Bedford's Town Team came together in 2012, and since then have been improving the look of the High Street, providing free training and offering grants for new businesses.
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Market stall is top of the pops
From December 2013 until June 2014, the former Pizza Hut building at 68 High Street was home to a number of pop up initiatives under the BedPop banner with support from the Bedford Portas Town Team.
Throughout its six month tenancy, BedPop put on 19 events from pop up veg shops to art shows, national conferences to children's book events. However, the most successful and popular event by far was the BedPop Record Shop that took place on Saturday 10 May.
BedPop Record Shop trader Darren Harte was so impressed by the vinyl enthusiasm in Bedford that he has decided to take a weekly market stall here. From Friday 11 July, Darren will trading at Bedford Market between 8am and 4pm, selling vinyl and CDs.
This transition from pop up to market stall is in line with Mary Portas' recommendations in her High Street Review, with pop up shops being a way to trial a concept "We wish Darren every success," said Erica Roffe of BedPop. "The BedPop Record Shop was a great day and showed the traders that there is a real demand in Bedford for vinyl. Let's all support Darren's stall and maybe one day we will see a record shop again in Bedford."
Photo courtesy of Neil McCarty
FREE Business Mentoring
Bedford Portas Pilot Town Team are offering three months free membership to three businesses who will benefit the most from the mentoring of 'Emerson Patton Action Coach'.
Sue Wines owner of 'The Kiln', High Street who has paid £100 a month from her own pocket for a year said " This has helped my business so much - I really recommend it. I wouldn't have kept on paying if it did not show real results.
Terms & Conditions
To take advantage of this offer you must be able to commit to the following:
June 23rd : Full Business Planning Day 9-5pm (town centre location to be confirmed)
2 x ProfitClub meetings on 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at Embankment Hotel 8 – 10 am.
A deposit of £200 from each business which will be repaid by Portas on completion of required attendance over three months.
Apply before 31st May 2014 to Bedford Town Team via Christina Rowe, Chair of Town Team at BedfordBID, firstname.lastname@example.org
Startup Grants and Shopfront Scheme
The Bedford Town Team has allocated £15,000 of the Mary Portas funds to encourage entrepreneurs onto the High Street. Applicants can only apply for one grant up to a value, of one of two categories:-
- Start-up grants up to £2k to new businesses that have signed a minimum of 1 year lease with no break clauses.
- Pop-up tenants up to £500 for set up costs
Grants will be provided to ‘start-up businesses and pop ups’ (not for landlords with empty properties) in the town who can demonstrate a benefit by helping to create a busy, safe and attractive High Street that draws people from the local community and beyond as well as a tangible benefit which the town team can use to support the town and its on-going reputation and promotion. Ideas to be discussed at application.
The awarding of grants is at the sole discretion of the Town Team against set eligibility criteria (see below). Grants will not be awarded to businesses or pop ups that are deemed to be in direct competition with or similar to, businesses already trading in the locality.
For more information and ways to apply for a grant, click the links below:
FREE business training for all start-up businesses
Bedford Portas allocated up to £13,000 to finance free training courses for businesses in the town centre. The courses were delivered locally, at dates and times suitable for independents and covered a wide range of business-boosting topics.
Portas Pilot £51,000 well spent says Mary
Love Bedford has been applauded by the new Minister for High Streets, Brandon Lewis, for showing the way to the rest of the UK with its BID – Business Improvement District. Joining the Minister in Bedford on Monday October 14th 2013 was Queen of Shops Mary Portas who applauded the innovative ways in which the volunteer Town Team had used the £51,000 they had been given as a “bonus for Bedford businesses’.
She took a walkabout of the town centre meeting businesses who had benefited from the Town Team activities.
What do you LOVE about Bedford?
Volunteers behind Bedford's Portas Pilot were in town on Saturday November 3rd 2012 asking people what they LOVE about Bedford.
The street-level consultation was to get feedback from folk about what they love about Bedford and what would make them spend more time and money in the town centre.
Bedford Wins £50k From Portas Pot
In 2012, the "Town Team", created to bid for Mary Portas cash celebrated the news that it was awarded the £50,000 requested to fund a High Street project. BedfordBID and its Love Bedford banner, which represents 575 levy payers, together with Bedford Borough Council, Bedford College and Bedford Museum, as well as individual retailers came up with the winning plan.