Welcome to your fortnightly update from the Newbury BID team, including the latest news from the business community, Newbury Town Council, West Berkshire Council, Thames Valley Police, and the Government. Look out for actions highlighted below!
CEO Update from Melissa
Please see the footfall stats for last week (6th-12th September) and the YTD trend below. Footfall dropped by 4.1% compared to the week before, with the return to school having an impact on the number of visitors to the town centre. Footfall so far this week is back up 3.7% week-on-week so it looks to have been a temporary decline.
The busiest day of last week was Saturday with footfall of 27,594 (a very busy Saturday thanks I’m sure to the Real Ale Festival!) with peak numbers of visitors seen at around 11am.
ACTION: Levy payers will hopefully have received another reminder email on Friday to take part in our BID 2022-2027 “Taking Newbury to the Next Level” consultation. You can view our consultation document online here. Please let us know via email if you are a levy payer and you have not received your personalised email to take part in the consultation survey (it’s worth checking your junk folder first, just in case it’s made its way into there!).
Since our last update, we’ve delivered a successful Food & Drink Festival in the town centre. It was wonderful to see Bartholomew Street buzzing all day and into the evening – the atmosphere was fantastic! We’re hoping this will become a regular event, and next time we’ll have a much longer window to plan and promote it. There’s clearly strong demand for events of this kind and the feedback we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive. Thanks to all the businesses which shared leaflets with us to hand out on the day. Shaun and I enjoyed speaking to lots of people, some new to the town in recent months who were delighted to see everything Newbury has to offer.
Thanks very much to those of you who attended our recent Meet the BID Board meetings and a special thank you to the Chequers Hotel and Regus, who provided the venues for these free of charge. Sadly, I had to miss the sessions due to a family bereavement, but I understand some excellent discussions took place. Due to our huge workload in the lead up to Christmas and the ballot, we’re not going to hold any further Talk of the Town events until 2022, but there will be lots of opportunities for you to speak to our team and board members on a one-to-one basis over the coming months as part of our consultation process.
Thanks also to those of you who attended our informal Indies Networking event as a preview to the Newbury Real Ale Festival. This event is one of the highlights of the Newbury events calendar and we were delighted to be able to support it with the Visit Newbury brand this year. Around 4,500 people descended on Northcroft Park for the festival and it was wonderful to see many people in great spirits. Events like these are all part of what makes a place special and they help to ensure that Newbury is a place that people want to live in, work in, and visit again and again.
On Thursday, I attended the latest meeting of the Town Centre Working Group and heard from Wayne Hemingway about the results of the second survey conducted as part of the Newbury Town Centre Masterplan. Around 1,000 people responded to this survey and feedback was overwhelmingly in favour of permanent pedestrianisation throughout the town centre, specifically to allow more space for spill-out cafes, pubs and restaurants. West Berkshire Council have been conducting a traffic study and the findings of this will be analysed alongside the survey findings to help guide the next steps. Survey respondents were very clear that Market Place, The Wharf, Northbrook Street and Newbury’s lanes are important to them, but all areas of the town received strong scores. People want to see more space for events, much better use of The Wharf and canalside areas, and plenty of opportunities for independent shops and venues. The final vision will be completed by Hemingway Design by the end of October and WBC will use it to inform future decisions.
I am on holiday for the next two weeks and will be back at work w/c 4th October. Alison or Kirsty can be contacted if there’s anything you need in my absence.
Operations Update from Alison
Alison has been on holiday this week and will return to work on Monday 20th September.
ACTION: 2021 Radio Audit – for those of you who have a radio, Shaun will undertake the annual Radio Audit w/c 27th September so please liaise with him directly to confirm your appointment that week.
Marketing Update from Kirsty
This week has been all go for both Halloween and Christmas- yes, Christmas! Having secured funding from West Berkshire Council as part of the Government’s Welcome Back Fund, I’ve been busy working away on the Christmas marketing and communications strategy in the hope that we can make this Christmas the best in Newbury yet!
With a bigger budget to spend on highly geo-targeted and relevant campaigns, not only will we deliver a Victorian Christmas Fayre this year, but we are also aiming to produce a TV advert for Newbury, digital billboards, bus superside advertisements and much much more, as part of our wider audience campaign. I am also producing a separate campaign for our locally-focussed audience segment, which should see the erection of town centre lamp post banners around the town centre, local radio adverts and more to promote our Christmas Lights Switch-On event and Victorian Christmas Fayre, driving town centre footfall over the festive season. A lot of preparation and planning goes into these projects, so watch this space for more details!
Please see our latest press release online here, which was published in the Newbury Weekly News and in Round and About Magazine Berkshire, as below. This is great news for us earning free wide-spread coverage! Local Businesses Nominate Outstanding Staff for Prize Giveaway. Please help us to promote this by sharing the articles across your networks.
ACTION: Could your hospitality business benefit from some top-level, super useful social media training in time for the festive period?
If 10 or more hospitality businesses are interested in attending the above, we will deliver the session focussed on achieving those all important Christmas bookings! Hosted by myself, with a background in social media and marketing management for numerous restaurant clients, this is totally FREE and something I would love to share with you should there be enough interest! Please contact me if you are interested in attending. DATE: TBC, but I aim to host this during the last week of September.
Alongside the above, I presented at two of our recent Talk of the Town: Meet the BID Board meetings last week, worked on content for the Newbury Real Ale Festival, and have been managing various projects and overseeing my usual social media, business support and town centre booking enquiries.
Rangers Update from Shaun
Due to my recent sickness, I’m mainly desk-bound but am slowly venturing out each day to continue my business visits and checking-in on everything in the town centre. It’s been great to slowly start seeing everyone again!
I have collected radios from businesses which are no longer part of the BusinessWatch scheme, initiated a meeting with DISC app providers to learn how to attract more people to join and use the scheme, and I’ve also been working on a list of Christmas tree suppliers so that we can source a really fab tree for the town this year! I removed all out-of-date posters that remained from several events to help clear up the town, and have set-up a meeting with the WBC waste team next week to note any areas that need cleaning and to propose a plan of action.
The next ShopSafe meeting will take place on 23rd September at 10am for ShopSafe Members.
If you would like to arrange a 1:1 with me at any time to catch up or raise any issues or queries with me directly, please do contact me.
I will be undertaking the 2021 Radio Audit w/c 27th September – 1st October and have emailed all of you who have a radio so please get in touch asap to confirm your appointment that week with me.
Business Community Updates & Shout Outs
Thank you again to all of you who nominated your deserving members of staff to win a free pair of tickets to Newbury Real Ale Festival! We are happy to announce the winners were as follows:
Blues Smoke House, Jean Marc-Bidegain
bstFitness, Milena Skrodzka
Grape Tree, Izzy
Hamptons, Deborah Giacobbi
Jack Wills, Kaya Huszarik
MAXX Design, Stephen Cripps
Newbury Town Council, Elisa Mullen
Outsource International Limited, John Webber
Pizza Express, Joe
Ripples, Amanda Day
Roderick Anthony, Leanne Fayers Hallin
Shoe Zone, JK
TaxAssist Accountants, Julie Moore
We Buy, Nathan Holland
Willow and Blooms, Naomi Carolan
We very much hope you all enjoyed the day!
A message from Mandy, the owner of Pageant Party in Cheap Street: We all know what a tough year it has been for hospitality and events based businesses, us included! I would love to reach out to all pubs, cafes, hotels, or any business really, who will be hosting a Christmas party or event. I understand with everything, that budget limitations may apply for many of you, which we are more than happy to work around, to see what we can offer to make you stand out. I love being able to help my customers celebrate better, and I just feel that I can also help my fellow businesses as well! If you are interested, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01635 552244 or even send a social media message. If you are able to include your ideas on colour schemes, budget and any location preferences in your message, that would be appreciated.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Newbury Town Council Update
Newbury’s ‘Best Kept Allotment’ awards were presented at Victoria Park Bandstand on Tuesday evening. You can read more about the awards here.
Tomorrow, from 10am to 2pm, Newbury Town Council will be opening its doors to the public, as part of England’s Heritage Open Days events. There will be a special display which will focus on the history of Newbury Market, former Mayors who worked in the food industry and the Town Council’s Allotments and Edible Crop initiative as part of Heritage Open Day’s ‘Edible England’ theme for the year. The event will be part of a celebration of the whole of West Berkshire’s market offerings. You can read more about it here.
The Newbury Town Council September Newsletter is out now, please click here to read.
The Leader of the Council is aiming to raise £500 for the Mayor of Newbury’s chosen charity, Speakability. Cllr Martin Colston will be cycling 500 miles in 6 days in the Highlands of Scotland on the North Coast 500 route. You can learn more about his journey and how to donate here.
West Berkshire Council Update
West Berkshire Council will be welcoming three Afghan refugee families in to the district and will be supporting them to settle in the UK. If you would like to play your part to help those in need, please follow the links below:
Afghanistan housing portal – offers of support – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Help refugees who have come to the UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Covid-19 News Update- 10th September
Mental Health Support
Coronavirus Lateral Flow Testing for Businesses
The government are encouraging businesses to take regular lateral flow tests in the workplace. It’s easy to get a lateral flow test. Your staff can simply order kits online here, or find their nearest collect site using this link. Tests are free, and the whole process only takes a few minutes. Let’s work together to act responsibly and stop the spread!
Here are links to the latest updates from the Government:
- Confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants identified in UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report published – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Weekly national flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports published – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Shielding programme ends for most vulnerable – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Temporary medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccination of people working or deployed in care homes – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- MHRA statement on COVID-19 booster vaccines – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Prime Minister sets out autumn and winter Covid plan – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- PM statement at coronavirus press conference: 14 September 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Most vulnerable to be offered COVID-19 booster vaccines from next week – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- JCVI issues updated advice on COVID-19 booster vaccination – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Prime Minister to set out autumn and winter plan for Covid – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Young people aged 12 to 15 to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Universal vaccination of children and young people aged 12 to 15 years against COVID-19 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Events, Resources & Industry News
Business support during the COVID-19 crisis is available from the following organisations:
- West Berkshire Council – COVID-19 information for businesses – https://info.westberks.gov.uk/coronavirus-business
- Public Protection Partnership – advice and support on COVID guidelines and regulations – https://publicprotectionpartnership.org.uk/covid-19/
- Business Growth Hub – free COVID advice and support for businesses in Berkshire – https://www.berkshirebusinesshub.co.uk/
- Government – summary of COVID support available for businesses – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support