CEO Update from Melissa
Please see the footfall stats for last week (7th – 13th June) and the YTD trend below. Visitor numbers were down only 1.5% week-on-week following high levels of half term visitors the week before, and footfall was at 79% of the numbers we saw in the same week two years ago. High streets across the UK saw a 9% week-on-week drop on average, so Newbury is faring favourably in comparison.
So far this week, footfall is at an almost identical level to last week, although the arrival of rain might make the weekend quieter than most we’ve seen recently.
The busiest day of last week was Saturday 12th with footfall of 25,426 (Saturday visitor levels are very consistent at the moment!), with peak numbers of visitors seen at around 11am.
It was undoubtedly a huge blow to many of you to hear confirmation this week that the Step 4 easing of restrictions has been delayed by up to four weeks until the 19th July. Although not unexpected given the signals that had been coming out of parliament and the press, it is devastating news for local venues such as Zinc and Hive which were both planning to open next week, as well as venues such as the Corn Exchange, Vue Cinema, High Score Entertainment Centre, and the many other local hospitality and leisure businesses which must continue to operate at reduced capacity for now.
I am deeply concerned about the impact this will have on Newbury’s town centre businesses, as I’m sure many of you are, and it is disappointing to see that the Government are not offering any additional financial support to ease the burden. I would urge eligible businesses to submit applications to West Berkshire Council for the Welcome Back business grants by the deadline of 21st June (see below), although I know some of you simply won’t have the money in the bank to pay suppliers upfront before being reimbursed by WBC. Alison raised this issue with WBC at the webinar last week, but there is no solution unfortunately due to obligations around the spending of public funds.
For office-based businesses, a key implication of the delay is that the Government are advising that people should continue to work from home if they can. Where working from home isn’t possible, COVID-secure rules, including social distancing requirements, continue to apply in the workplace. A reminder of COVID-secure guidelines is available here for sectors across the economy. I’ve also come across this useful article which discusses the tax implications of office working, home working, and hybrid working which you may find useful.
An update on the current restrictions, including the amends made this week with regards to weddings, commemorative events, large events pilots, care home visits, and domestic residential visits for children, can be found here.
Further to last week’s update with regards to the BID Board of Directors and wider Board Members, I have this week written a press release and article announcing the recent changes. You can read the article in full here.
I met with Sharon Bayne earlier this week, who is working on behalf of West Berkshire Council to help them produce their new Rights of Way Improvement Plan. The Rights of Way network is a key selling point for Newbury, with such a fantastic array of walks, cycling routes, and bridle paths accessible from the town centre and slightly further afield. I raised two key considerations with Sharon that I feel are important for Newbury town centre – (1) The promotion of our local Rights of Way network to encourage visitors to Newbury from further afield to enjoy a walking or cycling weekend/holiday and experience everything the town centre has to offer, and (2) Ensuring that accessible Rights of Way are available to enable residents moving into new developments on the outskirts of town to easily walk and cycle into the town centre. I hope to see these taken into consideration as part of the Improvement Plan, and I’m keen for us to work with the Rights of Way team to help promote walking and cycling opportunities.
A reminder that you have only a few days left to submit applications for the £1,000-£10,000 Welcome Back business grants, with the deadline on 21st June. Further information and the application form can be found here.
If you were unable to tune into the webinar about the Welcome Back Business Grants last week, you can watch the recording here.
Operations Update from Alison
Following the delay to the lifting of restrictions, this week I have been back and forth with various artists and bands reprogramming the line-ups for the Summer Series, and I’ve also been working through the Family Fun Days. I’ve also met with the Volunteer Centre and Paul, from Sound Newbury, who many of the hospitality venues will already be familiar with. More details are to follow soon on the outcomes of these meetings!
Furthermore, I’ve held meetings with City Arts and another with local events company, Ynot Events, to look at how we can work with them going ahead, and finally with Layla, a local Artist who could provide some amazing street art along Cheap Street for us. I also had a wonderful Business 1:1 with Henry & Joes restaurant!
This week as part of our BusinessWatch crime reduction scheme, we also held our monthly PubWatch and ShopSafe meetings.
Myself and Shaun met with Emma, the new PC for the town centre Neighbourhood Team, and Piers, the new temporary Sergeant, and we are really excited to have such enthusiastic and proactive officers in town who are really committed to working with us and businesses to provide support. Yesterday, I met with TVP’s Inspector Tucker and a CCTV expert to progress the development of the town centre CCTV, so more news to follow on this shortly.
Marketing Update from Kirsty
Following on from last week’s update, this week has been heavily focused on producing copy and artwork for our upcoming advertising opportunities.
Earlier in the week I had a meeting with the creative team at Global Media to work on the script for our Digital Advertising Exchange (DAX) advert. This will then be played specifically to our target market during ad intervals on all major podcast, radio, and music streaming platforms. I recently edited a final draft of the script and look forward to sharing the audio with you, hopefully next week.
NEW Blog: Make Newbury your Destination of Choice this Summer
In addition to co-producing the aforementioned script work, I’ve also been busy writing an article for our full page advertorial in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Living magazine, which I have uploaded onto our website here. The editor was so impressed with the work they asked for further content to give us a free upgrade to a double page spread within the leisure and travel section of the magazine- result! I also produced a further half page article as a diary entry for Newbury in the magazine’s ‘What’s On’ section.
Furthermore, I have been busy creating the design framework for the overall Re-Visit Newbury advertising campaign. The initial design process always takes the longest as we determine the overall look, tone, and feel of the design to align across all adverts going forward for the campaign. See below for a sneaky peek of one web banner (of eight!) we’re using as part across one advertising channel- Digital Ad Display.
Alongside the above and providing regular business support, booking in town traders, and daily social media updates, I also recreated and ordered some Visit Newbury banners for our upcoming markets and events:
Half Term Chocolate Trail: Marketing Post-Evaluation
I hope many of you were some of the 700 people who enjoyed our Chocolate Trail over the half term! As the event recently ended, I thought I’d share my findings from a marketing perspective across our Visit Newbury website and social media channels.
As below, the specific events page set-up for the Chocolate Trail has been our 12th most popular page across the whole Visit Newbury site since launch. The page received an expectational read time of 2:31, an increase of 57.3% against our average read time across the site. It received 333 page views, and while this is significantly less than our top performing pages, 83.5% of these were unique.
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.
ACTION: Some of you may already be aware of the Independents’ Day UK campaign which takes place on the annual ‘Independents’ Day’ itself on 4th July. Maybe Tech are hosting a free webinar for independent businesses who are keen to learn how they can make the most of the campaign within their own business. If you’re interested, click here. 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
My Rota for w/c 21st June 2021
Monday: Cheap Street, Bartholomew Street, Inches Yard, West Street and Weavers Walk
Tuesday: Kennet Centre, side of Bartholomew Street, Market Place and Wharf Street
Wednesday: London Road, Oxford Street, Northbrook St & Saddlers Court
Business Community Updates & Shout Outs
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:
- Confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants identified in UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- The role of business in ushering in a clean, green future – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- ESFA: Business Update – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Following a satisfactory review, MHRA extends authorisation of NHS Test and Trace lateral flow devices – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Nature recovery at heart of Natural England vision for year ahead – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Findings from COVID-19 round 12 REACT-1 study published – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Government reaches historic deal on US tariff dispute – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- UK Infrastructure Bank opens for business – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Everyone working in care homes to be fully vaccinated under new law to protect residents – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Find out more about the Holiday Activities and Food programme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Government extends business support measures – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Eviction protection extended for businesses most in need – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- More than 30 million people vaccinated with second dose – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- PM statement to the House of Commons on G7 and NATO: 16 June 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- UK to donate 100 million coronavirus vaccine doses – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- HMRC can help towards the cost of children’s summer holiday activities – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Final Euros games at Wembley to host larger crowds in extension of Events Research Programme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Oral statement on easing of coronavirus restrictions – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- PM statement at coronavirus press conference: 14 June 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- The importance of businesses supporting action on climate change – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- PM statement at the G7 Summit: 13 June 2021 – 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