki Rolls has been appointed to head up Mansfield Business Improvement District (BID).

Revive & Thrive members Mansfield BID welcomes new CEONikki 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.

Read stories from BIDs around UK in Place Magazine
Download latest Place Magazine here for free

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.”

Choose Revive & Thrive for your Business Improvement District Feasibility servicesNikki 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. 

For more about the BID, based in Regent Street, Mansfield visit

More stories like this one from Mansfield BID can be found in Place Magazine each month

Winchcombe jumps 753 places in it’s digital influence

Read about Winchcombe in December's Place Magazine

Winchcombe has seen an enormous rise of 753 places in the Digital Influence Index this year since working with #WDYT.

Winchcombe features in this month's Place MagazineThey 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 BoneDandelion 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.

#WDYT welcome Winchcombe Flowers to the campaign who have started posting with

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.

More stories like this one from Winchcombe can be found in Place Magazine each month

Stafford’s Digital Ranking remains impressive for a ninth week

Stafford features in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine

Stafford has maintained its digital influence ranking (23rd out of 1,314 towns) for an impressive ninth week in a row.

Stafford's digital influence is featured in Place MagazineRanking 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
  • Dean Sharpe’s Floral Studio shared how they were placed 1st in the Chelsea Flower Show heats. Congratulations!
  • The Moat Househeld its Wedding Showcase offering a free Top Table for weddings booked in Jan/Feb/March 2019. Other Lewis Partnership venues of The Swan, The Bear Grill, The Dog & Doublet, The Red Lion andThe Bank House have been posting pictures of their delicious seasonal specialsChoose Revive & Thrive for your Business Improvement District Feasibility services
  • Lots of Black Friday deals were shared by various retailers using #WDYT
  • Dourish & Day shared their excitement about the first snow of the season in Stafford
  • Kennys Sports Bar continues to let residents and visitors know about all the major sporting events they are showing on their big screens each day
  • FunkyWunkyDooDahsis thinking ahead to the New Year by offering curtains and blinds at 2017 prices

Shop, eat and enjoy Stafford this festive season – and don’t forget to tell us #WDYT?

More stories like this one from Stafford can be found in Place Magazine each month

Have an ice time in Sunderland this Christmas

Sunderland Business Improvement District's Christmas story can be found in Place Magazine

SUNDERLAND residents were invited to get their skates on….

Sunderland Business Improvement District is featured in December's Place Magazine
Christmas in Sunderland Frost Village official opening event Picture: DAVID WOOD

….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.Choose Revive & Thrive for your Business Improvement District Feasibility services

“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.

More stories like this one from Sunderland Business Improvement District can be found in Place Magazine each month

Northwich BID makes winter investments into town

Read all about Northwich in Place Magazine

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 Northwich BID can be found each month in Place Magazinealso 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.

This Christmas in Northwich article can be found in Revive & Thrive's Place MagazineIn 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.”

More stories like this one from Leeds BID can be found in Place Magazine each month

A colourful window display is for everyday not just for Christmas

Made you look are members of the Revive & Thrive Business Group

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 Made You Look is a member of the Revive & Thrive Business Groupcentre – 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?

This Christmas in Bournemouth article can be found in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine
Read more stories like this each month in Place Magazine

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”

Choose Revive & Thrive for your Business Improvement District Feasibility servicesSo 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.

Helen Goodwin   Made You Look! (please include link)

01904 654933

More stories like this one from Made You Look can be found in Place Magazine each month

Felltarn Friends Are Busy This Christmas Creating Town Trails!

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.

Felltarn Friends are members of the Revive & Thrive Business GroupStatistics 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?Choose Revive & Thrive for your Business Improvement District Feasibility services

  • 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 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.

More stories like this one from Felltarn Friends can be found in Place Magazine each month


Blachere 2017 Christmas Light Competition Winner’s Lights go on

Winners of Blachere Christmas Liught Competition are featured in Place Magazine

Lights go on in Ilfracombe

More festive stories can be found in this month's Revive & Thrive Place MagazineCongratulations 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! 

So, Ilfracombe certainly is lit up! You can watch a video of Ilfracombe’s Christmas Light Switch On here:


Well done again to everyone involved!

This Christmas in Ilfracombe article can be found in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine
Read more stories like this each month in Place Magazine

Budding photographers to showcase their talent this Christmas

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

Subscribe to Place and read more stories like this in Place Magazine 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. 

This Christmas in Chester article can be found in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine
Read more stories like this each month in Place Magazine

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.” 

Choose Revive & Thrive for your Business Improvement District Feasibility servicesTo 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 

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. 

For more information about CH1ChesterBID’s Christmas activities, visit

More stories like this one from Chester can be found in Place Magazine each month

Deadpool and Krampus Came to Metropole’s Christmas Candyland

Bournemouth is featuered in December's Place Magazine

On Sunday 17th December 2017, Bournemouth’s Metropole Market returned to Holdenhurst Road with a range of alternative festive entertainment.


Christmas in town centresThe 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.


This Christmas in Bournemouth article can be found in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine
Read more stories like this each month in Place Magazine

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.Choose Revive & Thrive for your Business Improvement District Feasibility services

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.’’


For more information, visit or follow them on Facebook and Twitter – @MetropoleMarket.

More stories like this one from Bournemouth can be found in Place Magazine each month


Click. Collect. Clean Air.

This is a blog within Place Magazine

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[1] 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.Another stroy to be found in Place Magazine

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.

This article can be found in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine
Read more stories like this each month in Place Magazine

Central to the campaign is a unique website,, 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 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 It’s convenient, easy and affordable.

For more information contact or visit


About Cross River Partnership

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. 



More stories like this one from Leeds BID can be found in Place Magazine each month

A Playlist for Places

Welcome to the last edition of Place for 2017

As ever, Place this month is full of stories from towns and cities around the country, I hope you enjoy reading them.

I thought I’d do something a little different this month, as well as take a break from my standard December playlist, and provide all of our readers with a little gift for Christmas.

So, with thanks to Jean Ball for providing the initial inspiration at our Northwich conference back in the spring, here is a playlist of the best songs with “town” or “city” in the title:

Town Called Malice – The Jam

Summer In The City – The Lovin’ SpoonfulRevive & Thrive's Place Magazine December edition

Raintown – Deacon Blue

The Boys Are Back In Town – Thin Lizzy

Suffragette City – David Bowie

Small Town Boy – Bronski Beat

Ghost Town – The Specials

Dirty Old Town – The Pogues

Life In A Northern Town – The Dream Academy

Your Town – Deacon Blue

Funky Town – Lipps, Inc.

We Built This City – Starship

Paradise City – Guns N’ Roses

That’s a pretty good playlist, I reckon, and I’ve share it on both iTunes and Spotify. I’m sure there are loads more that you can suggest – drop me an email and maybe we’ll do a volume 2 next year.

I’ve also avoided any songs with specific place names in the title – that’d be a huge playlist!

Editor, Matthew Powell

More stories like this one from Leeds BID can be found in Place Magazine each month

Read all about Chippenham’s Christmas in Colour

Chippenham's Christmas featured in Place Magazine

Joe Pasquale takes centre stage in Chippenham

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.

Stories from Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine
Chippenham’s Christmas light switch on with special guest television star, Joe Pasquale.

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.

Read all about opportunities for towns in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine
Read more stories like this each month in Place Magazine

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

Revive & Thrive’s Matthew Powell is the interim Manager of Chippenham BID.


More stories like this one from Leeds BID can be found in Place Magazine each month

LeedsBID to improve commercial waste and recycling for businesses

Stories about Business Improvement Districts can be found in Place Magazine

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.

This waste and recycling collection article can be found in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine
Read more stories like this each month in Place Magazine

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.waste and collections service in LeedThe 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.


More stories like this one from Leeds BID can be found in Place Magazine each month


Art in Placemaking

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

The Role of Art in Placemaking

Read about Art in Placemaking in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine each month
Read more articles like ‘Art in Placemaking’ by downloading Place Magazine each month for free

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: | 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.

Subscribe to get Place Magazine free each month

Download Issue #18 Place Magazine for free

Place for Twons and Cities Magazine issue 18

High Street Heroes continue to inspire

Many years ago (well, about five, actually) when Mark Barnes launched Revive & Thrive it was in part off the back of a Twitter campaign he created and ran called “Retweet for towns” day – #RT4towns.If you are high street heroes download Revive & Thrive's Place for Towns and Cities Magazine here.  Issue 18 is out now

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.

Matt Powell
Revive & Thrive Director

P: 03330 124285

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.

“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now….”


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.

Read articles like this one each month by subscribing to Place Magazine
Read this article and many more in the free to download Place Magazine

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

Joni Mitchell captures how Mark Barnes feels as a County Councillor
Joni Mitchell

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

Communities Make Places

Communities make places by Alison Bowcott-McGrath

Communities should nurture civic pride


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.

Receive articles like this one about inspiring communities each month by subscribing to Place Magazine
Articles like this one from Alison Bowcott-McGrath can be found in this month’s Place Magazine. Download now for free

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.

Inspiring Communities

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 by Cara 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.Revive & Thrive Corporate Advocate PinPointer writing about inspiring communities

Alison Bowcott-McGrath

Founder and Managing Director

PinPointer UK and MAYNINETEEN Ltd

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

E: | T: 0161 850 1400 | M: 07870 176949

When BIDs go bad!

BIDs are perfect, right?

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.

Read more articles about BIDs in issue 17 of Place Magazine
Read more articles about BIDs in issue 17 of Place Magazine

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.


Matt Powell

More articles like this can be found in issue 17 of Place Magazine – download here for free

[btnsx id=”8255″]

Business Crime Reduction Partnership from Revive & Thrive

Revive & Thrive Business Crime Reduction Service

The nationally recognised accreditation standard which has been specifically designed for Business Crime Reduction Partnerships (BCRPs) has received a ringing endorsement.

It came at a meeting organised by Revive & Thrive, one of only two of the scheme’s authorised Assessing Organisations.

Find out more about the Police Crime Prevention Initiative hereAddressing a group of assessors who are interested in being involved in the new standard, Mark Barnes, Managing Director of Powys-based management company, Revive & Thrive, said embracing accreditation would help BCRPs keep town and city centres safe around the UK.

It would encourage them to ‘raise their game’ as well as help instil confidence in sharing information and partnership working, particularly with the local Police Constabularies.

Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI), the national police crime prevention initiative, which is often referred to by its most successful initiative, Secured by Design, announced this month (October) it had become the accreditation body for BCRPs based on a set of standards owned by the National Business Crime Centre.

Revive & Thrive specialises in sharing best management practice in partnership working in town and city centres and high streets, and most recently, industrial estates and shopping centres. It’s work includes Business Improvement Districts, Town Centre Partnerships, Town Teams and now BCRPs or similar.

At the Revive & Thrive ‘Assessor Inaugural Meeting’ at the town centre offices of Somerset District Council, Yeovil, on Wednesday, 17 October, Mark said they were keen to work with new and long-established BCRPs around the UK to adopt the new online assessment process and accreditation standard.

“We want to help people up their game and be accredited under the new structure. We are good at making things happen and we are good to go live with this scheme,” said Mark, who is also a Powys county councillor.

Revive & Thrive’s crime reduction consultant, Andrew Sharman, explained that the previous accreditation system – Safer Business Award – was administered through only a single Assessing Organisation and had received only patchy response from BCRPs, with, for example, only three accredited schemes in the entire South West of England.

Having a single Assessing Organisation gave traders an opt out, whether for budget or other reasons, and that led to a lack of police confidence and engagement with schemes without accreditation, he said. Now there are two Assessing Organisations and a more open playing field to work with BCRPs to the new NBCC standard.

Andrew told the meeting: “I’m very much on board with it – this is something I’ve been wanting to see for the last ten years. The fact that PCPI, which works on behalf of Police Forces around the country, has taken this on, is really reassuring for partners and organisations and given it that extra credence needed to take it forward.”

He explained why accrediting BCRPs is important.

“Fundamentally, if you don’t have a safe and secure town centre people will not come. You need to have compliant data sharing and you need to have good functioning partnerships between traders, the BCRP, the Business Improvement District (BID), and the local Constabulary.

“To be able to have an Assessing Organisation with a strategic overview, to ensure the role is being carried out in a compliant fashion, and to ensure it has an effective partnership working model, is important. That is what Revive & Thrive will be taking forward.

“Coupled with that, what PCPI will be doing in verifying our work as an Assessing Organisation, is really important too, to give communities confidence and reduce business crime.”

Andrew added: “Constabularies now want to see every scheme assessed and accredited because it will give them that confidence to share information with them,” he said.

At the meeting, the assessors were talked through each of the five category standards – from systems and procedures, governance, and data integrity through to communications, and benefits and objectives – with supporting comments from a representative of Yeovil’s town centre safety partnership.

Although Revive & Thrive has a network of professionals working in this sector, it is looking to expand its team of assessors and wants to hear from professionals who have experience in the police and crime reduction, retail and business or partnership working. For further information about Revive & Thrive and its conference and training events in May 2019 contact:
Tel: 03330 124285


Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI)


Revive & Thrive Business Crime Reduction ServicePolice Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI) has become the accreditation body for Business Crime Reduction Partnerships (BCRPs), which seek to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in towns and cities around the country.
Working closely with Police and Local Authorities, BCRPs bring businesses together to make their communities safer and to combat the adverse impact on profitability caused by crime and the fear of crime.

BCRPs share intelligence to deter and prevent crimes like shoplifting and theft
through to violence and disorder to create safer shopping and business
environments for both the day and night-time economies. PCPI, which is often referred to by its most successful crime prevention initiative, Secured by Design, will be accrediting BCRPs on a set of standards owned by the
National Business Crime Centre (NBCC).

The standards have been created over the last 18 months by a group of industry professionals, led by Martin Blackwell, former Chief Executive Officer, of the Association of Town and City Management and including representatives from the NBCC, leading staff from the BCRP sector and business.

The aim of the BCRP accreditation process is to recognise good practice and
professionalism to ensure they are functioning in an ethical manner and within the law, specifically checks to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation.

The standards include good management practices and procedures such as
membership agreements, data security and compliance with current legislation. It includes having robust information for members and partner organisations that is up to date as well as making it easily accessible 24/7. For some BCRPs, the standards will include the use of CCTV and radio links with members.

It is expected that accreditation will enhance the level of partnership working
nationally and encourage continued, significant, national business investment in  BCRPs.

In addition, the intention is that it will provide reassurance to Police Forces that data shared with BCRP partner organisations will be utilised in a responsible manner to reduce criminal activity.

Jon Cole, PCPI Chief Operating Officer, said: “We want BCRPs and their
businesses, including their management and employees, to feel confident and
empowered to take action to work with Police Forces and Local Authorities to make their local communities safer and stronger.”

Georgina Barnard, NBCC Operational Lead, said: “The standards provide a solid starting point and we intend to review them regularly to ensure that they remain fit for

“We want to promote better and more consistent working between Police Forces and their local BCRPs. By demonstrating that accredited partnerships meet the national standard, we will give Police Forces the confidence to ‘dare to share’ information and
act on the information they receive from BCRPs to promote collaborative working.”

BCRPs are subscription-based, business-led, non-profit making action groups, often
associated with Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), working with Police Forces and Local Authorities to gather intelligence and share information to tackle crime and disorder affecting businesses from multi-chain retailers and small independent shops through to pubs and restaurants and nightclubs. There are believed to be approximately 400 BCRPs operating in the UK. They seek to make their local communities safer places to live, work and visit.
BCRPs are encouraged to contact one of the two Assessing Organisations working with the NBCC that have been authorised to carry out assessments leading to accreditation. They are the National Association of Business Crime Partnerships and Revive & Thrive. Their contact details are below:
National Association of Business Crime Partnerships

Tel: 07861 215 271
Revive & Thrive
Tel: 03330 124285

Dorset’s Marine Electronics Champions Celebrate their 21st Anniversary

Based in Poole, Active Research has grown over the last 21 years from humble beginnings into a market leading manufacturer of intelligent marine electronic products. Celebrating its anniversary, the company has achieved global success and now works with over 70 distributors in 45 countries, stretching from Norway to New Zealand, Canada to Korea and all of mainland Europe.

Working from a small room in his house, CEO Phil Whitehurst founded Active Research in January 1997. It began largely as a consultancy, however quickly realising a niche in the worldwide marine electronics market Phil developed his first Actisense branded products in 2001. Building a reputation for quality features and reliability, the company has since expanded its extensive international network across the globe.

Employing a team of highly skilled professionals, Active Research has, over the past two decades, striven to increase its international exports and produce new innovative products. This has seen Actisense receive numerous awards, including the prestigious NMEA Product of Excellence Award for three consecutive years.

Last year, Actisense was also presented with the British Chamber Awards, Regional Export Business of the Year Award by the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Actisense is currently a finalist in three Blackmore Business Award categories, including the Company of the Year Award, Exporter of the Year Award and Business Person of the Year Award.

Phil Whitehurst, CEO of Actisense said:

“Celebrating our 21st Birthday, we can look back over exceptional growth, multiple award wins and new product developments.  I would like to thank the team for making all these achievements possible. Focusing on increasing our presence in new markets we will encourage future growth and ensure our success for many more decades to come.’’

For more information on Actisense visit:


New Revive & Thrive Market Town Member Chris Windridge introduction……

New Revive & Thrive Market Town Member Chris Windridge introduction……

40 years in IT covering very large systems for commercial and science type uses. Key words. Supercomputers, Large scale projects, Big Data, AI, Data Mining. Big networks,  microwave and fibre connections.

Became involved with the “Town Healthcheck “ a UK Market Towns programme in 2006, setting up a local exercise in Caterham Surrey  “ ABC – A Better Caterham”. 

This led to taking up a “temporary” role in the South East, as a co-ordinator for all towns doing similar exercises for AMT ( Action for Market Towns). The role lasted from 2008 to 2011 and during this time I focussed on the idea of a Healthcheck Mk2 that could cover towns & villages too.  It ended after government cutbacks and a similar initiative succeeded as Neighbourhood Planning.

During the same period The South East Rural Towns Partnership covered the same set of towns across 9 counties, acting as a promoter of ideas and facilitating projects too. I became a director and took on the chair role for the last year of its life. The  government withdrew funding soon after!

The key project for our Healthcheck was called “Shabby to Smart” which in terms of aspiration still summarises our aspirations as a place.

I introduced a loyalty scheme and helped introduce similar schemes in two other towns, meeting Mark Barnes when we had both travelled to Yorkshire to speak at an event about loyalty scemes.

Broadband is a pet topic and encouraging innovation.

When the Localism Act introduced Neighbourhood Planning, we created an alliance locally between 4 parishes , ABC and the towns Business Partnership. That exercise is near completion but it has led to

  • I am available to help others. Particular focus on the economic side of towns and projects, and the strategic imperative to engage local people, business and local government in change.
  • Knowledge of various data sources, funding, methodologies to help generate local plans and improvements
  • Leading a group from 2015 for a local Town Design exercise, to assist in bringing forward economic and spatial improvements, while retaining character.  Linked to a Local Authority  Masterplan exercise . 2015 to 2018

In summary

Since 2006 I have been involved in improving “Our Place”. Learning from others and passing ideas along.  The town went on to launch a Festival – now in its 9th year, bought the Town Hall for £1, launched a Loyalty Scheme, formed a BID, created a Town Design Statement and is involved in a Masterplan and a Neighbourhood Plan.

Although Caterham is not a classic Market Town it has many of the characteristics in being a mid-sized place forming an economic hub for a wider area. In our case London is a big influence too as we sit on Junct 6 of the M25.


Sustainable food cities – Keith Jackson


With the growing debate on the future of the high street and the rise of ‘food deserts’ as quality food stores leave urban areas we should perhaps take time to step back and think about the various functions of the towns and cities which we serve and live in.

It is comparatively easy to see the benefit of regeneration and development of a physical space and done well it  is hugely important because it affects the quality of life of the people who live or work in that space.  What is harder to capture but also affects the quality of people’s lives is the network of services available to them in that space.  One of the key services is the provision of a safe, sustainable and healthy food supply chain.  This supply chain has to be able to supply food from the very basic needs of sustenance to food that allows us to celebrate occasions with friends and family.  In the process this supply chain creates opportunities in  the local economy (from producing to warehousing to retailing and catering).


If the place gets the balance wrong it can lead to food poverty with all the social issues that can create.  A bad food supply chain can also lead to a poor food reputation with all the economic impacts this can bring to a high street.  If a place gets food right it can lead to fewer health problems and a vibrant food economy.

Sustainable Food Cities promote the idea of a holistic approach to food in a place.Their national awards captures part of the hidden partnership of third sector, public sector and private sector organizations that give a place a soul.  To achieve the award a city has to prove it has had impact on six key issues:

  • Promoting healthy and sustainable food to the public.
  • Tackling food poverty, diet-related ill-health and access to affordable healthy food.
  • Building community food knowledge, skills, resources and projects.
  • Promoting a vibrant and diverse sustainable food economy.
  • Transforming catering and food procurement.
  • Reducing waste and the ecological footprint of the food system.

I am really proud that this year our city has been awarded a Bronze Award by the Sustainable Food Cities.  Carlisle is in good company with other award winners been Aberdeen, County Durham, Oldham and Oxford.   It is not an easy award to achieve but with a bit of determination and true partnership working, cities the size of Carlisle (population around 100,000) can sit at the same level as Manchester.

Working towards the award gives the various city stakeholders a common goal ( we all understand the importance of good healthy food) and if your place hasn’t already looked at this award I would suggest you check out .