CEO Update from Melissa
Please see the footfall stats for last week (31st May – 6th June) and the YTD trend below. Visitor numbers were up another 5.6% week-on-week thanks to additional half term footfall, and footfall was at 81% of the numbers we saw in May Half Term 2019.
So far this week (Mon 7th-Thu 10th) footfall is down by only 1.9% week-on-week, which is promising considering the school holidays have now finished.
The busiest day of last week was Saturday 29th with footfall of 25,213 (almost identical levels to the previous Saturday), with peak levels of visitors seen at around 11am.
Despite the positive increases we’ve seen in footfall since Step 2 of reopening commenced on the 12th April, we know it’s really tough out there at the moment for so many businesses.
Local business owners and leaders in a range of sectors are seeing a shift in behaviours. For example, pubs are reporting fewer people visiting just for drinks – there seems to be a shift towards people drinking with meals, but not sitting in a bar for hours enjoying social drinks with friends. Hair salons are reporting an eagerness for some of the systems now in place to continue, e.g. online booking. Retailers are reporting an increase in hybrid shopping habits, with more customers continuing to embrace the ease and convenience of online shopping and fewer coming into their shops. And some restaurants continue to generate more revenue from online orders than in-person diners. Some consumers are still very anxious and some are only now venturing out for the first time in a very long time.
Many of you will be in the same boat – unsure what the future holds and how your business will fare coming out of this pandemic. If you’re feeling isolated, worried or even despairing, please do get in touch. We can link you up with other local professionals who can become part of your business support network. If you want someone to chat through ideas with or someone to simply listen, I’m always happy to pop by and can signpost you to anything that may be of use. Similarly, the rest of the BID team, the directors, and the wider board are here to help.
We are so eager to get our in-person forums up and running again, including “Talk of the Town” and the Indies Newbury network. Once we (hopefully) have further clarity from the Government on Monday with regards to further easing of restrictions and when that might now happen, we will get some dates in the diary. These forums can be invaluable in helping to forge new friendships and collaborations and get great ideas off the ground.
We have just reached the end of our 2020/21 financial year (1st June-31st May) and during our BID Board meeting on Tuesday we reflected on our highlights from the past year. It has of course been a hugely challenging 12 months and for much of it we’ve had to actively encourage people to stay at home, rather than visit Newbury.
We have however worked tirelessly to keep Newbury town centre and its businesses front of mind, including delivering innovative online events such as the Virtual Christmas Lights Switch On. Our online presence has grown considerably and we were delighted to introduce the new 125-page Visit Newbury website, which has given us a strong platform to tell the story of Newbury. Kirsty’s wonderful blog posts and press releases have been capturing people’s attention and imagination, and we’ve achieved an impressive level of local, regional and national coverage for the town.
We have also supported many of you on a one-to-one basis in the past year, helping you to access funding, obtain licences for outdoor tables and chairs, understand the latest restrictions and guidance, and much more.
You can view my full CEO report here which includes an overview of our plan for 2021/22.
As we enter a new financial year, I’d like to thank Alastair Chapman of A-Plan Insurance on behalf of the BID Board for his two years’ service as Chair. Alastair has now stepped down as Chair (although remains a BID Director) and has been replaced by Warwick Heskins of West Berkshire Pub Company, who will serve as Chair for the next two years. Richard Farley of The Kennet Centre has taken on the role of Deputy Chair for this new period.
I’d also like to thank Lindsey Finch of Thames Valley Police for her service to the BID as Board Member for many years. Lindsey is retiring next month and her replacement will take over as TVP’s BID representative. All of the BID’s company directors and wider board members are volunteers and give their time to help achieve the BID’s vision of a vibrant and thriving town centre.
Operations Update from Alison
This week I’ve been busy working on our Summer Series, reviewing and shortlisting the 40+ submissions we received and drafting the programme! The programme should hopefully be finalised next week – just awaiting Boris’s announcement on Monday before we finalise everything so watch this space! I will then be in contact with our Hospitality Operators in the Market Square to discuss the plans with them directly. I’m also finalising our Family Fun Days and again, will have further announcements on this very soon once it is all finalised!
This week I’ve held a Business 1:1 with the Cross Keys Pub – we LOVE their set up! If you haven’t visited them yet then you must get up to London Road and see their amazing refurbished pub which looks really cool! I also held a meeting with WBC’s Culture & Libraries Manager to discuss the Council’s Cultural Strategy and try and get us on their Cultural Heritage Delivery Board – fingers crossed! I’ve also held meetings with Hogan Music and City Arts to look at how we can work together and explore ideas for the future! Melissa and I also had a meeting with Hungerford’s Mayor and one of their independent business owners to share our ideas for the Welcome Back Fund whilst we await next steps from West Berkshire Council. Melissa and I also met with Greenham Trust to explore their 25 Year Anniversary Plans for next year – watch this space for more details!
Our BID Team also met with our new Chair Warwick Heskins (from The Catherine Wheel & Spare Wheel) and Deputy Chair Richard Farley (from the Kennet Centre) to update them on what we’re currently working towards! We are so pleased with our new BID Board and we are really excited for the future!
I also attended WBC’s webinar regarding their Welcome Back Business Grants. Please feel free to discuss any ideas you have with me in the first instance (and please ensure you check the eligibility criteria before you submit!).
We had such an amazing response to the Chocolate Trail that we delivered in partnership with Parkway Shopping and Kennet Shopping last week! We had nearly 800 families participate which is incredible! A massive well done to our members who participated and we look forward to receiving your feedback on this!
Dates for your diary for next week for BusinessWatch members are:
- PubWatch – Tuesday 15th June at 10am
- ShopSafe – Thursday 17th June at 3pm
ACTION: Protect Duty Consultation. The Government has launched a consultation document in regard to the introduction of a new law which will require owners and operators of public spaces and venues to put in place measures to keep the public safe from a terrorist attack. The new “Protect Duty” will require venue operators to consider the risk of a terrorist attack and take proportionate & reasonable measures to prepare for and protect from such an attack. This could potentially apply to businesses, pubs, clubs, shopping centres, casinos, high streets, public spaces, and many more. The consultation is open until 2 July and takes about 30 minutes to complete –please do respond as this could potentially have a major impact on us all! Protect Duty – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Marketing Update from Kirsty
Well, what an exciting week I’ve had! You may recall that I have been in discussions for sometime regarding large-scale advertising opportunities, and I’m thrilled to finally announce the plans for our three-month ‘Re-Visit Newbury’ campaign. As of July, we will be launching a 12-week advertising campaign on the supersides of three buses around Newbury! Each bus takes a 15-mile route in the Newbury, Thatcham and Reading areas, and will provide significant and powerful reach for Newbury over the coming months.
Furthermore, do you stream podcasts, radio, or music and hear relevant adverts in between breaks? Very soon Newbury will be in the ears of our target market across all major streaming platforms! Yet another way to secure exponential reach for Newbury with the aim of increasing town centre footfall to increase custom and benefit you, our BID levy payers.
In addition to the above, we are using a whole host of proven marketing channels to test what works best for Newbury. This is the first time Newbury has ever been promoted at such a scale before, so we’re very excited to encourage new and returning custom into Newbury and to learn what works best for the town.
Alongside our organic marketing activity, we will be using the following advertising channels for the campaign:
– Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Living Magazine
– Newbury Weekly News
– Newbury Round & About Magazine
– Digital Display
– Digital Advertising Exchange
– Muddy Stilettos Berkshire
– Social Media
– Bus Supersides
I’m in the (long but exciting) process of designing all of the artwork, editorial, and advertising copy for the above, so it will be a very busy time getting all of this completed and ready for launch, but I can’t WAIT!
Alongside a week full of meetings to sign-off the above, I was out and about in Newbury handing out visors to hairdressers and beauty salons. If I didn’t reach you and you’d like some free PPE, please email me and I will arrange to pop down.
This week I also met with a local illustrator at her studio as we begin to plan our specialist Newbury town centre map as part of our ‘Newbury Town Trails’ series. We’re working closely with Newbury Town Council on this, and I also held a couple of meetings with them to confirm next steps.
In addition to the above and providing regular business support, booking in town traders, and daily social media updates, I also produced the following:
NEW Blog: Euro 2020: Where to Watch in Newbury Town Centre
ACTION: 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 end of June/early July. This is not a paid opportunity but there will be some incentives in place. 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
Please get in touch with me if you or someone you know may be interested. They must be willing to provide photos and answer a series of questions upon expressing their interest.
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
This week I have been busy providing support to many of you and raising issues as I see them on my patrols around town with West Berkshire Council. I attended the South England BIDs Crime Reduction meeting to meet other BIDs. This has helped my understanding of how they run and gather information to help the crime reduction scheme we provide to the town. I have also recommenced Chewing Gum removal throughout Northbrook Street this week so you may have seen me out there early on. I have also been asking if anyone would like any extra Artisan Market flyers/posters for their business to display so if you do please get in touch and I will deliver them to you. We also have some “Keep Newbury Tidy” stickers to be stuck on outside of shop windows so if anyone would like one please do not hesitate to contact me! If you would like me to visit you on a 1-1 basis with any issues or queries please get in touch as I am always here to help!
My Rota for w/c 14th June 2021
Monday: Cheap Street & Bartholomew Street including Inches Yard
Tuesday: Kennet Centre, side of Bartholomew Street, Market Place and Wharf Street
Wednesday: London Road and Oxford Street including Saddlers Court
Thursday: Northbrook Street, West Street and Weavers Walk
Friday: Mop up day and all over town
Business Community Updates & Shout Outs
Newbury Town Council Update
West Berkshire Council Update
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:
- Follow the Pubs Code Adjudicator on Facebook – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants identified in UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Boris Johnson: A billion vaccines, and education – my agenda for a global recovery – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) presents recommendations to drive global gender equality – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- UK calls for climate action ahead of UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- UK to donate 100 million coronavirus vaccine doses – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- More high-quality degree alternatives to boost adult skills and job prospects – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- New plan to drive rapid recovery of tourism sector – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Over 110 new Youth Hubs offer job help – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Home Secretary at the Police Federation conference 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- 100,000 help shape Women’s Health Strategy with more urged to come forward before close – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- CMA launches action against British Airways and Ryanair over refunds – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- eAlert: 9 June 2021 – England Woodland Creation Offer is open for applications – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- End of halogen light bulbs spells brighter and cleaner future – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Government to protect workers’ rights and clamp down on workplace abuse with powerful new body – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Government launches second Animal Welfare Bill to protect pets, livestock and wild animals – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Surge testing to be deployed in Reading and Wokingham – 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