The Nottingham BID: 1 year on

It’s just over a year since Nottingham’s Retail and Leisure Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) merged to form the single entity, the Nottingham BID. Its aim is to make Nottingham the shopping and leisure destination of choice in the East Midlands, to maximise the city’s trading potential and to enhance its national reputation.

It’s certainly been a busy first year for the Nottingham BID, as its members – the retail and licensed premises in the city centre – heard at an annual update event. It has delivered a range of marketing campaigns designed to encourage footfall and business across all sectors and help make Nottingham the go-to shopping and leisure destination of the region. According to the latest figures for January 2014, footfall for the city was up 3.5% on January 2013, contrasting with all UK towns and cities which saw a fall of 0.6% and with the East Midlands as a whole where the rise was just 0.9%.

The highly successful and high-profile initiatives delivered by the BID in 2013 included the Food and Drink Fortnight, 48 Hours of Fashion, a Christmas campaign with the theme of “where it feels like Christmas” and a major focus on the city’s independent businesses including a competition for people to vote for their favourite independent retail or leisure business. This was once again won by graphic novel shop Page 45 with the runners up being the Beauty Temple and The Cheese Shop.

In addition to these events, the BID launched its own version of click and collect called Select and Collect particularly for the city’s independent businesses as well as a smart phone app. All of these activities have been successfully promoted through the BID’s website, its scheme VIP Nottingham, advertising and PR & social media activity.

The Nottingham BID has also organised various initiatives in order to make Nottingham a cleaner, safer and more welcoming environment for visitors. It funds the team of taxi marshals who supervise the main taxi ranks in the city centre on Friday and Saturday nights to make sure people get home safely after a night out in Nottingham. It also part-funds the Street Pastors, who provide a welcoming and informative presence for night-time visitors to the city, as well as part-funding additional street cleansing and the late-night opening of city centre toilets.

The Nottingham BID manages the Best Bar None scheme, a national initiative which promotes the responsible management and operation of licensed premises. In 2013, 48 venues were assessed and given accreditation under the scheme.

Another successful side to the public face of the Nottingham BID is its Street Ambassadors who are a source of information to members of the public and form a key line of communication with BID members. In 2013 the Street Ambassadors provided an impressive 7,500 hours of support.

Led by the BID, Nottingham retained its Purple Flag status for a fourth year running. This represents national recognition of the excellent management of the night-time economy in Nottingham and confirms that our city is a great place for a safe night out.

In the summer months the BID also organises the Floral Trail as part of a joint initiative with Nottingham in Bloom. In 2013 this involved twelve wicker sculptures being planted to portray items which can be bought in Nottingham. Two additional sculptures are being added this year: an ice skate and a cup cake.

New for 2013, the Nottingham BID took on responsibility for Business Crime Reduction in the city. This included the appointment of a Business Crime Reduction Ambassador, the launch of a digital radio scheme and the creation of DISC, an online information sharing database. So far the radio scheme has attracted 175 users, a great result for its first year.

To ensure people make the most of what Nottingham has to offer, the Nottingham BID works alongside a number of car park and public transport providers in order to create special offers for use of their services in conjunction with Nottingham BID events. Often the offers involve free or low-cost parking, or public transport discounts, all of which encourage people to come into the city. A clear example of this is when 23,000 people took advantage of the Nottingham BID’s fantastic Boxing Day bus service which was provided by Nottingham City Transport.

The BID’s chairman, Jeff Allen, said: “The decision to merge the two BIDs was undoubtedly correct. People come to the city for the whole experience – to shop, to eat out and to spend their leisure time therefore so it made perfect sense to join up our activities to reflect this. It’s been great to see so many businesses taking advantage of the events and initiatives that the BID has delivered and to see the successes that we have achieved. I’d like to personally thank all my fellow directors for their hard work who all give their time for free in order to steer and lead the BID thereby making Nottingham a safer, more dynamic and welcoming city for everyone who visits and helping to boost business for our members – retail and licensed premises in the city centre.”

The BID’s next big event is 48 Hours of Fashion which is due to return to the Old Market Square on 29th & 30th March.