Let’s make some noise!

Think about these questions :  How does your place create noise to raise its profile?  Does it depend on your audience? Is it strategically planned or does it just happen? Does it matter if the noise is created top down or bottom up?
Jacqui (Thomas Jardine & Co) and Maria (Hawkshead) Relish making noise with Neil (BBC Cumbria)

Think about these questions :  How does your place create noise to raise its profile?  Does it depend on your audience? Is it strategically planned or does it just happen? Does it matter if the noise is created top down or bottom up?

Now let me tell you two stories.  The first is top down noise making, the second is bottom up noise making:

The first is an example of strategic top down noise making…

Carlisle is in the process of developing St Cuthberts Garden Village a large development of up to 10,000 houses, school and work places. This will be a significant addition to a city of around 107,000 residents and is part of the Governments Garden Towns & Villages Programme.  The development aims to raise Carlisle’s housing stock and so the council has worked hard to raise our profile with regional and national house builders.  As part of the Local Plan it is strategically led by the council.  The success of this project will lead to a significant rise in the city’s population and raise our profile with city designers across the country.

This is a prime example of a large expensive project raising the profile of a city and is an important  tactical game that all local authorities have to play.  This form of noise requires careful planning and strategic cooperation across the public and private sector.

The second is an example of ‘just do it’  bottom up noise making…

A small group of Cumbrian food producers regularly attended the Farmshop & Deli Show at the NEC which is possibly the largest trade food and drink show in the UK. They always booked their stands separately and were dispersed across the trade show, this year a couple of them (Lisa and Maria) got together and decided it would be really good to have a Cumbrian pavillion just like the Welsh and the Scottish ones.  So they booked a large space for up to 16 businesses including some shared space for businesses new to the trade show.

Lisa of Ginger Bakers and Maria of Hawkshead Relish then approached Jacqui of Thomas Jardine & Co and Sue of the Fambiznet to help them create a pavilion and fill the other 10 or so spaces.  So in July the noise for ‘this is Cumbria’  started with radio interviews, press releases and hits over the social media world.  The big noise will happen when the pavillion appears at the NEC next April.


This is a fine example of a project created by a business need in a place , supported by other businesses in that place.  This is Cumbria will grow into something that makes a noise about its place disproportionately to the size of its originators.

Why the two examples?  Both examples are heard both in the place and also importantly outside the place by potential residents or businesses.The first is one that naturally gets the attention of planners, city builders and national bodies and definitely makes a noise in these arenas.  The second is typical of sector specific but place based noise makers.  Their noise is heard across their sector but not always by their local planners or city builders.

Let’s all make an effort to hear and harness our local noise wherever it starts from  and in so doing encourage more noise about our places.


Fighting Rural Crime
Fighting Rural Crime
Fighting Rural Crime

Glyn Davies, Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, has pledged his support to the ‘Rural Crime Reporting Line’, a new service for farmers and the public to give information anonymously about rural crime.

Rural crime is a serious issue for farmers, rural businesses and those who live in the countryside, and it can have significant impacts on a farm or another rural business.

Launched by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) in partnership with the Crimestoppers charity, farmers, rural businesses and the public can ring 0800 783 0137 or visit www.ruralcrimereportingline.uk to anonymously give information about crime relating to:

  • large-scale, industrial fly-tipping
  • hare coursing
  • machinery theft
  • livestock theft

Commenting, Glyn Davies MP said:

“Rural crime can have devastating impacts, particularly in areas such as Montgomeryshire. It is vital that we are all vigilant in reporting such crimes, and the new Rural Crime Reporting Line will provide an important tool in helping to rid this blight on our countryside.

 “I fully support the NFU and Crimestoppers in providing a service for farmers and the public to give information anonymously about these crimes. With relevant information being passed to the police, this service could help to provide key leads in the pursuit of criminals, and will significantly aid efforts to tackle rural crime.”

To give information on large-scale, industrial fly-tipping, hare coursing, machinery theft or livestock theft, call the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 783 0137 or go to www.ruralcrimereportingline.uk.

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 baking@at-arwel.co.uk.

Please visit www.at-arwel.co.uk for more information

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

E: alison@pinpointer.uk

T: 0161 850 1400

M: 07870 176949