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
The busiest day of last week was of course Saturday when the switch-on took place, with footfall of nearly 35,000, and the busiest time of the day was around 11am.
I would like to thank Alison and Kirsty for the REMARKABLE work they both did to help deliver such a successful Christmas Lights Switch-On Festival for Newbury on Saturday. Alison organised the event almost single-handedly, creating the most fabulous programme of activities to draw people into town and maximise their dwell time throughout the day. She was so determined to ensure you, our levy payers, benefitted as much as possible from the event, and she most certainly pulled it off! Kirsty designed and produced every single piece of marketing collateral for the Switch-On, including posters, programmes, adverts, press releases, banners, social media ads, and more, as well as securing £10,000’s local and regional press coverage, incuding interviews with BBC Radio Berkshire and ITV News, organising videography and photography of the event, and decorating the stage beautifully! It was a huge undertaking for such a small team and I cannot express how grateful I am to work with such committed and talented colleagues. Newbury is very lucky to have them!
As with any good organisation, we are committed to a culture of continuous improvement. It is important to celebrate our successes, and it is also important to learn from every experience and keep refining, refining, refining. I don’t believe in perfect (where would the fun be if there was no room for growth and improvement!) and we love receiving feedback – positive or constructive – to help us to improve. Please continue to engage with us and let us know your thoughts – the good, the bad, and the ugly! – about the work we’re doing, so we can keep heading in the right direction.
Last week, I spent an enjoyable hour chatting all things Newbury BID with Paul Allen for his Paul Presents podcast which is featured on the West Berkshire Villagers website. You can listen here if you’re interested in learning more about everything we’re currently working on.
My next column for Newbury Business Today in the Newbury Weekly News is due out next week. If you missed the last one, all about the thinking behind our Christmas plans, please see the snippet below. A big thanks to the paper’s editor, Andy Murrill, who has spoken about the success of Saturday’s event on his Friday slot on BBC Radio Berkshire this lunchtime.
The Giving Tree is an annual campaign West Berkshire Council organises every Christmas as part of their ongoing work, alongside partner organisations, to support, protect and care for victims of domestic abuse. It provides an opportunity for residents in the area to select someone they would like to buy for then go out and purchase a corresponding gift for a child and/or adult victim of Domestic Abuse to give them hope for a better Christmas.
West Berkshire Council would like to ask local businesses to support this campaign by displaying a Giving Tree sticker visibly on your window – this will read ‘We are supporting the Giving Tree here” and is 150x150mm in size.
Stickers will be available for delivery directly to your business or you could choose to collect a sticker from the West Berkshire Council Offices (West Berkshire Council, Market Street, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 5LD). If collection is preferred, this will need to be arranged with Jade Wilder.
Stickers should be placed on the outside of your window and please note when removing the stickers after the campaign has closed, there is a chance that some residue may be left behind.
The Giving Tree will be live from 1 December – 15 December and stickers can be delivered/collected from Monday 29 November.
If you would like to get involved or require further information, please get in touch with Jade Wilder at West Berkshire Council (Jade.Wilder@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519982)
Operations Update from Alison
Christmas Lights Switch-On Festival: Saturday 20th November
WOW is all I can say! Our first ever Christmas Lights Switch-On Festival and what a turn out! By developing the annual switch-on into a full festival and creating a day long programme of free activities and workshops utilising BID levy payers’ venues, the proof was in the pudding! We had over 10,000 people attend the festival throughout the day and the response we have received has been overwhelming! Admittedly there was an incredible amount of work for our small team in the run up along with the fact that we are still a fairly newish team and have never delivered the switch-on event ourselves in this town previously! Despite the challenges faced, we delivered a fantastic event and achieved what our aim was – to bring in footfall for you, our BID levy payers, to benefit from! We are keen to hear your thoughts and feedback on this year’s event so we can review how it will be further developed and enhanced next year. I have lots of my own ideas and I can’t wait to explore them with you and set up a steering group for next year so please do get in touch with me directly!
A massive Thank You to all our wonderful BID levy payers who participated: Kennet Shopping Centre, Parkway Shopping, High Score, The Dolphin, Camp Hopson, Newbury Town Council, Waterside Youth Centre, Colline’s Kitchen, The Globe, The Ugly Duckling, BST Fitness, The Spare Wheel, The Catherine Wheel, Barry Forkin-Toomers, Bas N Books, Boswells, The Works, CeX Store, Kreationz, Hallmark, and House of Bubbles.
A huge Thank You also to Newbury Racecourse as our Sponsor and Newbury Town Council for their support and a massive thanks to all of you who kindly volunteered for us! Last but not least a very special Thank You to Kennet Management for all their support and hard work on the day and also to The Hatchet for allowing us to use the pub as our Event Control (it was closed to the public for refurbishment!).
Victorian Christmas Fayre: Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th December
It’s nearly here – are you ready? The Fayre is next weekend! Look out for our Victorian pickpockets and ladies of the night in the secret Gin Alley and 3 days of entertainment both roaming and on the stage!
Congratulations to our six lucky BID levy payers who put themselves forward and got a free stall: Monkey Tree Café (Fusion Deli), Bill’s, Colline’s Kitchen, Willow & Blooms, Valarie Jerome Optometrist, and Cote!
We also encourage all businesses with public-facing windows to dress up their window with a Victorian themed display for this duration – the more effort we all put in, the better the experience and the more likely visitors will be to return to Newbury!
The town centre will be under a full road closure from 5pm on Thursday 2nd through to 10pm on Sunday 5th December. Access will of course be maintained for deliveries and residents, but please try and rearrange deliveries wherever possible and ensure you advise your suppliers and regular visitors also of the potential impact.
Christmas Lights & Tree
The Christmas Tree arrived on Monday 15th and the tree was definitely not up to the standard we would expect for our beloved town centre! When the tree had been felled, it had been badly damaged and not spotted before being sent to us on a tractor. After much shouting and screaming, I was fortunate enough to be able to secure another tree (although slightly shorter but probably the last 30ft tree available in the entire country!) which was then delivered the following day.
The Christmas lights were successfully installed ahead of the light switch-on but in-case you are wondering where the special Christmas Tree decorations are (from some of you creative BID levy payers), the lights supplier was supposed to install them Saturday night after the switch-on and we are currently waiting for him to return to install them so watch this space.
For those on the free cardboard collection scheme, Shaun will collect the cardboard next week on Wednesday 1st December between 9am – 2pm so please leave out before 9am. If you are interested in joining this FREE scheme, please contact me directly!
BusinessWatch Crime Reduction Scheme
The next Pubwatch meeting will be on Tuesday 7th December at 4pm at Broadway House.
The next Shopsafe meeting will be in January – date TBC.
Marketing Update from Kirsty
The last two weeks have been all-go for our Christmas Lights Switch-On Festival and approaching the Victorian Christmas Fayre!
I’ve been very busy dealing with press enquiries, as we have had several BBC Radio Berkshire interviews over the last two weeks, (did you catch me on the news bulletin between 7am – 2pm all last week until Sunday 21st?), and I have been liaising with ITV to arrange a feature for our Christmas Lights Switch-On Festival. This is incredible news for Newbury, as we have received so much wide-spread free media coverage across the region (I was recognised in the gym this week- which was rather embarrassing!). Please click here to watch our ITV News feature, if you haven’t seen it already. I recently sent out press invites for our Victorian Christmas Fayre, so hopefully we gain some good traction for this brand new, three-day event for Newbury, too!
We also achieved front page coverage on Newbury Weekly News again this week with our recent press release: Switch-On Success: Visitors Flock to Newbury for Christmas Lights Festival (check out Melissa’s mention for the other headliner regarding the Real Ale Festival, too!). I also wrote a blog piece on the fabulous Barry Forkin-Toomers, as Newbury’s longest standing retailer, who hosted Mr Green Grinch and Princess Anna in-store on the day of the switch-on festival. This has been really well received across social media, and is testament to what years of quality service can achieve- well done Barry Forkin-Toomers! You can read the article here.
Have you seen our feature in Muddy Stilettos, recently? Please click here to read what they have to say about our upcoming Victorian Christmas Fayre! Furthermore, our front page advert on Berkshire Primary Times was recently published, providing coverage in over 95% of schools across Berkshire. We’ve also had adverts in the Newbury Weekly News, Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Living and Round and About magazines, and of course, our continual social media adverts and digital placements outdoor and across TV, radio and online.
Our fifth Visit Newbury Loves Local newsletter went out to our email marketing subscribers this week. Subscriber numbers are through the roof at the moment, and if you haven’t subscribed yourself already, please do so by reading the latest email here and hitting subscribe in the top left corner! This month’s newsletter features where to get the best winter warmers from a selection of local coffee shops and cafes, including many of our wonderful indies!
Alongside creating multiple lanyards, signage, further promotional posters and gathering decorations for our Christmas Lights Switch-On, I finished Newbury’s first Events Programme and delivered to all participating businesses, and those who had requested copies, along with venue posters and signage. If you haven’t seen the programme already, please take a look here. I was also on-site for the installation of the Christmas tree to take marketing footage, and later erected the Christmas tree banners, promotional event banners and correx boards for the day of the event around town.
Rangers Update from Shaun
Business Community Updates & Shout Outs
Newbury Town Council Update
Mayor's Christmas Card Competition Winner Announced!
The winner of the Mayor of Newbury’s Christmas Card Competition has been chosen.
This year the Mayor of Newbury, Cllr Billy Drummond, joined forces with the Newbury Weekly News in search of a winning design for the Mayor’s Christmas Card which captures the spirit of Newbury and Christmas. You can view the winning card and read more about it here.
West Berkshire Council Update
What's On Newsletter
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:
- National flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports published – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Bulb customers protected as energy provider enters special administration – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- £1000 boost for nearly 2m working households on Universal Credit – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- National Apprenticeship Week theme ‘Build the Future’ announced for 2022 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Plans unveiled to ban single-use plastics – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- International travel update, 19 November 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- 925 cultural organisations supported by £107 million in latest recovery fund – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Boosters to be added to NHS COVID Pass for travel – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Don’t get ‘Petfished’ this Christmas: Chief Veterinary Officer warns the public about deceitful pet sellers – 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