CEO Update from Melissa
Please see the footfall stats for last week (24th-30th May) and the YTD trend below. Visitor numbers were up a healthy 6.3% week-on-week and it surpassed w/c 12th April as the busiest week in town since March 2020. The overall visitor numbers were boosted by the return of our Artisan Market on Sunday, which was the busiest Sunday we’ve seen since 8th March 2020, with a 16.2% increase compared to the previous Sunday. Compared to the same week two years ago, footfall levels were around 77% of normal levels.
So far this week (Mon 31st-Thu 3rd) footfall is up another 10.2% week-on-week. It’s fantastic seeing so many people visit Newbury during this half term holiday and hopefully we’ll see this trend continue throughout the weekend.
The busiest day of last week was Saturday 29th with footfall of 25,204, with peak levels of visitors seen at around midday.
Operations Update from Alison
A busy week catching up after my week off last week (when I very much enjoyed walking around the Cotswolds for a couple of days)!
The Artisan Market restarted last Sunday and WOW! What an amazing response as it brought in so much footfall for the town centre! We have been delighted to hear from so many of you this week with positive tales of your increase in sales last Sunday as a direct result of the market! We look forward to it again at the end of this month on Sunday 27th June.
This week I have been collating the responses received from our call out for local artists and musicians to perform in town as part of our Summer Sundays Series. We have had a fantastic response with over 40 artists registering their interest so I’m reviewing each and every one and currently shortlisting for the best local talent! I have also had a meeting with Kennet Radio who are providing support and promoting the opportunity to their favourite local artists! Watch this space for the programme to be announced shortly!
I have attended the South Midlands Business Crime Reduction Group so we can continue to improve our BusinessWatch crime reduction scheme here in Newbury! Melissa and I also attended a meeting with YES Events from Basingstoke to hear what they are planning and explore any possible collaborations and we also met with the new Mayor from Newbury Town Council Cllr Billy Drummond to understand what his priorities are going forward for the town. This afternoon I have also attended the LGA’s (Local Government Association) Learning & Insights from the Mass Events Pilots Webinar.
Discussions also continue with Newbury Town Council for our request to use the Market Place so we can deliver some exciting large scale 3-day events that will draw in significant footfall. Our request is to either incorporate or relocate the Saturday Charter Market so that we can utilise the Market Place to its full potential and encourage more footfall to that part of town. We are looking at a Food & Drink Festival for 3, 4 & 5 September and a Victorian Christmas Fayre on 3, 4 & 5 December. Discussions continue and more news will follow shortly so watch this space!
Date for your diary – our annual Christmas Light Switch On event will take place on Saturday 20th November so get that date booked in your diary ready for some festive cheer!
ACTION: On the subject of Christmas, you will hopefully recall we advised you earlier in the year that Newbury Racecourse have submitted a proposal for a Christmas Carnival event to take place for a 6 week duration for the next 5 years at the Racecourse. We strongly encourage you to review and respond to their Planning Application as such an event could possibly have a significant impact on the town centre! The planning application reference is 21/01079/COMIND and the application can be viewed here. Comments to the planning application proposals can be made directly through the website, by email (to: email@example.com) quoting the planning application reference number (21/01079/COMIND) or by writing to the Council. Please feel free to contact me directly if you wish to discuss!
ACTION: It is really wonderful to see our Chocolate Trail event doing so well this week with over 600 families already participated in the trail around town! For those of you who have participated as hosts, please note that the chocolate bar collection will now take place next Wednesday 9th June between 10am – 4pm so you must be available at this time for the Parkway Team to collect your bar and stickers!
Marketing Update from Kirsty
It’s that time of the year where we’ve waved goodbye to another month and welcomed a new one (can you believe it’s June already?!) With this in mind, I have some marketing-specific data to share with you for the month of May.
To highlight growth, I’ve produced the below graphs which provide data dating back to 1st January 2020. It’s positive news to see a continual steady increase across social media, and even more promising to see such a significant increase in website traffic! No thanks to our sparkly new website, not only have we seen a direct increase in referral traffic coming through from across our social networks, but we can see a real thirst from web-users wanting to explore Newbury, with pages such as events, attractions, and location, proving to be very popular.
We’re delighted to see that our Re-Visit Newbury page is the fourth most viewed page across the whole site, with an average read time of 4:07 minutes– an outstanding figure in terms of webpage dwell time. Our average read time across the whole site is around 1:30 minutes, which is still a very good average and an increase of 10.16%, since January 2020.
Below is a like-for-like comparison of the number of page views and users across the Visit Newbury website, for 1st January 2020 – 31st May 2020, vs. 1st January 2021 – 31st May 2021.
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 achieved +16.7% greater reach than the previous month, and reached +21.1% more accounts that don’t currently follow the Visit Newbury Instagram account. Our Twitter page received a +65% increase in profile visits over the last 30 days, and our tweet impressions went up by +23.4%, reaching 18.2k users this month.
NEW Press Release: Surge in Footfall for Newbury thanks to the return of the Artisan Market
NEW Press Release: Show Love for your Special Lockdown Place
ACTION: If you have not yet sent over your business update for reopening, please email the details to me via firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Please help to support the campaign and drive visitors back to Newbury by sharing our content and engaging with our @VisitNewbury social platforms and website.
Rangers Update from Shaun
My Rota for w/c 7th June 2021
Monday: London Road
Tuesday: Northbrook Street, West Street and Weavers Walk
Wednesday: Kennet Centre, north end of Bartholomew Street, Market Place and Wharf Street
Thursday: Cheap Street, Market Street and south end of Bartholomew Street including Inches Yard
Friday: Oxford Street including Saddlers Court and mop up day all over town
Business Community Updates & Shout Outs
Berkshire School of English is searching for businesses who would be interested in taking on some of its pupils on a work experience basis. Many pupils offer a wealth of experience and varied skill sets, and this could well be a truly rewarding experience for you as an employer, as well as for the student. Please email kirsty@newburybid if you’re interested in getting involved.
ACTION: Does your business or office space have a few seats or hot desks going spare? A not-for-profit and community-led organisation with a strong charity focus is desperate for a small space their team of four can work from intermittently in the town centre. If you’re feeling charitable during these hard times and think you could accommodate them, please email email@example.com to express an interest and we will be happy to share more details.
Newbury Town Council Update
Since the 5th of May, Newbury Town Council (NTC) has been participating in the Sandleford planning appeal Inquiry over the proposed development of 1,080 new homes on Sandleford Park, Newbury. You can read more about it by clicking here.
West Berkshire Council Update
Welcome Back Business Grants
West Berkshire Council has launched a new grant scheme designed to drive footfall into high streets and shopping areas and support our visitor economy this summer.
They are inviting businesses to apply for Welcome Back Business Grants of between £1,000 – £10,000, which can be used to implement temporary changes or host celebratory events that will allow you to welcome additional visitors and encourage new footfall.
Some examples of what could be funded are: temporary tables and chairs that allow you to seat additional visitors, gazebos to make use of outdoor space, or event activities that attract customers and celebrate reopening.
The deadline for applications is 21 June 2021, but WBC will be reviewing proposals on a rolling basis and aim to respond to everyone by 2 July.
ACTION: Please get in touch with Melissa or Alison if you would like any support in refining your ideas and submitting an application. We’d strongly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity for additional funding to help you draw additional visitors to your business over the coming months!
Covid-19 Toolkit for Businesses
The Public Protection Partnership has put together an essential Covid-19 Toolkit for local businesses which contains logistics resources, a risk assessment template and action plan, communications and other guidance:
The Government website also contains various useful resources:
ACTION: If you don’t already receive it, we would strongly advise subscribing to West Berkshire Council’s business newsletter which contains lots of useful information and signposting. You can view the latest issue and subscribe yourself here.
Mental Health Support
Thames Valley Police Update
There are no specific updates from TVP this week.
Here are links to the latest updates from the Government:
- Lord Chancellor outlines his plans to recover the justice system from COVID-19 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- The MHRA concludes positive safety profile for Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Government and life science industry join forces on 100 Days Mission for future pandemics – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Prime Minister Covid recovery meeting with the First Ministers and Deputy First Minister – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Portugal moved to amber list to guard public health against variants of concern following first traffic light review – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Over half of UK adults vaccinated with second dose – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Procurement teams must consider wider benefits of public spending – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- COP26 President: “All over the planet, young people are leading the charge against climate change” – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Plan for Jobs is working with 1.3 million employees moving off furlough in March and April – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Care leavers and homeless people could receive extra housing support – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- G7 Chair’s statement on vaccine confidence – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Scams warning for tax credits customers – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Drivers urged to clean up their act as part of national spring clean – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Cash boost for apprenticeships launched – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Changes to Companies House protected online filing (PROOF) service will enhance security of company filings – 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