Samantha Laycock (Harpur Centre Manager and Chair of BedfordBID)
Born and bred in Bedford, Samantha has worked in retail since leaving college and held various positions as Store Manager over ten years. In June 2007, Samantha joined Workman Facilities Management as the Operations Manager of the Harpur Centre in Bedford which consists of 35 retail outlets. After graduating from the “Diploma in Shopping Centre Management” in 2010, Samantha became the Centre Manager of Bedford and Huntingdon’s shopping centres. As well as being Chair (Dec 2015) of BedfordBID she is a member of the Huntingdon First BID board.
Harpur Centre, Bedford MK40 1TJ
Tel. 01234 357330
John Yatchisin (Woodfines Solicitors and Vice Chair of BedfordBID)
John is a Senior Associate at Woodfines, a long-established Bedford law firm with additional offices in Milton Keynes, Cambridge and Sandy. It provides a broad range of services to businesses and private clients alike, with specialisations in areas such as road transport and logistics, agriculture and public procurement.
John is an experienced company/commercial lawyer who came to Woodfines after 7 years as an in-house lawyer at Autoglass®. He has dealt with most issues that affect businesses and, prior to his move to the Bedford area, represented large financial institutions in the City. John joined the BID Board because he believes in the potential of Bedford, and wants to help transform the Town into a mecca for businesspeople and consumers alike! He also serves as a Bedfordshire Business Ambassador with the Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the Chamber’s Bedford Business Group.
Woodfines Solicitors, 16 St Cuthberts Street, Bedford MK40 3JG
Tel. 01234 270600
Rob Bartlett (The Standard)
The Standard, 26-28 High Street, Bedford MK40 1SP
Tel. 01234 269285
Peggy Butland (Pegalicious)
Pegalicious, 5a The Arcade, Bedford MK40 1NS
Tel. 01234 918621
Kamljit Chana (TK Heaven)
Kam brings over 15 years of regeneration skills, knowledge and experience to the BedfordBID Board, including experience in town centre renewal and growth. On a personal level she is a born and bred Bedfordian with a business interest within the BID area. Passionate about Bedford, she is ready to work hard in partnership with Board members, businesses and the local community for the good of the town.
TK Heaven, 7 Mill Yard, Mill Street, Bedford MK40 3HD
Gareth Ecott (Boots)
Boots The Chemist, 37 Harpur Centre, Bedford MK40 1TN
Tel. 01234 356231
Zap Hussain (McDonalds)
Zap is the Business Manager of McDonalds on Bedford High Street. He has worked under the brand of McDonalds for just over 30 years, working in many stores in many different towns.
Born in Bedford, Zap still lives in Bedford with his wife Edith and 4 children and feels that given his length of service and knowledge of Bedford he would like to help move BedfordBID forward as an organisation and continue the company's positive work.
Zap has seen a lot of change in Bedford and would like to play an active role in supporting BedfordBID.
McDonalds, 9 High Street, Bedford MK40 1RN
Tel. 01234 360544
Steve McBrearty (Cash Converters)
Steve is the owner of the Cash Converter franchise in Bedford. Cash Converters, with more than 230 stores in the UK is the number one high street retailer of pre-owned goods. Its portfolio also includes pawn broking and financial services.
With a background in the pharmaceutical and automotive industries, his last role was heading the European Retail Processes and Systems Division of General Motors. Steve comes with experience in franchise governance, strategic planning, outsourcing and large scale change management. Steve sits on the Cash Converters Franchise Partnership Committee, working on improving brand standards and products. The business has just past its fifth year and employees seven people from the town.
Cash Converters, 8 Greenhill Street, Bedford MK40 1LX
Tel. 01234 860251
Deborah Page (Arcadia Sweets)
Born and bred in Bedford, Deborah has worked in retail since leaving school, firstly joining Sainsburys management programme before joining the family run sandwich bar, Breadlines (now Sandwich Express). Over 17 years ago the family decided to change ventures and became the lucky owners of Arcadia sweetshop, this year’s winners of the Beds on Sunday town centre business of the year award, and one of the oldest (over 112 years) and original shops in town.
“I feel it is important to support the town I love and help the BID to promote and care for our great town.”
Arcadia Sweet Shop, 11 The Arcade, Bedford MK40 1NS
Tel. 01234 352322
Dave Roffey (Bedford College)
Bedford College is making its Deputy Director of Finance Dave Roffey available to be part of the Board which governs the BedfordBID.
The town centre college is a major levy-payer within the Business Improvement District and on top of that has ensured more than £600,000 has gone into local tills by buying ONLY Love Bedford vouchers as rewards for staff and students.
In addition, the 1,000s of Bedford College students and staff who pour across the Town Bridge account for a third of money spent in the town Monday- Friday, effectively keeping some of the businesses afloat.
Dave has worked at Bedford College for eight years and lives in Shefford.
“Like many people living outside of the town centre I have a choice where to shop at weekends and think it is important that the BID keeps people coming into Bedford. Like most Bedford College staff I have enjoyed receiving Love Bedford vouchers and being able to pop into town to redeem them at a wide range of outlets. I am looking forward to learning more about how the BID supports the town centre.”
Deputy Finance Director, Bedford College, Cauldwell Street MK42 9AH
Tel. 01234 291000
Christina Rowe (BedfordBID - Director of Operations)
A non resident of Bedford but with a passion to be part of a major new impetus needed to recover the town centre's past position, and in the longer term, grow relative to competitor towns.
With a background and experience of almost 30 years in the retail property management sector and roles including lead tutor and examiner for the College of Estates Management, Directorships of the Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre Association, Milton Keynes Theatre and Gallery Company, the tourism organisation Destination:MK, and achievements ranging from developing the first ever collaborative marketing campaign for Milton Keynes and winner of national and international marketing/customer service awards, Christina hopes to help to build Bedford's offer as distinctive from its larger competitors so it can assume a complementary position in the retail hierarchy, develop as a destination and to help accentuate the paramount importance the town centre's role in the region is strengthened, to enhance its attractiveness by broadening the role of the town centre beyond shopping towards being a great place for people to spend time – work, visit, stay and live.
BedfordBID, 1 Lurke St, Bedford MK40 3TN
Tel. 01234 404500
Cllr Charles Royden (Deputy Mayor, Bedford Borough Council)
Charles has held responsibility on the local council for transport highways and the environment since 2008. The portfolio includes a wide range of council services such as buses, parking and maintenance of roads and infrastructure. Charles is committed to the successful delivery of these services which are vital to supporting a thriving town centre economy.
The Vicarage, Calder Rise, Bedford MK41 7UY
Tel. 01234 309175
Mark Thompson (The ReUse Centre)
Mark grew up in a Bedford retail family. His grandparents owned Goodbands’ bakers on Castle Road for decades and also ran a successful stall on the Market. During his school years his parents owned and operated NewsFayre at the top of the High Street and The Chocolate Box in Kempston.
At 21 Mark left Bedford and moved to Houston, Texas, where he lived and worked for over 20 years. He returned to Bedford in 2007 and worked throughout Europe for 2 years, installing ERP systems, until the financial crisis hit. In January 2011 he started volunteering at The ReUse Centre. He had applied for a position selling goods on e-bay, they asked him to put in a software system instead. In April of 2011 he was hired as Operations Manager, and by March of 2012 he had become the Chief Officer.
Mark believes that Bedford has enormous potential and that Bedford BID is an important way for us to realize that potential. By helping the businesses in the town to become more profitable we will, by default, reduce unemployment, alleviate poverty and improve the profile of our town. He has seen a big change in the town over the last five years and it all appears to be for the better.
- The ReUse Centre is a Bedford based Charity. It has three primary charitable objectives.
- Alleviating poverty by making affordable household goods and furnishing available in the community.
- Protecting the environment by actively promoting Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in the community.
- Improving people’s self-worth by providing thousands of hours of work experience, skills and training each year.
They work closely with the Borough Council, Job Centre Plus and a wide range of voluntary and charitable organizations every year to make sure that they meet our objectives. Additionally they offer a low cost house clearance service, affordable moving service and a range of “man and a van” activities for individuals and businesses in the area.
The Reuse Centre, 1a Gadsby Street, Bedford MK40 3HP & 3 Church Arcade MK40 1LQ
Tel. 01234 358 009