Thank you to everyone who attended our BID Open Meeting on Friday 8th June.

 

In attendance were:

Board Members: Simon Craig (M&S), Keiran Hart (Custom House) & Sandra Collings (Cumbria Sewing)

BID Manager - Colin Garnett

BID Secretary – Rebecca Jones

Business Owners / Managers: Elaine Burley (Oasis Designer Florists), Caroline Portis (B&DCU), Robert Baker (Sizzle In), John Rigg (Canoodles/Arribar/Mexicanas), Kay Bower (Barrow Labour Club), Mandy Evans (Studio 82/Reef), Lynn Beach (Rebel Interiors), Donna Dacre (Special Occasions), Charlotte Windle (St Mary’s Hospice), Suzanne Edgley (The Best of Barrow-In-Furness), Sam Hughes (The Duke of Comedy), Ged Pickersgill (The Well Communities), Doug Walters (New Tricks)

We asked all attendees to complete a questionnaire so we could find out how they thought Barrow BID was working towards the benefit of the town and what they would like to see...

 

1.Pointless

2.Ineffective 3.Needed 4.Worthwhile

5.Invaluable

0

4 6 2

1

 

Everyone agreed that the BID is needed but 4 people thought the BID had been ineffective so far.

Answers were:

  • Spending money but not much known about what on
  • None that come to mind
  • Spending money on nothing
  • Doing useless events and wages on nothing
  • Not moving on successfully with good ideas
  • This Meeting
  • Free parking
  • Increased footfall in town with free after 3pm parking
  • More events
  • Supported local businesses
  • Helping to promote local businesses
  • Improving Barrow
  • Car Show
  • Highlighted a need to improve footfall
  • Events and promotions
  • Improved/increased relationships between businesses
  • Didn’t know.

Answers were:

  • A Food festival
  • Christmas Market , Wooden cabins, mulled wine, ice rink
  • More community events
  • Comedy festival
  • Anything that gets people from out of town
  • Carol Service at Christmas
  • Family friendly that includes traders
  • More community/family outdoor events in summer
  • More events in Barrow Park – outdoor cinema
  • More festivals/art events/concerts – include pubs, live music in different shops
  • Heritage events (Use Barrow ship building)
  • Live entertainment on street to boost moral
  • Thorough and sufficient events - a BID is NOT about events!!!
  • Street parties – allowing business owners/levy payers to have temporary stalls in other parts of town and cafes restaurants having food outlets/stalls
  • Social inclusion events
  • Upbeat entertainment – live music, It’s a knockout

Answers were:

  • Empty shops – Spruce up
  • More vibrant atmosphere e.g. street performers, art & cultures, social interaction e.g. street football
  • Tart it up!
  • Improved parking
  • Better shopping experience
  • Herringbone parking in Cavendish Street , Parking half for businesses, half for shoppers, one way system
  • Shop owners taking pride in their shops i.e. making shops attractive to customers, keeping outside clean
  • Try to get more higher end businesses in
  • Less shut shops – more good shops
  • Nicer shop fronts including above the shop
  • Art in shop windows that are closed – tell stories of Barrow in the windows
  • Cleaner, tidier, more welcoming
  • Bus service
  • Cleanliness
  • Increased footfall
  • Less takeaways
  • Encourage more independent businesses
  • Art installations in town – such as a big board and people writing messages on it
    Big selfie board for people to take photos with – constantly change

Answers were:

  • Christmas Market
  • More events that are cost effective for people on lower incomes
  • Christmas decorations in smaller streets
  • Weekly events to bring people into the town centre
  • Activities, entertainment, light switch on to focus on town centre not opposite town hall
  • Better Christmas lights
  • Running theme through shop windows
  • Christmas trees above shops
  • Christmas carols with Christmas characters
  • Better street decorations
  • Xmas is Fine!
  • Christmas trees throughout town
  • More festive events
  • Interactive activities for children
  • OAP Hamper Provision
  • Gifts for children in hospital

Answers were:

  • Get more involved and meet other BID Businesses
  • Provisions of venues for events, activities or provide event volunteers
  • Ideas, Strategy, IT knowledge
  • New ideas, help to market the BID or communicate to other businesses
  • Marketing exposure to different audience
  • Don’t know, but ask
  • In any way that can promote Barrow, Charity events
  • With ideas and our own past events, volunteer for food events, can provide venue for future open meetings (Arribar/Mexicanas) free on Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs – John Rigg

4 People left the section blank

Football Event

Car Show Tour of Britain Signage No Events
7 6 1 1 5

1

15 listings for events, 1 for signage and 5 knew about nothing.

Colin Garnett the BID Manager went through a list of 18 events, projects and initiatives that he is currently working on since joining the BID on 9th April 2018

Answers were:

  • Barrow Council
  • Local people
  • Retailers who have a pride in their business
  • No-one x 3
  • The community

6 left this question blank

Throughout the meeting Colin Garnett (BID Manager) and Board Members spoke to the business owners and managers about the BID, what they wanted to achieve, how they wanted to work in partnership with local businesses and what they were working on now.

Attendees were then asked again...

1.Pointless 2.Ineffective 3.Needed 4.Worthwhile

5.Invaluable

 

1*

5* 4*

6*

 

Comments were:

  • Getting better
  • I will tell you in 6 months!!!
  • Key is communication – Need to know what is happening
  • Needs an identifiable strategy or structure
  • I have bought into Colin, on the fence about the BID

Conclusion & Actions

In general attendees felt the open meeting was worthwhile and offered an insight into the amount of work the new BID Manager and volunteer team of Board Members are doing to improve the town centre.

Important areas of improvement are:

  • Clean up empty shops
  • Attract businesses into town centre empty shops
  • Clean up the town centre
  • Improve all shop fronts
  • Put on events that offer good ROI and improve footfall
  • Improve communication with local businesses
  • Create a strategy (plan) for the development of the town over the next 3-5 years

Actions

  • CG to work with Suzanne Edgley on some Best of Barrow Awards for shop front improvements
  • CG to look into restoring the shop front grants scheme
  • CG to look into creation of a Barrow Events Facebook page where all events can be promoted by the BID and other partners
  • CG to improve the website and general marketing of the town
  • CG to create a strategy / action plan document before the next AGM
  • BID to hold open meeting every 3 months, next one in September
  • CG to meet with Ged to discuss empowering his team of volunteers
  • CG to discuss with police, initiatives to improve Cavendish Street
  • BID to come up with plan to improve Christmas in Barrow
  • CG to look into postal newsletter on 3 month basis