The BIG Bedford Spruce-up
Bedford's big spruce-up was a great success in the lead up to the River Festival! Read more here...
Healthy High Streets
Bedford is a member of the national Healthy High Streets (HHSt) programme www.bitc.org.uk/programmes/healthy-high-streets designed to provide support for hundreds of high streets over a three year period through access to business expertise and resource. Town ‘Champions’ will collaborate with local town teams to develop and implement activities to help businesses and indeed the town.
The programme was launched in June 2014 and is backed by some of the UK’s biggest high street brands - founding partners Boots UK, the Co-operative Group, Marks & Spencer, Santander and new partners EE, Exterion Media and Greggs. Other partners include the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) and British BIDS.
For Bedford, there are four key areas around which a plan is being developed with the HHSt Champions who include representatives from M&S, Greggs, Santander, Boots, Harpur Centre Management, EE, Woodfine Solicitors and BedfordBID, to deliver:-
- The BIG Local Business Town Centre Spruce Up Tuesday 12th July 2016. Just ahead of the massively popular River Festival businesses will be asked to engage their teams to show some love for our town! Knowing how busy the town is at River festival, with literally thousands of folk visiting, it seems like the ideal time to make sure that the spaces outside front, back & side doors look brilliant,! The aim is to make sure that visitors are able to shop in a great environment that leaves them wanting to come & visit our businesses again! Businesses will be asked to put Tuesday 12th July @ 10am in their diaries and check out staff availability on the day to see if they can be rostered to step outside and do could do some litter picking, weeding or maybe some light painting. How powerful it will be for the good folk of Bedford to see local businesses come out for the town and be seen to give something back.
- A business mentoring and upskilling programme to get local businesses working together to improve skills for the benefit of the town’s economy and community; FREE ‘peer to peer’ support. Firstly, the HHSt Champions have devised a survey to establish whether there are local businesses that would welcome the opportunity to access the knowledge, experience & insight that other local businesses within Bedford might be able to offer FREE of charge.
- A method of establishing a productive working relationship with Bedford markets to enhance the presentation and sharing of good practice to promote the town. In practice this has begun with supporting the Love Your Markets Week with social media training tweeting favourite photographs and tagged in Love Bedford, Mayor, Bedford Borough and (now following so included) Bedford Markets. Love Bedford Gift Vouchers are now redeemable at a variety of market stalls indicated with the appropriate signage.
- A Pathway to Employment programme working with a local charity The Kings Arms Project. Discussions are in hand to explore the feasibility of introducing a scheme that will work with recently homeless and rough sleepers, helping them to make the huge leap from homelessness to employment. It is split into three distinct areas: Mentoring, Life-skills courses and Voluntary work placements and employment.