CEO Update from Melissa
Please see the footfall stats for last week (21st-27th June) and the YTD trend below. Visitor numbers were down slightly again, with a drop of 2.3% compared to the previous week, which is likely a result of 5 of the 7 days being grey and wet. Even Sunday’s Artisan Market didn’t draw quite so many visitors as last time due to the weather. Compared to the same week two years ago, footfall levels were around 71% of normal levels.
So far this week (Mon 28th-Thu 1st) footfall is back up 4% week-on-week and we’ll hopefully see this trend continue throughout the weekend (although the weather might well have other ideas!).
The busiest day of last week was Saturday 26th with footfall of 26,278, with peak levels of visitors seen at around midday.
ACTION: A reminder to have your say on the draft Newbury Vision and share it with colleagues, friends and family to help generate as many survey responses as possible. The final Newbury Vision will provide a blueprint for planning decisions going forward and it is vital that it reflects what people who live in, work in, and visit the town want and need. You can read the draft Newbury Vision here. A public survey to respond to the draft Newbury Vision is now open and can be completed here.
I was introduced a while back to Tom Macdonald, Berkshire Grant Coordinator for Low Carbon Workspaces, an organisation which is offering SMEs match-funded grants of up to £5,000 to cover a third of the cost of energy efficiency measures at commercial premises. Low Carbon Workspaces is an ERDF funded grant scheme, which helps to relieve the upfront, capital costs of upgrade projects such as lighting, heating and renewable energy systems, helping you lower your carbon emissions and your energy bills. You can find out more about eligibility and the applications process here. Tom’s contact details are 01494 927164 / Thomas.Macdonald@ngagesolutions.co.uk if you’d like to speak to him directly.
Operations Update from Alison
This week, in between cheering on England, I have been busy planning for our exciting summer events! I’m looking ahead for all restrictions being lifted shortly so that we can really start encouraging footfall back into town and create some fun and memorable experiences for all. Events are such wonderful footfall drivers and hopefully the majority of our members will benefit from these. Dates which are already firmly fixed for your diaries are:
Family Fun Days
Wednesday 28th July
Wednesday 11th August
Tuesday 24th August
Summer Series (Music in the Square)
Sunday 25th July
Sunday 1st August
Sunday 15th August
Sunday 29th August
ACTION: If you would like to get involved in any of the events to host an activity instore, offer a promotion, volunteer your time or simply if you just have a good suggestion, please do contact me for a chat.
The events programme shall be finalised shortly and we will then start marketing them. We’ll email you the details so that you can all share and promote through your networks. It’s so important that we all actively promote these events for the greater good of everyone in the town centre. As part of the planning, I’ve reached out to all the Market Place hospitality operators and I’d like to thank those that met with me to discuss our plans and for being so supportive! I have also met with various suppliers, providers and BID members to progress plans further. Also this week, Melissa and I held a Business 1:1 with The Dolphin. It was great to catch up with Ed again and we also met with the new Manager at Camp Hopson, so a big welcome to Madeleine there!
ACTION: We were delighted with the second Artisan Market of the year last Sunday! Despite the grotty weather, we had a great turnout and feedback received from both traders and the public was that they love it! If you would like to apply for a FREE STALL at this month’s Artisan Market on Sunday 25th July, please register your interest with me ASAP.
ACTION: The Protect Duty consultation by Government finishes at 11.45pm tonight (Friday 2nd July), so please do respond to this if you haven’t already. This will affect the majority of you as business owners if the proposed legislation is approved and will mean you will have to implement suitable Counter Terrorism measures following the Manchester Arena attack. Protect Duty – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) If you feel as strongly as I do about this Government consultation, please do raise it with our local MP – Laura Farris (and copy me in) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Marketing Update from Kirsty
I can’t believe it’s July already (is it just me?)! As ANOTHER month draws to a close, it’s that time again where I share the end of month data across our marketing channels.
As before, I’ve produced the following graphs to highlight progress, which I’m pleased to share is steadily increasing across social media, and website traffic.
In June, we saw exponential growth across page read time yet again, with pages such as ‘Parking‘ (the 10th most viewed page in June) receiving a 7:34 minute read time. This is 387.27% higher than average page read time across the Visit Newbury site, and a huge 632.25% higher than the average page view time of 62 seconds across industries (according to Content Square’s 2021 Digital Experience Benchmark Report). Not only this, but ‘Location‘ is June’s 5th most viewed page, suggesting a new audience is looking to visit Newbury and, more so, where to park on arrival. Another statistic shows that 85.7% of this month’s web users are unique (completely new to the site), further supporting this theory.
Alongside a growing social media following across all our key platforms, over the last month we have also seen significant figures across page reach, actions on page, and post engagement, to name a few. On Instagram, we’ve received 80 new followers since 1st June and reached 4k+ Instagram accounts, receiving 22k+ impressions. Our Twitter page received 900 profile visits and nearly 10k impressions throughout June.
Our Digital Advertising Exchange (DAX) audio advert (see last week’s comms) launched this week on Wednesday 28th-hoorah! It’s very early days but I’m pleased to share that so far we have received nearly 8.5k impressions, of which 95.2% have listened to the advert in its entirety (currently above the 80-90% average). It’s also interesting to see a breakdown of which platforms we’re seeing the most success. For instance, of the 63% of listeners who come through Smart Speakers (Amazon Echo, Google Nest etc), 95.8% have listened to the advert all the way through, a further increase on the average figure. This is exciting news, and I look forward to sharing progress with you as the campaign continues.
NEW Adverts Live!
NEW Press Release: Visit Newbury Announce the return of the Vegan Market
NEW Email Marketing
Alongside the above and providing regular business support, booking in town traders, and daily social media updates, I also attended some digital marketing training- knowledge is key!
ACTION: Is your retail or hospitality business keen to offer any vegan-specific promotions or provide an increase of vegan-friendly products in-store exclusively for Vegan Market day? If so, please email me so these can be promoted in our Visit Newbury marketing and also on the Newbury Vegan Market events page and Vegan Fairs website.
ACTION: We’re looking for businesses happy to promote our Vegan Market by displaying posters in their store front / shop window. These will be distributed once the market operator has the copy finalised, and so please get in touch with me if you’re keen to get involved!
ACTION: A reminder that I’m looking to host a professional photoshoot within the town centre to capture a series of lifestyle imagery to promote Newbury going forward. I’m still looking to cast between 10-15 people from all ethnicities, genders and ages to be in these images in the town centre. Shoot day is TBC but is due to be sometime in July. This is not a paid opportunity. I’m looking primarily for the following:
x 1 couple aged 26-32
x 1 couple aged 35-45
x 1 young family of four with primary aged children
x 1 older family of 3 or 4 with secondary school aged children
x group of 4-6 women aged between 26-45
Thanks to those who have already expressed an interest. Please get in touch with me if you’re keen to be involved. Participants must be willing to provide photos and answer a series of questions upon expressing their interest.
ACTION: Don’t forget the Independents’ Day UK campaign is coming up on 4th July. We will be doing a big push on this from campaign launch on Sunday, but if you’re interested in getting involved yourself, click here to see some useful pointers from maybe Tech. Additionally, small business advice and inspiration company, Holly & Co., are offering FREE marketing kits for you to download so that your business can get involved and support the day! Click here to claim yours.
Rangers Update from Shaun
Business Community Updates & Shout Outs
ACTION: Kennet Radio’s Nick Burrett is doing a new feature on his show and if you run a business in and around Newbury and Thatcham, he can give you a FREE mention on Kennet Radio! Nick hosts the show on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 10 am and 1 pm and would like to find some local businesses to be ”Workplace Of The Day”. This would involve recording a 5-minute interview about your business and getting 5 song requests from you and your colleagues. If you would like to take part, then please schedule a Zoom call with Nick by clicking here.
West Berkshire Libraries has just launched its Summer Reading Challenge! The challenge is for both adults and children and the Libraries will be awarding medals and certificates for everyone who completes the challenge- there’s also a chance to win a new tablet! Click here to read more.
Newbury Town Council Update
Newbury Town Council’s annual Mayor Making ceremony took place on Sunday 27th June. The event celebrated the election of the new Mayor & Deputy Mayor in front of local dignitaries, organisations and their friends and family. You can read more about it here. Melissa and our Chair, Warwick Heskins, attendedon behalf of the BID.
ACTION: The Town Council has now been granted planning permission for the long-awaited Community Café in Victoria Park. In order to meet the construction costs of the Café the Council proposes to raise a loan of up to £300,000.The Community Cafe is estimated to cost from between £400,000 to £450,000, of which £150,000 will be provided from the Council’s reserves and accumulated Community Infrastructure Levies. The balance of the funding will be provided through a loan from the Public Works Loan Board. The consultation is live on the Town Council’s website and runs until 31 July 2021, and you can read more about it here. Please do take part in the consultation and have your say.
Newbury Town Council has recently awarded a total of £13,395 to 19 local charities to support them in their work for the community in Newbury. You can read the full press release here.
West Berkshire Council Update
West Berkshire Council have adopted a refreshed version of their Economic Development Strategy. This is a key document that sets out the short, medium, long-term and ongoing actions for their Economic Development Team.
The refreshed strategy has a focus on recovery. The Council has developed actions in the four areas seen to have the most relevance locally. These are:
- People – good jobs and greater earning power for all in West Berkshire
- Places – creating prosperous communities across West Berkshire
- Infrastructure – future-proofing West Berkshire’s infrastructure
- Business Environment – making West Berkshire the best place to start a grow a business
You can read the Economic Development Strategy June 2021 Refresh here.
West Berkshire's Business Newsletter
West Berkshire Council’s latest Business Newsletter can be read here. It contains lots of useful updates, including information about a new Peer Networks Programme for Berkshire business leaders, changes to the furlough scheme, £1,000 employer incentives for T-Level industry placements, free workshops for small businesses and start-ups from The Real Business Club, and a reminder of the Kickstart Scheme, which is available for the next 6 months.
Residents' News Bulletin
Health and Wellbeing Strategy
Mental Health Support
Thames Valley Police Update
There are no specific updates from TVP this week.
The Prime Minister announced a delay to Step 4 of the Roadmap last week. Additional information and support includes:
- Free asymptomatic workplace testing has been extended for a month until the end of July. The new final date to order workplace tests is 19 July.
- The government will introduce legislation to help protect businesses that have been closed during the pandemic from eviction. The legislation will ringfence any arrears and enable tenants and landlords to work together to agree a solution for payment, and will provide for an independent arbitration process if they cannot reach agreement. The existing measures to protect commercial tenants from eviction will be also be extended to March next year.
- Businesses which have already accessed a Restart Grant but remain severely impacted by the extension of restrictions may be eligible for a further Additional Restrictions Grant payment. The grants are to support businesses to relieve cash flow pressures as they reopen, for example buying stock ahead of reopening. Businesses should contact West Berkshire Council to check what discretionary funds are available here in Newbury.
Help to Grow
Help to Grow: Management and Help to Grow: Digital are open for registrations from SMEs. You can find all the details here.
Together for Our Planet
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have launched the Together for our Planet ‘Business Climate Leaders’ campaign. The campaign is a new drive to encourage small and micro businesses to commit to cutting their emissions in half by 2030 and to net zero by 2050 or sooner through the new UK Business Climate Hub.
Shared Parental Leave
A new online tool will help expectant parents access and understand Shared Parental Leave and Pay. Parents will be able to check their eligibility for the scheme, calculate their pay entitlement, as well as downloading all the documents they need to secure leave from their employer.
BEIS have announced the creation of a new workers’ watchdog to protect the rights of UK workers, taking responsibility for tackling modern slavery, enforcing the minimum wage and protecting agency workers. Currently spread across 3 different bodies, these will be brought under one roof, creating a comprehensive new authority.
Here are links to the latest updates from the Government:
- PCA is requiring Punch Pubs to verify its Code compliance after it accepts it has a statutory duty to provide Rent Proposals to new tenants – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Home building stats show continued increase in starts and completions despite pandemic – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Chancellor sets out how UK financial services can create prosperity at home and project values abroad in first Mansion House speech – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Data revolution set to improve rail travel for passengers – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- New subsidy system to support UK jobs and businesses, boost the economy and strengthen the union – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- New funding to support UK professional and business services regulators – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Almost 800,000 tax relief claims for working from home – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Highways England plans £142 million investment to improve roads in the South East – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Government publishes Events Research Programme report – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Events, Resources & Industry News
- 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