Welcome to your fortnightly 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!
CEO Update from Melissa
Please see the footfall stats for last week (9th-15th August) and the YTD trend below. Visitor numbers were up 2.4% on the week before and represented 86% of footfall for the same week two years ago.
You’ll see from the graph below when comparing 2021 to 2019 that footfall at the moment is bucking the normal summer trend. We’d usually see a decline or flatline in visitors to the town centre during the summer holidays, whereas last week actually represented the highest weekly footfall we’ve seen since March 2020. It’s been great to see visitors from further afield making day trips to Newbury over the summer. We’ve spoken to lots of people at our summer events who have been visiting by train or car and have thoroughly enjoyed their day out in our lovely town!
The busiest day of last week was Saturday with footfall of 24,663, with peak numbers of visitors seen at around 11am.
ACTION: Our BID 2022-2027 “Taking Newbury to the Next Level” consultation has now started. Thanks to those who have responded so far; your feedback is invaluable! You can view our consultation document online here. The survey will be open until 31st August 2021. Please let us know via email if you are a levy payer and you have not received your personalised email to take part in the consultation survey (it’s worth checking your junk folder first, just in case it’s made its way into there!).
FYI: Please accept my apologies for the delay in sending out our Annual Report 2020-21. I’m awaiting feedback from one final person and then it will be tweaked and sent out to you all. Thanks for your patience!
FYI: Our bi-monthly full Board Meeting took place last week and we were delighted to welcome Madeleine Thompson, Manager of Camp Hopson, as a new Board Member to represent the Retail sector. Madeleine is a breath of fresh air, very committed to community engagement and involvement, and keen to make lots of new business connections. We also welcomed Chloe Guo from West Berkshire Council as a guest, standing in for Economy Manager, Katharine Makant. Chloe joined the Economic Development Team as Business Engagement Officer earlier this month and is looking forward to getting to know you all over the coming months. You can read my CEO Report to the Board here.
ACTION: On the subject of the BID Board, hopefully you have received an email inviting you to attend our first in-person Talk of the Town business forum since before the pandemic. This will be the perfect opportunity to Meet the BID Board, discuss our current projects and future plans, ask questions, and chat to other local business owners and managers. We are holding two sessions to hopefully accommodate as many people as possible. Please click on the relevant link below to register for the session you’d like to attend. It’s great to see that so many people have signed up already, and huge thanks to those who have offered their businesses premises as a venue. I’ll be in touch soon to confirm details.
Tuesday 7th September at 5pm https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/talk-of-the-town-meet-the-bid-board-tickets-167609645963
Wednesday 8th September at 10am https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/talk-of-the-town-meet-the-bid-board-tickets-167610723185
ACTION: If you are a business owner or senior leader keen to grow and improve your business, but you need some help with what to do and how to do it, I’d strongly encourage you to consider signing up for the Government-subsidised Help to Grow: Management programme. This is a practical, hands-on course delivered by leading business schools here in the UK. It covers topics such as Strategies for Growth & Innovation, Engaging with Customers, Building a Sustainable Business, and Operations & Financial Strategies. As well as 12 learning sessions, you will be supported by a tutor and peer group, and receive 10 hours of dedicated 1-2-1 business mentoring to help develop a Growth Action Plan personalised to your business. The 12-week programme costs just £750 and is 90% subsidised by the government as part of the Plan for Jobs. You can find the upcoming courses in London & the South East here.
Operations Update from Alison
It’s been a busy time delivering our summer events and working on our improved CCTV system for the town centre!
Our next event is our FREE Family Fun Day on Tuesday 24th September. Superhero Training is taking place across three town centre sites to encourage visitors to visit all parts of town and to help distribute footfall across the whole town centre.
This week we also held our monthly PubWatch meeting – the next PubWatch will be on Tuesday 21st September at 10am. Please note that the next ShopSafe meeting is next Friday 27th August at 10am, details of which will be sent out early next week!
Our cardboard collection has been collected this week by temporary cover whilst Shaun, our Senior Town Ranger, has been off on sick-leave. Please note that the next cardboard collection will take place next Wednesday (not Tuesday) for those who are on the scheme. If you are not signed-up to the FREE scheme and are interested in joining, please get in touch to discuss this with me further.
ACTION: I am setting up an Events Committee at the end of September, so if you are interested in joining and being an integral part of the team that will decide on which events are best for Newbury to drive footfall, then please contact me as I would love to hear from you! I’m looking for passionate, committed and creative people who can bring their A-Game and have lots of great ideas, but also be willing to put them into practice. This is an exciting opportunity for you to make a real difference to the town centre so do get in touch if you are interested.
Marketing Update from Kirsty
I hope you have all had a fantastic week. I will be on annual leave from Monday for the week so if you require any urgent assistance with anything that I would normally deal with, please contact Melissa or Alison.
Please see our latest press releases online here, which were shared with the media over the last two weeks: Visit Newbury’s Summer Series and Art Mural Set to bring Smiles and Visitors into Newbury. Please help us to promote these by sharing the articles across your networks.
If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to our Visit Newbury Loves Local newsletter by clicking here! Our second ever edition went out this week and featured a number of town centre businesses. Please do get in touch with me if you have any news that I can share on next month’s issue, and do get in touch with me if you have any ideas or suggestions for features!
Two further adverts for our Re-Visit Newbury Summer campaign were published this week, alongside receiving yet another free full page of editorial alongside the adverts (we must be doing something right!), which you can view to the left.
As mentioned previously, I’ve been busy working on our Vegan Map as part of our Town Trails. I have finished the final amends for the front of both maps (Vegan and Public Art and Blue Plaque trail), and have been working on numbering the new route since taking over on the map front from the illustrator. I’ve provided an example of the work below and very much hope we can have these with you in-store with you very soon!
Alongside the above, I have worked two of our Summer Series Music Events, including the extremely successful Fairytale Princess Family Fun Day and Disco Shed’s Newbury Debut on Sunday. Please see our Visit Newbury Facebook page for images of both events! I have been liaising with a local videographer about an upcoming lifestyle video we wish to produce for the town to promote the hospitality sector. I have also amidst discussions with West Berkshire Camra, West Berkshire Spokes and LSD promotions on current and upcoming projects and events, alongside providing regular business support, booking in town traders, and daily social media updates.
Rangers Update from Shaun
Business Community Updates & Shout Outs
Low Carbon Workspaces grant scheme helps businesses make energy-usage savings and reduce carbon emissions. This can help your organisation to combat the current climate crisis, whilst also reducing monthly overheads.
Grants of up to £5,000 are available to help fund a third of the cost of projects such as; LED lighting, efficient boilers, air-source heat pumps, insulation/glazing, and solar panels. Projects funded by the scheme are a great way for your business to decarbonise.
LCW also work closely with local suppliers of energy saving technologies, who may be listed on their supplier directory, free of charge. Grants cannot be paid retrospectively so it is essential to follow the application process before undertaking work or appointing suppliers.
Newbury Town Council Update
Newbury Town Council has been named a finalist in the National Association of Local Council’s (NALC) Star Council Awards 2021 and are in the running for the Council of the Year award. You can determine who wins this category by voting on the NALC website here. Closing date for voting is this Monday 23 August. You can read the full press release here.
On Tuesday 31st August, the Mayor of Newbury is inviting families to come and take part in a Teddy Bears Picnic to raise money for the Mayor’s Benevolent Fund and his chosen charity. Youngsters can join in on the fun with Bartholomew the Bear in Victoria Park Bandstand for a picnic lunch between 11am and 1pm. You can read the full press release here.
West Berkshire Council Update
The pedestrianised roads through Newbury Town Centre will be closed from 5am until approx. 10pm on Saturday 4th September to allow a Food and Drink Festival to take place. The alternative route for all through traffic is via London Road, A339, Cheap St/Bear Lane and vice versa. Emergency access will be maintained through the event.
Mental Health Support
Coronavirus Lateral Flow Testing for Businesses
The government are encouraging businesses to take regular lateral flow tests in the workplace. It’s easy to get a lateral flow test. Your staff can simply order kits online here, or find their nearest collect site using this link. Tests are free, and the whole process only takes a few minutes. Let’s work together to act responsibly and stop the spread!
Here are links to the latest updates from the Government:
- UK to support Haiti earthquake response with humanitarian assistance and Royal Navy ship – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Letter to the retail sector about taking action to fight climate change – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Afghanistan: Foreign Secretary’s speech – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Police super-complaints: police use of stop and search powers – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- The Prime Minister’s opening statement on Afghanistan: 18 August 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Shingles immunisation programme: introduction of Shingrix® letter – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Future of channels such as ITV2 and Dave secured as Freeview licences renewed for another decade – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- HMRC reveals absurd excuses for not paying National Minimum Wage – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- More leading businesses join vaccine uptake drive – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Banks ranked in latest customer survey results – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- All young people aged 16 and 17 in England to be offered vaccine by next week – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Cost of NHS travel tests to be reduced and private provider list reviewed – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Multimillion-pound initiative to improve local roads across England – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Events, Resources & Industry News
Business support during the COVID-19 crisis is available from the following organisations:
- 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