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Cheltenham BID strides on

Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID) is looking back on two busy years – but knows that the year ahead is even more important, writes Kevan Blackadder. It was in August 2016 that Gloucestershire’s first BID was born, and it has worked to support town centre businesses and promote the town ever since. BIDs are directly funded by the businesses in their zone, through a levy they pay based on their rateable value. From the very start, the businesses made it clear there were five main areas they wanted us to concentrate on. In order of priority they were: town centre events, marketing and promotion, direct business support, public realm improvements and parking and accessibility. So, what did we achieve last year in each of these key areas, and what comes next?

What’s next? Our Giant Witch parade gave Cheltenham its most exciting Christmas lights switch-on for many years, alongside new lights displays. Light Up Cheltenham will be extended to three weeks in February, with added attractions.

Ambassador Mimi Chasebi with shoppers

Marketing and promotion The BID is the main backer alongside Cheltenham Borough Council of Marketing Cheltenham, which has done a great job in promoting the town to regional, national and international audiences. Our new-look CheltenhamGift Card and Map and Guide also helped promote many of our great businesses. We launched the Hidden Cheltenham trail to encourage people to use the whole town centre. What’s next? Cheltenham Means Business – a new campaign to promote the town to inward investors. We’re also looking at introducing digital screens to promote everything the BID and town are doing for locals and visitors alike.

Light Up Cheltenham Spark! on The Prom

Town centre events Light Up Cheltenham saw 14 buildings lit up and a spectacular opening event with illuminated drummers Spark! bringing people to town in the traditionally quiet month of February. Another new event, Cheltenham Beauty Week, saw more than 30 businesses engaged with 50 events across eight days. We also said we would improve popular events that we had run in our first year and that happened, with the Christmas Lights, the BID-sponsored Cheltenham Festivals Around Town programme, Independents Sale, Chilli Fiesta and Cocktail Week all growing and attracting bigger audiences.

CocktailWeek - Lliy Gins

90 | December 2018 | www. punchline-gloucester .com

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