CEO Update from Melissa
Please see the footfall stats for last week (17th-23rd May) and the YTD trend below. Visitor numbers were up a healthy 8.1% week-on-week and it was the second busiest week we’ve seen in town since before the pandemic began (the busiest being w/c 12th April). We are currently performing at well above the national average compared to normal footfall levels (taken from 2019), with 70% of normal footfall last week compared with an average of 61% of normal across the country.
So far this week (Mon 24th-Thu 27th) footfall is up another 2.3% week-on-week and with pay day, the Champions League final, Sunday’s Artisan Market, and good weather all combining forces this weekend, it wouldn’t surprise me if we see our busiest week in a very long time.
The busiest day of last week was Saturday 22nd with footfall of 25,489 – the busiest Saturday we’ve had in Newbury since March 2020.
A few things for you to be aware of this week:
- Newbury’s Artisan Market is back on Sunday! There will be almost 30 stalls lining Northbrook Street offering a variety of food, drink, and unique products. We hope the market will draw plenty of people into town and it will have a positive knock-on effect for town centre businesses.
- West Berkshire Council are in the process of organising a webinar about the Welcome Back Business Grants which are open for applications until 21 June. We’ll send out date and time details as soon as we have them.
- The half term Chocolate Trail has begun – look out for the large chocolate bars on display in windows around the town!
- Newbury Town Council’s beautiful hanging baskets will be going up around the town within the next two weeks to help make Newbury look even more appealing.
- Shaun and I attended the grand opening of The Chequers Hotel‘s gorgeous new garden on Monday. It would be a fantastic space for business meetings and events over the summer – we’d highly recommend checking it out!
- I met with Laura Farris this week to continue my discussions around mental health in the business community and our general plans for the BID going forward. It’s important that we consider and complement other plans for the local area, taking into account what Laura, West Berkshire Council, Newbury Town Council, Thames Valley Police, and other stakeholders are aiming to achieve. We’re keen to work in collaboration with as many key stakeholders as possible to strengthen Newbury’s position as a thriving destination.
- West Berkshire Council’s Covid Marshall roles will be coming to an end on Monday 31st May. The Covid Marshalls will be replaced by Licensing Liaison Officers, who will focus on supporting businesses, particularly at busy times such as weekend evenings and when events are taking place.
Operations Update from Alison
Alison has been enjoying a week off this week and will be back at work on Tuesday 1st June.
ACTION: Summer Sundays Series – I’m looking for local artists / musicians / bands to perform in the Market Square on Sundays. If you have any suggestions or recommendations please do get in touch with me. We’ve been overwhelmed by the response so far, with nearly 40 different local bands and performers registering their interest, which is fantastic news!
ACTION: As per last week’s comms, please do get in touch if you would like to join my Events Committee that I will set up later in the summer to start planning ahead collectively for great events – this is your town centre and we want you to be part of it and work with us so we can deliver what YOU want as our levy payers!
Marketing Update from Kirsty
It’s so good to be back to work this week, albeit for only a short one as I returned on Tuesday! As well as my regular social media updates and business support, this week I had a business one-to-one with the wonderful Clare from the Berkshire School of English and I have been busy investigating larger-scale advertising opportunities to align with our upcoming campaigns and help raise awareness of Newbury going forward. We’re determined to focus our efforts where we will be most successful and are exploring all avenues… so watch this space! Our Chocolate Trail started TODAY, and with our Artisan Market returning this Sunday, I have been busy working on the promotional material for both events. We’ve also received exponential engagement with our recent digital advertising efforts, which I look forward to sharing with you in more detail next week when I provide the end-of-month data.
NEW Press Release: Traders announced for the return of Newbury’s Artisan Market
NEW updates to our Re-Visit Newbury blog:As updated info from our hospitality venues drip-feeds through to us, we’re continually updating our Re-Visit Newbury blog to support the next phase of reopening. Have you checked to see whether your hospitality venue is included yet? Please email me asap to feature if not. You can read and share our blog here.
ACTION: If you have not yet sent over your business update for reopening, please email the details to me via email@example.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
This week I have been out distributing poster and flyers for the Artisan Market to businesses which have been happy to display them. Please email me if you have space in your window or on a noticeboard for a poster advertising the dates for the rest of the year, or space for some flyers for people to take away with them.
I’ve also send out ShopSafe minutes from our recent meeting. If you’re a paid up member and didn’t receive the alert via DISC, please let me know.
If I haven’t managed to catch you during this week’s patrols, please look out for me next week. I will do my best to pop my head in as I pass to see if there’s anything you need our help with.
My Rota for w/c 31st May 2021
Tuesday: Kennet Centre, north end of Bartholomew Street, Market Place and Wharf Street
Wednesday: Day Off
Thursday: London Road and Oxford Street including Saddlers Court
Friday: Cheap Street, Market Street and south end of Bartholomew Street including Inches Yard
Saturday: Northbrook Street, West Street and Weavers Walk
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to express an interest and we will be happy to share more details.
Newbury Town Council Update
If you are involved with an organisation or charity that benefits Newbury residents, don’t miss your chance to apply for grant funding with Newbury Town Council. You can read more about it here.
Newbury Town Council are inviting young people to take part in a free online event following the outcomes of their Youth Voice Survey released earlier this year. Working collaboratively with Berkshire Youth, Time To Talk West Berkshire, and Community United West Berkshire, Newbury Town Council are hosting ‘Ask a Young Person’ on Thursday 17th June at 4:30pm via Zoom. Young people can find out more information, or register their interest in taking part in this event, by visiting the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ask-a-young-person-registration-153648413541
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.
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:
The Government website also contains various useful resources:
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.
Mental Health Support
Thames Valley Police Update
Here are links to the latest updates from the Government:
- Vaccines highly effective against B.1.617.2 variant after 2 doses – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Vaccine status drives over one million new users to the NHS App – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Government launches new pilots to further support people to self-isolate – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Girls’ Education concludes visit to West Africa – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Surge testing to be deployed in North East Hampshire – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Taking steps to bring about a healthier, safer and fairer world – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Lesotho: call for bids for COVID-19 community fund – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Coronavirus vaccine for UK nationals living in the Czech Republic – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Weekly national flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports published – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report published – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants identified in UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- UK sends life-saving medical equipment to Nepal – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Health and Social Care Secretary’s statement on coronavirus (COVID-19): 27 May 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Disapplication notice: school inspections legislation changes – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Regulatory approval of COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen – 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