Since joining the Harrogate BID Board just over 12 months ago, an awful lot has happened in that time scale - sadly with COVID-19 dominating most of it.
Now well into our third national lockdown, we are using this opportunity to appraise you of our aims for the year ahead, as well as looking back over our Harrogate at Christmas campaign, and providing information which we hope will be useful to you at this particular time.
Whilst we have regrettably seen a number of businesses close their doors for good in recent months - including Debenhams which has been a feature of our high street for many a decade – there is some good news with a number of new shops, cafes and restaurants choosing to open in Harrogate.
When the lockdown is relaxed, and life can return to 'normal', we will once again play our part in making sure Harrogate town centre is ready to safely welcome back staff, customers and visitors alike.
Please do stay in touch, and if you have any questions you wish to raise with the BID, please contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Ferguson BID Chair
Sara Ferguson is Harrogate BID Chair
We are delighted to announce that at the first meeting of the new Board, a chair has been elected for the next 12 months.
As many of you will know, Sara Ferguson, who co-owns two town centre businesses, has been our acting chair since last May. Following a unanimous vote, Sara is now officially our chair.
We also welcome six new directors. Together with Jim Mossman, from Cold Bath Brewing Co, and Lesley Wild, from Bettys - who had been co-opted members since last summer – these are Bokmun Chan, from the Studley Hotel & Orchid Restaurant; Nick Hubbert, from Hoopers; Dan Siddle, from the Crown Hotel; and Wayne Topley, from the Cedar Court Hotel.
Existing board member Richard Wheeldon, from Berwins Solicitors, has taken on the position of deputy chair.
Sara said: “I’d like to thank my fellow directors for placing their faith and trust in me for the coming 12 months, and I’m proud to become Harrogate BID’s chair.
“I’m also delighted Richard Wheeldon, who has been involved with Harrogate BID since its inception, has agreed to become deputy chair.
"In officially welcoming the new board members, who bring with them a wealth of business experience, I’d like to thank those directors who stood down at the AGM for their contribution over what was an exceptional 12 months in many ways.”
The full list of Harrogate BID Board Directors can be found here.
Planning for Christmas 2021 starts now - and we want your ideas!
We may be only a few weeks into the new year, but believe it or not we are already planning our Harrogate at Christmas 2021 campaign.
Whilst COVID-19 had an impact on last year’s activities, with some being cancelled and others scaled back, we were still able to create some much-needed Festive cheer.
The 'Naughty Elf' was our Christmas showstopper and a big thank you to all the businesses who partnered with us over the nine days. We have already had a number of requests to host him this December, which is great news and a vote of confidence in this activity.
Social media was full of pictures and comments about our Christmas lights, and our plan is to include more streets this year. If possible, we would also like to stage a physical 'switching on' ceremony in November, but obviously COVID-19 will dictate.
We were also delighted to support Harrogate & District Rotary Club Christmas Shop Window Competition, Harrogate Mumbler Elf Trail, the re re-introduction of The Harrogate Bus Company's Sunday Freeway, The North Pole Post Office and free parking in the Victoria Car Park.
We would like to hear your views about our Christmas 2020 campaign, and also what you think we could do better this year. Please email email@example.com and we look forward to hearing from you.
*Before lockdown, Harrogate BID levy payer, Louise Chesters from Dizzy Duck, on Albert Street, gave her views about our Harrogate at Christmas campaign. Watch her video here.
To support local businesses, Harrogate Borough Council is working with Maybe* - an online platform that helps businesses improve the results they achieve through social media.
The platform is packed full with social media tools and support to help businesses across the Harrogate district accelerate their use of social media, collaborate and increase customer engagement, footfall and sales.
Maybe* has already helped thousands of businesses and now any business registered within the Harrogate district is eligible for a free Maybe* account and will have access to a suite of training, tools and expert support.
Businesses normally pay upwards of £35 per month for this service, but by partnering with Maybe*, Harrogate BC is able to offer a year's access to any Harrogate district business for free.
Find out more and sign up for free via the Maybe* website here.
Your contribution to the 2021 funding of Harrogate BID is essential
Over the last year we have invested in enhancing the BID area which is extremely important for first impressions for visitors and for repeat local footfall.
We have also invested in initiatives to improve the customer experience, encouraging customers into town, and to stay longer.
During the course of the coming 12 months, we will continue to deliver the initiatives that were put in place last year including:
Year-round programme of pavement washing, sign cleaning, weed removal and weed spraying
Barrier baskets with summer and winter planting, along with the entrance planters at the larger retail businesses
The Harrogate Gift Card programme
The match-funding grant scheme to encourage businesses to improve shop fronts and entrances, as well as support to improve access for people with disabilities
Sponsorship of the Sunday Freeway bus services and subsidised, seasonal car parking promotions
The wrapping of empty shop units to improve appearance
And of course, spectacular Christmas lights.
Your contribution to the 2021 funding is essential to ensure that these plans are delivered.
Wanted: BID Manager
If you are passionate about Harrogate, and have lots of great ideas about how to make the town centre flourish, you could be just the person we are looking for to take on the exciting and demanding position of BID manager.
And with the closing date this coming Monday (January 25), if you are interested you will need to get your skates on.
The successful candidate will continue the delivery of the BID’s ambitious business plan - one that will bring real benefits to Harrogate town centre and the businesses that it is home to.
Harrogate BID Chair Sara Ferguson said: “This is very much a hands-on role, and ideal for someone already used to leading a team, supervising a number of external contractors, and leading high-profile consumer campaigns with tangible results for sponsors and stakeholders.
“Additionally, the position will require the successful candidate to report to a board of directors on a regular basis, understand the sometimes challenging differences between the private and public sector, liaise with other interested parties, to act as an ambassador, and be (traditional and social) media savvy.
“Most importantly, they will bring with them fresh and exciting ideas to help promote Harrogate as a must-visit destination for residents and visitors alike looking for a welcoming and friendly destination to ‘stay, shop, eat and drink’.”
Closing date for applications is Monday, January 25, 2021, and details of the job description, are available here.
Harrogate Gift Card proves 'a must have' Christmas present
We are delighted to report that the Harrogate Gift Card proved to be a 'must have' Christmas present of last year.
During the month of December, just short of 400 cards were purchased with a combined value of £17,200, an average of £43 per card.
This means all £17,200 will remain within the Harrogate economy and be spent at those businesses partnering with us in this important initiative.
Remember to sign up for year's free membership of ShopAppy
We are once again reminding members, levy payers and supports about the ShopAppy scheme.
The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub is giving eligible businesses across the region 12-months free membership to the online, community-led shopping platform, ShopAppy.com
This opportunity gives independent businesses a way to start trading again while maintaining safety. Set up takes limited technical know-how, and comprehensive support will be available from Growth Hub advisors and the ShopAppy team to help businesses get up and running quickly.
The online marketplace supports shopping locally, even if customers have to stay at home. They also have the convenience of buying goods from multiple shops in one place, while supporting the local economy.
More information and details on how to get started are available here.
Harrogate BID Annual Review 2020
If you've not seen our 2020 Annual Review, which details our activities of the last 12 months, you can read it here.
Wellspring Therapy & Training
“Founded in 2003, Wellspring’s mission is to restore hope, develop resilience, and facilitate positive change in the lives of people facing mental health problems and psychological distress.
Laura Brett, who recently joined the team at Wellspring Therapy & Training as Head of Fundraising & Promotion, said: "We achieve this by providing psychological support and professional mental health counselling for adults, young people and children, from North Yorkshire, designed around the requirements of each individual person, delivered by our team of highly experienced professional and volunteer counsellors.
“We are passionate about seeing people move from a place of darkness and distress to freedom and hope.
“What makes Wellspring unique is that we offer high quality, long-term professional counselling to adults and children over four years old. This can sometimes be at a heavily subsidised price to suit the financial situation of each individual client and can be as little as £5 per session.
If a client is able to contribute £45 for their weekly session, that qualifies them for our Associate Counsellor Service (ACS). The client would be seen as soon as possible by one of our associate counsellors.”
“There is no queue jumping and people on our affordable waiting list are not waiting longer, as all associate counselling slots are offered by counsellors in addition. We also have specific ACS contracts with businesses and organisations if that is of interest to you.
“If you or a member of your staff, family or friends are needing our support, particularly at this difficult time, please do not hesitate to get in touch."
We Welcome Your Ideas
We are always keen to hear from our levy payers and members, particularly if they have ideas and suggestions which will benefit the town centre environment for residents, visitors, employers and employees alike.