CEO Update from Melissa
Please see the footfall stats for last week (28th June – 4th July) and the YTD trend below. Visitor numbers were up by 5.1% week-on-week, sitting at c. 74% of the numbers we saw in the same week two years ago. High streets across the UK saw a 0.4% week-on-week drop on average, so Newbury slightly bucked this flat trend.
For this week so far, footfall is up 1.1% on the same period last week. The weather forecast is looking a little bleak this weekend, but hopefully the excitement surrounding England’s Euros Final appearance will draw people into town!
The busiest day of last week was, as usual, Saturday with footfall of 25,926, with peak numbers of visitors seen at around midday. This is almost always the busiest time in Northbrook Street and it’s always great to see the town buzzing with people and activity.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we’d been busy updating the Events section of the Visit Newbury website with more than 90 public events taking place in and around Newbury throughout the summer and autumn: https://visitnewbury.org.uk/enjoy/events/
I was delighted when reviewing our web analytics this week to see how popular this Events section is. Traffic to the main events page during the past month was up 58% compared to the previous month, with 1,250 page views. 80% of this traffic was from Google, because within just 3 months of launching the new website, we’ve achieved the number 1 organic search position for “Events in Newbury” and “Newbury Events”. These stats tell me a couple of things – (1) that Google deems this content to be really valuable and (2) that there’s a real thirst for easily accessible information about what’s on in Newbury, with people keen to engage with events and activities. This is why I’m delighted that our Summer Series of Events will be launching soon to give people even more reasons to visit Newbury (see Alison’s update below for more information!).
ACTION: I spoke recently with Councillor Gary Norman who, following feedback from young people locally, is keen to help with two key needs for provision – additional safe, informal sheltered spaces for young people to hang out in the town centre, and events and activities for young people. Does your business have space and/or ideas for activities and events for young people? Could you, for example, offer your premises at certain times as a dedicated hang out spot for teenagers, or could you offer special after-school deals to make it affordable for young people to visit you? Please do get in touch with me if you have any thoughts or suggestions!
I’ve been busy today preparing a proposal to West Berkshire Council for us to be appointed as delivery partners to deliver a number of exciting projects funded by the Welcome Back Fund. The proposal will be discussed at their Economic Development Board meeting next Thursday and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll receive good news soon after. If approved, we could benefit from a significant amount of funding to draw people into Newbury and provide a first-class town centre experience as we continue our recovery.
ACTION: I met with some of the Newbury Masterplan team on Wednesday to give my feedback on the draft Vision and it was great to hear that more than 700 people have already responded to the Newbury Vision survey. Many of the respondents had commented on the need for the Market Place to be opened up as an events and hospitality space and be permanently pedestrianised, which is a sentiment I know many businesses in the BID share. The more people who add their voice to this, the more strength the idea will have, so if you feel strongly about this or any other matters that affect the future of Newbury town centre, please remember to have your say by the 16th July! 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.
Operations Update from Alison
A busy week working on our exciting upcoming summer events! After a week of many meetings with BID members and various suppliers, I’m really pleased to advise that both the Ugly Duckling and Corn Exchange are working with us on our Family Fun Days and we will be providing free arts & crafts activities for families as part of the fun!
For our Summer Series, we have also secured a stage for the Grand Finale event on Sunday 29th August and the programme is coming along nicely with an eclectic mix of musicians to suit everyone’s tastes. Please look out for our announcement on Tuesday next week and share our posts to promote these great events to encourage footfall back into town this summer!
The dates for our summer events are:
Family Fun Days
- Wednesday 28th July
- Wednesday 11th August
- Tuesday 24th August
- Sunday 25th July (DJs, 12-5pm)
- Sunday 1st August (acoustic singers, 1-5pm)
- Sunday 15th August (DJs, 12-5pm)
- Sunday 29th August (Bands & Grand Finale, 12-8pm)
ACTION: Looking ahead, we have also now agreed and confirmed a new Food & Drink Festival for Newbury! This one-day special for 2021 will take place on Saturday 4th September from 10am – 8pm in the town centre along Northbrook Street and Bartholomew Street. We have negotiated a 50% discount on stall hire for BID members. If you would like to register your interest, please contact me ASAP! We are also seeking a Bar Provider and our BID Hospitality members obviously have first priority to register their interest so please do get in touch ASAP with me to discuss!
ACTION: Don’t forget if you would like a FREE stall at this month’s July Artisan Market on Sunday 25th July, please contact me ASAP to register your interest! And don’t forget our popular Vegan Market is also back next month on Sunday 8th August. Please join and share our Facebook event page for the market by clicking here.
Shaun our Senior Town Ranger will be back from annual leave next week and the weekly FREE cardboard collection will resume as normal next Tuesday
ACTION: If you would like to be added to our FREE weekly cardboard collection, please contact me for details!
Marketing Update from Kirsty
At the start of the week, I was very pleased to send off two final print adverts to Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Living Magazine, and Round and About Berkshire Magazine. All of the artwork has now been completed for our Re-visit Newbury campaign, and I just have a few more pages of editorial to produce over the remaining months of the campaign (August and September). I have provided a screenshot of the recent advert design below, and will share the editorial for the aforementioned publications next week when I have received the designed copy from both publications.
This week has been largely focused on the marketing and communications for our upcoming Summer Series of Events. I have been busy writing up the marketing material and programmes for all seven events, alongside a press release which I will send to press on Monday. I will be able to share all of the content for this next week, when the event has officially launched on Tuesday. As Alison mentioned, please keep an eye out on our social media for the official announcements of these events next week.
This week I have also been back and forth with the market operators for another of our upcoming events, Newbury Vegan Market, and I’m pleased to share the new branding for this with you. I have also been busy project managing our Town Trail Maps with both the illustrator and Newbury Town Council, who we’re working with on the project, and we really hope to reach the deadline of 8th August for our Vegan Trail Map, in line with the Newbury Vegan Market!
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!
Alongside the above, I have also been providing regular business support, booking in town traders, and staying on top of daily social media updates and communications.
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 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.
Rangers Update from Shaun
My Rota for w/c 12th July 2021
Monday: London Road, Oxford Street and Saddlers Court
Tuesday: Kennet Centre, north end of Bartholomew Street, Market Place and Wharf Street
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: Cheap Street, Market Street and south end of Bartholomew Street including Inches Yard
Friday: Northbrook Street, West Street and Weavers Walk
Saturday: Mop up day and all over town
Business Community Updates & Shout Outs
Did you see the fabulous news this week that The Sushi Maki was awarded the Good Food Award – Gold Seal for 2021? It’s fantastic to see another of Newbury’s independent businesses being rewarded for their excellence. Huge congratulations to Arif and his team! You can read more here.
Pete Lumber has also seen even more success in the past week for his 137 Distillery. Harrods has included 137’s gin in their brand new “The Drinks Cabinet Hamper” alongside other high calibre products AND among thousands of gins from over 90 countries they have been awarded two silver and two bronze awards by IWSC – Club Oenologique after a blind tasting by eight esteemed judges. A massive well done to Pete and the team!
ACTION: It’s fantastic to see a number of businesses within the BID shortlisted for Muddy Stilettos awards! Please, please, please take the time to vote for these local businesses which all well and truly deserve to win top spot!
For all businesses, please do let us know anything about your organisation that we can shout about – we absolutely love to hear and share good news!
West Berkshire Council Update
Mental Health Support
Here are links to the latest updates from the Government:
- Quarantine-free travel to resume on 19 July for fully vaccinated passengers returning from amber list countries – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Helping businesses to prepare for full Customs Control in January 2022 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Letters to businesses about importing and exporting goods between Great Britain and the EU – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- City & Financial Global Women in Finance Summit speech – John Glen MP – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- United Kingdom signs free trade deal with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Plan for Jobs one year on: More than a third of the working population supported through the pandemic – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- New recovery fund to tackle harms facing vulnerable children – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Circular 022/2015: Money laundering, the confidentiality and sensitivity of suspicious activity reports (SARs) and the identity of those who make them – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Sustainable economic recovery after the pandemic and security: UK statement – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Covid restrictions in education settings to end at Step 4 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Self-isolation to be eased for fully vaccinated adults in step 4 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Update to Parliament on self-isolation rules – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Treasury Direction made by the Chancellor under Section 76 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Health and Care Bill introduced to Parliament – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- How to protect yourself and others: guidance for door supervisors – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Final Covid loans data reveals £80 billion of government support through the pandemic – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Update on the pandemic and the roadmap to freedom – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- PM statement at coronavirus press conference: 5 July 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Prime Minister sets out plan to ease restrictions at step 4 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- How much do tenants know about their insurance rights under the Pubs Code? Help the PCA find out – 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