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 (18th-24th October) and the YTD trend below. Footfall was down by 8.6% compared to w/c 11th October, during which we finally saw numbers back up at pre-pandemic levels. It’s great to see that last week’s temporary dip is being overturned so far this week, with half term bringing in a steady flow of visitors.
The busiest day of last week was Saturday with footfall of 26,484 with peak numbers of visitors seen at around midday (always Newbury’s busiest time of the week!).
This week’s Autumn Budget announcement included some key initiatives which will have an impact on many of you, including the introduction of a new temporary business rates relief in England for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties for 2022/23. Over 90% of retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will receive at least 50% off their business rates bills in 2022/23. The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates will increase from 1 April 2022, and alcohol duties have been frozen until February 2022. You can read a really useful summary of the Autumn Budget from local accountancy firm, UHY Ross Brooke, here.
I know many of you are experiencing staffing issues at the moment and sadly it’s no different for us here at the BID. This is making it very difficult to provide some of our services, including the free weekly cardboard collection. We’ve been speaking to agencies, the Job Centre, and our many contacts to try and find someone over 25 with a full, clean driving licence who can spare a few hours each week to collect the cardboard. If you can recommend someone who may be suitable for this role, please get in touch with us. As a one-off next week, I am going to do the cardboard collection myself to ensure that those signed up don’t miss out on it for another week, as I know many of you value this service.
Our Annual Report 2020/21 is finally online! Thanks for your patience with this. Please note that the information contained in the report is correct as of June 2021 (Year 4 of our 5-year term ended on 31st May 2021). You can read the report here.
A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to Paul Walter at Kennet Radio about all the exciting projects we’re working on at the moment. You can listen back to the interview here (starting at 1:06:30).
Also, earlier this month, I wrote a column for the Newbury Business Today supplement in the Newbury Weekly News (see below). My second column will be in next week’s Newbury Business Today (Thursday 4th November), so do look out for this if you’re a regular reader!
Operations Update from Alison
Halloween – Dragon Show in Newbury today!
- Today we have had a Dragon and Wizard visit Newbury! The FREE Dragon Shows took place at 10.30am at Parkway, 12 noon at Kennet, 2pm at Market Place, and 3.30pm outside Pageant Party in Cheap Street. Hopefully you saw us and joined in the fun!
Christmas Light Switch-On: Saturday 20th November
- This year we have turned the annual switch-on into a day-long Festival! We have arranged over 20 FREE family workshops and try out activities in various venues ahead of the evening staged entertainment to encourage footfall into town. Free activities include Santa’s Grotto, Meet The Grinch, and an amazing variety of free workshops including alternative wreath making and Christmas Tree decorations for all the family to enjoy! The evening staged entertainment in the Market Place will include the lights being switched on by the Mayor Cllr Billy Drummond, Santa himself, and two very special guests – real life princesses from your favourite film! The evening will also have an incredible line-up of local talent and we will be dancing under the stars in the Market Place for sure! Please share and promote the Facebook event listing https://fb.me/e/1lUxxTNc1
Victorian Christmas Fayre: Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th December
- We expect this to be truly special and really hope the town gets behind this exciting new event for Newbury that we hope will bring in footfall from further afield and will form part of our wider Christmas in Newbury marketing campaign! I’m busy organising actors & actresses, walkabout entertainers and local artists to perform to make this really special!
- There are 2 free stall pitches available per day and these will be offered on a first come first served basis so please get in touch with me asap to register your interest, as interest is growing!
- We would love for all the town centre to support this and encourage all public facing staff to dress in Victorian attire for the three days to create a truly immersive and special event for visitors.
- We also encourage all public facing businesses to dress up their window with a Victorian themed display for the duration of the event.
Monthly Artisan Market
- The last dates of 2021 are this Sunday 31 October and Sunday 28 November.
- I have 2 free stall pitches available per market so please get in touch with me to request your space – the actual stall is included, so you only have to rock up with your goods, set them up, and tap into this footfall!
- This Sunday’s market has nearly 70 stalls – it’s growing every month and attracting a great number of visitors into town.
Vegan Market – Sunday 21st November
- After its successful return in August the Vegan Market will also be back again (the day after the Christmas Lights Switch-On) and I have 2 free pitches for this so please get in touch!
- If you will be running any specific Vegan offers, please let us know so we can shout about it and include you in social media comms.
Christmas Lights & Tree
- The Christmas lights that we arrange will be installed w/c 15 November and I’ve booked the Christmas tree for delivery on 15 November!
- We invite ALL BID Members to provide their own Christmas Tree decoration to go on display on the tree to promote your business. We need these from you by no later than 11 November please!
- For those on the free cardboard collection scheme, unfortunately we’re finding it really challenging to find someone to cover this at the moment whilst Shaun is recovering from illness. However, Melissa has volunteered to step in as a one-off next week to make sure your cardboard is collected! She will be doing it on Tuesday, so please make sure your cardboard is ready outside your property by 9am as usual.
- After an extensive due diligence research process, we are delighted to advise that we are now ready to appoint a new supplier! We are just waiting on final funding confirmation from Newbury Town Council and we will soon be able to commence the appointment and installation of a brand new Wi-Fi based CCTV system for the town centre!
BusinessWatch Crime Reduction Scheme
- The next PubWatch meeting will be on Tuesday 9 November at 4pm at The Catherine Wheel.
Marketing Update from Kirsty
Newbury’s First TV Advert
I’m delighted to finally share our Christmas in Newbury TV advert, the first of its kind for Newbury! Click the video above to play the advert. We hope it brings as many smiles as it did to us!
Following on from our most recent comms, have you caught a glimpse of our bus supersides yet? If not, please see below!
Reading Lights Digital Billboard
Please see below artwork currently live on the Reading Lights billboard at Reading station (5th busiest in the UK!).
Our 4-week radio advertising campaign with Kennet Radio went live this week, on 25th October. Listen to the advert below and see the website banner I created to go online alongside the advert this week.
Christmas Lights Switch-On Festival This week I’ve booked the photographer for the lights switch-on, made a start on the official events programme (see map) and created a banner for the event (below), which is now on display in the town centre. I also distributed the posters and flyers I created around the town centre to several buinesses willing to support the event! You can find the Facebook event by clicking here- please help us to promote and share!
This week I produced and submitted various editorials to Newbury Weekly News, Berkshire Primary Times and Absolutely Berkshire (right) for editorial inclusion within their upcoming publications. I also submitted a full page advert to Absolutely Berkshire, and a half page advert to Newbury Weekly News and another full page advert for our ’12 Days of Newbury’ campaign for the NWN Christmas guide, as well as a digital banner as below to increase online presence.
Visit Newbury Loves Local Newsletter
Our fifth Visit Newbury Loves Local Newsletter went live last week! Willow & Bloom, The Catherine Wheel and Camp Hopson were just some of the local businesses highlighted in this month’s comms. To read the newsletter and to subscribe, please click here.
You can read our latest press releases: Newbury Business Improvement District receives funds to support town centre recovery post-pandemic and Newbury Business Improvement District launch new ‘Christmas in Newbury’ marketing campaign online. Both were covered by the Newbury Weekly News which you can read here.
I have finally been able to place an order for our very first Vegan Trail Maps! These will be distributed to all participating businesses and any other businesses who wish to display these at the till or in-store. Please get in touch with me if you’d like a pile of maps. They will also be distributed at our upcoming Vegan Market on 21st November, with the aim to encourage vegan customers to return to Newbury again outside of speciality market days.
Rangers Update from Shaun
Business Community Updates & Shout Outs
Newbury Town Council Update
Community Bulb Planting
Town Council Supports Community Youth Project
Newbury Town Council Newsletter
West Berkshire Council Update
FREE Magazine Promotion for the eco-conscious!
Calling all eco-conscious independent local businesses! WBC would like to hear from you if you are a local business with strong environmental values who could be part of their Christmas magazine for 2021. WBC want to showcase the best independent shops with green agendas to help encourage residents to shop local and shop green this Christmas. So whether you are a farmshop selling locally-sourced produce, or an online craft store with eco-friendly gifts, tell WBC more to be included in the Christmas magazine!
To find out more, and to apply, click here. Deadline for application is 11.59pm 31 October 2021.
West Berkshire Council is hosting a free webinar at 4:00pm on Thursday 18 November to offer detailed advice to local businesses who would like to apply for the Kickstart scheme.
Kickstart is a Government scheme which offers a grant to pay the wages of a young person if you can create a 6-month job placement for them in your business.
New applications must be submitted by 17 December, but you have until 31 March 2022 to recruit through the scheme. If you would like to find out more about the scheme, click here to register for the FREE webinar.
Let's Get Active Fund supports Educafe Free Fitness Classes
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:
- Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 Speech – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Large minimum wage increase to boost low-paid workers’ incomes – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- A stronger economy for the British people – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Budget and Spending Review – October 2021: What you need to know – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Move to lateral flow tests for travel begins today (24 October) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Prime Minister issues vaccine call to arms ahead of winter – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- COVID-19 variants identified in the UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Self Assessment deadline countdown begins – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- UK agrees transition toward new global tax system – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- National flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports published – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Finance for small businesses – 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