Weekly Update from Newbury BID 04/06/21

Weekly Update from Newbury BID
Welcome to your weekly 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!


Melissa Hughes, CEO, Newbury BID

CEO Update from Melissa

Footfall Update

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.

Footfall by week commencing 24.05.21
Footfall by week YOY commencing 24.05.21
General Update
Welcome Back Insta logo
Katharine and Sam from West Berkshire Council’s Economic Development team, along with Councillor Ross Mackinnon, are holding a webinar about the Welcome Back Business Grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 next week. It’s taking place from 2pm-3pm on Wednesday 9th June and it will be a great opportunity to discuss possible activities, ask any questions, and explore ideas you may have for funding bids. You can register via the link at the bottom of this page.
On Tuesday morning, I was a guest at a Sterling Networks virtual networking meeting hosted by Metro Bank. It was a great opportunity to meet a group of local professionals and learn more about their businesses, plus receive some useful feedback about their experiences in Newbury town centre. If you would like to attend one of their Newbury Breakfast meetings as a guest, you can book online here for £7.99+vat per person. The group is led by Gary Hooper from The Mortgage Company and meetings take place fortnightly on Tuesday mornings from 7:15am-8:45am (virtually for now, but they will soon be in person at Metro Bank in Northbrook Street).
Sterling Network Groups
Newbury BID Team
This week signalled the start of Year 5 of our 5-year BID term and we kicked it off with a team meeting to set out our vision of how we’d like to feel by this time next year and what needs to happen in the next 12 months to ensure we achieve the feelings of accomplishment, pride, excitement, satisfaction, happiness, positivity, and achievement we’re striving for. We then set out the key projects we need to deliver during this financial year to help us achieve our goals. Look out for my CEO Board Report next week for a summary of key objectives and projects for 2021/22.
I really enjoyed being on the panel for the UK Property Forums webinar about Eagle Quarter last week. You can read more about the discussions here. It’s an exciting time here in Newbury, with lots of change potentially on the horizon. In particular, I can’t wait to see the initial options from Hemingway Design for the Newbury Town Centre Masterplan during our Newbury Town Centre Working Group meeting next week. I love seeing a place evolve and grow, and Newbury has so much untapped potential waiting to be unleashed. It’s already such a great place to live and work. Over the coming years I can see it becoming a truly exceptional place and that’s certainly the vision we’ll be working towards here at the BID.
Spotlight on Eagle Quarter

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: planapps@westberks.gov.uk) 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.

Over the last 30 days, in addition to our organic reach, we achieved these results as a result of our digital advertising efforts across Instagram and Facebook. Taking our organic activity into account, last month we reached a total of 48k+ users (+108% increase) across Facebook alone. Our post engagement figures reached 8k (+74%) and actions taken on our page also increased by +33%.
As well as my regular social media updates and business support this week, I had a meeting with the Great West Way team to understand how to best utilise our partnership going forward and implement marketing strategy. I’ve also held meetings with numerous advertisers as Melissa and I have now finalised plans for the marketing channels we wish to pursue going forward. I’m pleased to say these meetings went very well and I look forward to announcing the outcomes of these very soon!  
NEW Press Release: Surge in Footfall for Newbury thanks to the return of the Artisan Market
This week I produced a press release and correlating social media to highlight the success of the return of our Artisan Markets! Newbury town centre experienced its busiest Sunday since Sunday 8th March 2020- before the pandemic started- and footfall was up by 16.2% on the previous Sunday! This was published in the Newbury Weekly News and can also be found here.
NEW Press Release: Show Love for your Special Lockdown Place
In line with the national Great British Spring Clean campaign taking place until 13th June, I created a press release to showcase our support for the event. Putting a ‘show your love for your special lockdown place’ twist on the messaging, we highlighted how local residents and businesses can take part in the clean up and why it’s so important to do so. This was also published in the Newbury Weekly News and can also be found here.

ACTION: If you have not yet sent over your business update for reopening, please email the details to me via kirsty@newburybid.com 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

Newbury BID Board

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 kirsty@newburybid.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. 

Read more and apply for a Welcome Back Business Grant here

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:

Covid-19 Toolkit for businesses

The Government website also contains various useful resources:

How businesses should use the NHS test and trace app

Updated guidance for the hospitality and food industries

Business Newsletter

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.

Coronavirus Weeknotes
You can view West Berkshire Council’s latest Coronavirus Weeknotes here.
Mental Health Support
You can find sources of help and support for mental health on West Berkshire Council’s website here.
TVP Logo

Thames Valley Police Update

There are no specific updates from TVP this week.

Government Logo

Government Update

Brexit Resources
The Cabinet Office have gathered together the new rules that food and drink businesses need to follow since the UK left the EU, from Food Labelling and Rules of Origin, to Export Health Certificates. They are urging all businesses to visit GOV.UK/transition to check any actions needed. You can also get personalised and prioritised actions for your business by using the Brexit Checker Tool.

Here are links to the latest updates from the Government:

Enjoy Newbury Events

Events, Resources & Industry News

Business support during the COVID-19 crisis is available from the following organisations:
Scroll to Top