Spring into Leam, Jubilee, Bunting & Commonwealth Games!

Spring into Leam, Jubilee, Bunting & Commonwealth Games!

We have been busy over the first quarter of 2022 delivering local events and promotions, and planning for a huge summer ahead. This has been done in partnership with local people and organisations and where possible, by utilising the remaining EU Covid support funding (which is why you may see EU logos on artworks). Below is a list of activities that you may have seen or are coming up …

Welcome Back – Spring into Leamington 

With the support of some Covid funding and various partners, a program of events and promotions has been delivered throughout March aiming to lift the spirits and welcome people into town. All of the events and promotions had to be delivered in March to meet funding requirements. This included:

  • Three weekends of music on the bandstand in partnership with OAF! and Warwick District Council.
  • Four weeks of ‘Spring into Leamington’ advertising in local papers and across social media.
  • Spring into Leamington Radio Advertising with Bauer (Free Radio) all month
  • Love Leamington advert in Live 24/7 Magazine
  • Show your Love – nominate a person promotion

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Showcasing our Hospitality Sector

Also with the support of  Covid funding, we are delivering a project celebrating our hospitality sector throughout March. With the help of popular food writer and presenter  Ellen Manning we are producing four blogs and a promotional video. We are aiming to feature as many businesses as possible and the outputs will feature on our websites, partner websites and across all our social media channels. The blogs include:

  • Where to Eat in Leamington this Spring – featuring many new businesses. Please click here to read.
  • A Meal for Every Occasion – coming soon.
  • Around the world without leaving Leamington – coming soon.
  • Leamington’s Food & Drink Festival – coming soon.

Our Taste Leamington Showreel (film) will be launching soon and we are grateful for the incredible support of the businesses involved.

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Queens Jubilee Preparations

The Queens 70th Jubilee celebrations will be in June (2nd – 5th) however the Royal Town of Leamington Spa will be celebrating this incredible achievement  throughout the year and our objectives are to maximize our investment, bring people together in the heart of our town, and where possible, create a legacy. Plans are still being finalised however for now we can announce:

  • Red, White and Blue bunting has been purchased to decorate the town centre. This will be installed by the end of March. We also have some surprise corgi’s on the way. Please watch this space!
  • We are organising a ‘Right Royal Picnic’ in the Pump Room Gardens on Saturday the 4th of June. This will be an inclusive, community-orientated celebration with fun activities, music and entertainment in the Pump Rooms. There will also be fun trails around town, competitions, and creative surprises aiming to invite people into the town centre and enhance the experience, also planned around this date. We are very grateful to Royal Leamington Spa Town Council for helping to fund this activity.
  • Warwick District Council will be lighting a Jubilee beacon in the Town Centre on Thursday 2nd June. This will include a town crier.
  • Our stunning floral baskets will be installed in early June.

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Little Book of Offers & Easter Trail

Other popular promotions including our  Little Book of Offers and Easter Trail are also returning and we are grateful for the contribution and support from local businesses. Key dates and figures include:

  • Little Book of Offers (featuring 57 offers) – available April 1st
  • Easter Trail (featuring 56 businesses) – runs 15th April to 22nd April

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Lights of Leamington

We have secured some grant funding from Arts Council England to research the return of this amazing historical event. The lights attracted thousands of visitors to our town from 1951 to 1961 and many people have fond memories of this spectacular event. This also inspired the Leamington Lantern Parade, an event we have been running for 10 years now. In this time many people have discussed the idea of ‘reigniting’ the Lights of Leamington however it would be a significant task and community, business and wider stakeholder support would be essential. This is why the Arts Council England has supported us to carry out a feasibility study to understand all aspects of the idea.

We have created a website and social media pages to provide background information and keep people up to date. There is also a survey we would be grateful if you can complete:

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The Commonwealth Games

Leamington Spa is hosting the bowls for the Commonwealth Games and we are expecting approximately 5000 visitors per day to the bowls venue over 9 days. There is a lot of work being done in preparation and we are having regular meetings with organisers. The aim is to maximise benefits to local businesses and minimise road closures or activities that may interrupt business. Alongside this, BID Leamington will be launching a refreshed Royal Leamington Spa website and preparing a variety of maps and guides to be distributed to visitors.

Key information on the games can be seen by clicking here.

Please see below a brief Q&A with key facts and figures that we know to date:

  1. What are the key dates of local bowls and cycling events?
    • Bowls competitions – 29th July until 6th Aug (2 sessions per day – over 9 days)
    • Cycle Road Races – Sun 7th August (Women race in the morning; Men’s afternoon). The route is here – please click.
  2. What is happening at the Pump Room Gardens?
    • This will be a public ‘live site’ with a big screen showing the games for 12 days (28th July – 8th August).
    • On Thursday 28th July – late afternoon activities for families, leading into the evening for the Opening ceremony.
    • The site will be open daily during Games from 10am – 10pm;
    • It will be based on an informal “village green” principle – free entry, bring your picnics, watch live events on the big screen. There will be some food and drink vendors on site but not many to encourage people into town. Key dates will also include some “street entertainers”.
  3. How many people are coming to the bowls event?
    • There are 5000 ticketed spectators a day – over two bowls session (am and pm).
  4. How will this benefit businesses?
    • Opportunities to promote local businesses (e.g. maps, guides, offers) are being discussed with B2022 (organisers). The ‘Live Site’ will be promoted and the route between the venue and the town centre will be signposted and extensively decorated.
  5. Will the town centre be decorated?
    • There will be colorful decorations in 4 key areas: Town centre, Live Site, Railway Station and walking route from station to Victoria Park. Also, some out-of-town dressing to welcome visitor upon arrival. Installation dates are still TBC.
  6. What works are going on around town and when will they be complete?
    • Town Centre Signage upgrade including new monoliths to be installed May/June.
    • Train Station concourse improvements – ongoing, completion due mid-June.
    • Improvements to Princes Drive car park – work about to commence.
    • The Traffic Management Plan will be signed off in the next 2 weeks by the local authority and we will update you further at this time.
  7. What else is going on and how can I make contact?

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Please watch this space as there is much more to come and please get in touch if you have ideas you wish us to consider. Alongside this, we continue to constantly promote, support, and champion the town centre and it’s businesses via our social media channels.

We want this to be a year of community and bringing people together and must continue to support each other as we manage the uncertainty and health challenges before us.

Best wishes, Steph, Alison and Gary (the BID team)

March Update: Meeting, Rates, Road Works & Events

March Update: Meeting, Rates, Road Works & Events

We hope you are all well. Please see below a quick update on some questions that have been coming to us lately – and information about our upcoming business meeting.

BID Business Meeting: Wednesday 30th March
The Royal Pug (141 Regent Street, upstairs)
Arrive 5.30pm for a 6pm start.

Please see (image above) our invitation to our next Business Meeting. This will be an opportunity to hear about the variety of events and activities coming up in town. This includes the 70th Queens Jubilee Celebrations and the Commonwealth Games and we will be joined by representatives organising this. We will also update you on emerging developments and investment in the town centre – as well as all our upcoming promotions and activities.

Please email info@bidleamington.com if you wish to join us, so we can plan for your attendance.

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Road Works 

We have fed back business concerns relating to the impact of the extensive road works in and around Leamington to Warwickshire County Council and Warwick District Council. The issue has also been raised and discussed in parliament by our local MP Matt Weston. Like many, we feel there should have been better planning and coordination between the various agencies delivering works this year. Questions have also been raised about the timing of some works given we had a period of two years during Covid when roads were quieter.

However, we are conscious of how we mitigate impacts now and have asked Warwickshire County Council about compensation for businesses. You can also write to them by clicking here. As below we are also busy planning to activate the town centre wonderfully this summer.

To stay up to date with current works – and plan for future ones please see this link to a local map of planned works.

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Business Rates Information

A number of businesses have asked us about what businesses rates they will be paying in the year ahead (1st April 2022 – 31st March 2023). As in the past, the amount you pay is related to the rateable value of the property from which you do business and the type of business you are (i.e. retail, hospitality, office etc). The rates multiplier and any rates relief is then applied. You can find your rateable value on the VOA by clicking here.

Please see some key information for 2022 – 23:

  • Small Business Rate Relief will continue at 100% for eligible businesses with a rateable value of 12,000 or less and on a % sliding scale for those with a rateable value of 12,001 – 14,999.
  • At the Budget, on 27th October 2021, the Chancellor announced the introduction of a new business rates relief scheme for retail, hospitality and leisure properties worth almost £1.7 billion in 2022-23. This will support the businesses that make our high streets and town centres a success and help them to evolve and adapt to changing consumer demands.
  • The 2022/23 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Rates Relief scheme will provide eligible, occupied, retail, hospitality and leisure properties with a 50% relief, up to a cash cap limit of £110,000 per business.
  • The Government anticipates that local authorities will include details of the relief to be provided to eligible ratepayers for 2022/23 in their bills for the beginning of the 2022/23 billing cycle.
  • The guidance sets out the eligibility criteria for the scheme – as well as some examples of how it will be applied, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-guidance-202223-retail-hospitality-and-leisure-relief-scheme/202223-retail-hospitality-and-leisure-relief-scheme-local-authority-guidance
  • The Business Rates multiplier rate is also staying the same this year with no increase.

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Some Key Dates for Your Diary

Below are some keys dates of interest. We will update you further on activities surrounding these events at our Business Meeting – and in our forthcoming newsletter. Please do not hesitate to give us a call if you wish to discuss any of these in more detail.

Please note, the events with * are organised by BID Leamington. The others are organised by various other groups and organisations with whom we have some contact so can put you in touch.

Dates – 2022 Event
Last Sunday each month starting February Covent Garden Quarter Markets (Warwick Street)
10th April Regency Run
15th– 18th April Easter Weekend Trail and Activities*
2nd until 5th June  (4 day public holiday) Queens Jubilee Weekend
4th June Leamington ‘Right Royal Picnic’ Jubilee Event in the Pump Room Gardens*
26th June Leam Half Marathon
28th July until 8th August (12 days) Commonwealth Games – LIVE site and Big screen in Pump Room Gardens
29th July until 6th August Commonwealth Games Bowls in Victoria Park
13th & 14th August Art in the Park  
20th August Warwickshire Pride
25th August until 11th September National Bowls Competition – Victoria Park
10th & 11th September Leamington Food Festival*
25th September Cars at the Spa
October onwards Sunday Markets
31st October Halloween Trail*
November onwards Christmas Markets
TBC Christmas Light Switch-on
5th December Leamington Lantern Parade*

 

As always, we have lots of news, events and activities coming up, so please look out for our future updates.

You may have seen in recent news we are working with a small group of partners to deliver a feasibility study investigating a future event in Leamington – reigniting the historic ‘Lights of Leamington’. Information and a survey on this can be found here: https://lightsofleamington.co.uk/. You can also find out more via this Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/LightsofLeamington.

Don’t forget the Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page, Instagram and twitter is where we showcase what you are doing / offering. Please also join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already and share your ideas, information, promotions etc. We also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook Page and information here on our website.

Please stay in touch and we look forward to seeing you soon,

Steph and Alison

Lights of Leamington Feasibility Study Begins

Lights of Leamington Feasibility Study Begins

Memories of a historic community event, which treated visitors to a kaleidoscope of light installations, music and performances, are being sought as part of a study which could see it return to Leamington.

BID Leamington has secured funding from Arts Council England to conduct a feasibility study into reviving the Lights of Leamington festival for the town.

The festival ran in Jephson Gardens in July and August from 1951 to 1961 and saw the park and its trees lit in a rainbow of colour, including installations like magical animals, characters from fairy tales and city skylines.

There were also clowns and puppets, an open-air ballet, and food and drink stalls run by local businesses at the event which brought hundreds of thousands of visitors to Leamington.

A steering group has now been created which will be conducting a feasibility study in conjunction with Curated Place, an award-winning creative arts production company, to explore how the festival could be brought back with a renewed purpose for the businesses, communities and people of Leamington.

The research will consider how the event would be funded, what the modern-day festival could look like, the logistics of delivering it and most importantly, if it is something that residents across the area would welcome.

As part of this, those who attended or worked at the original event over the years are being encouraged to share their memories of Lights of Leamington, reflecting on what made it special and why it was so popular.

Residents, businesses and community groups across Leamington will be invited to sign up for workshops where they can get involved in the exciting challenge of making the historic festival fit for the 21st century and what they might like it to include.

Anyone who would like to contribute is being invited to first complete a short survey and register their interest for ongoing updates at www.lightsofleamington.co.uk. A Lights of Leamington Facebook page has also been created to capture people’s thoughts and keep people informed of opportunities to get involved.

The potential return of the event has already received support from MP Matt Western, Royal Leamington Spa Town Council, Warwick District Council and Warwick District Creative Compact.

Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, said: “We were thrilled to receive a research grant from Arts Council England to see if it is possible to bring Lights of Leamington back.

“The approach of the BID is to help make the town centre a community centre, so we want to make sure the community is meaningfully involved in shaping the idea.

“We want to gauge interest and support and find out everything from what people would like to see and how it could be delivered, to the time of year they think it should take place.

“Our hope is to reinvent the festival for a new generation, embracing new technologies while reflecting its history, and we are very excited to be working with Curated Place, who bring considerable experience and expertise.”

Andy Brydon, director of Curated Place, said: “We are delighted to be working on this unique project that is deeply rooted in the history and memory of Leamington Spa.

“We specialise in planning, developing, delivering, managing and marketing major arts and music commissions, festivals, exhibitions across the UK and internationally.

“Drawing on our passion and experience, we will engage with the community and conduct research to map out a plan for bringing the Lights back to Leamington in a way that is both authentic to the memory but also looking to the future.”

Councillor Liam Bartlett, Warwick District Council Portfolio holder for Culture, Tourism and Leisure, added: “Lights of Leamington was a very special community event that ran for over 10 years and we know many people have fond memories of attending.

“We are very much in support of the feasibility study approach and look forward to seeing the outcome of the research.”

For more information, please see:

OUR SURVEY: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HX2JG5D

WEBSITE: www.lightsofleamington.co.uk/

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/LightsofLeamington

BID Update: Grants, Business Booster & Merry Christmas

BID Update: Grants, Business Booster & Merry Christmas

Morning everyone,

We hope you are all well. It has been a little while since our October newsletter (please view here) and we know some of you are very busy – while others will be once again digesting government advice relating to increasing Covid cases.

We want to keep this brief – but also reassure you of the support that is available as we go forwards. There is also a lot of behind-the-scenes work and lobbying going on, to ensure you and businesses around the Country are adequately supported as the situation changes.

Accordingly, this email contains the most up-to-date advice we have right now, but it will likely change, so please watch out for our emails and follow the social media and website pages listed at the bottom of the page as we will also post updates there.

This update covers the following:

  1. Business Booster – Lobbying for Support (Again)
  2. Grants – Yesterday’s Announcement – Websites to Bookmark
  3. Christmas Update & New Year Planning
  4. Looking Forwards, BID Support – Please Stay in Touch …

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1. Business Booster Campaign – Lobbying for Support (Again).

Very quickly, we felt that you should know we have been working with other BIDs around England, to lobby for additional business support following the Plan B announcement two weeks ago.

We know that this impacted hospitality particularly, but our ‘asks’ apply to retail, leisure and hospitality sector businesses. The letter that was sent to the Chancellor on the 19th of December can be viewed here (please click here) – and a jpeg image of the ‘asks’ is below for your information.

In summary, this included:

  • BUSINESS RATES RELIEF:  provide businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with 100% Business Rate Relief for up to and including 31st March 2022 [no cap]. After which we call on the Government to support the recovery by providing businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a 50% Business Rate Relief from 1st April 2022 to 30th June 2022 [no cap].
  • VAT EXTENSION: extend the current VAT reduction for the hospitality sector of 12.5% through to 31st March 2023 to allow for recovery.
  • GRANTS: introduce grants up to £15,000 by rateable value to businesses within the hospitality, retail and leisure sector in light of a difficult festive trading period, uncertain outlook and the impending rent quarter date of 25th December 2021.

As set out below, while today’s announcement is welcome – as you can see above and below, our industry colleagues feel the government will need to go further so will continue to engage with MPs and decision makers. Please let us know if you would like to support this work (on social media, with case study information etc).

 

2. Grants – Yesterday’s Announcement – Website to Bookmark

Yesterday’s announcement from the Chancellor of a £1bn fund for the hospitality sector and an extra £30m to help theatres and museums shows that he is listening to business concerns. In summary it includes:

  • Grants for hospitality and leisure businesses in England, worth up to £6,000 per premise. These will be administered through local authorities.
  • The resumption of the statutory sick pay rebate scheme, which will reimburse employers in the UK with fewer than 250 workers for the cost of paying statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences for up to two weeks.
  • £30 million further funding enabling more cultural organisations in England to apply for support during the winter (via the Culture Recovery Fund).

 

Grant Availability

Grants for Leamington hospitality and leisure businesses will once again be administered by Warwick District Council (WDC).

We were in contact with WDC in anticipation last week and again yesterday – to ensure that teams are being mobilised to deploy information and grants as swiftly as possible. We are not yet sure if there will be an application process, but we know it is urgently needed and we will keep businesses updated via this email and our social media pages (at the bottom of this email).

In addition, the WDC website has been updated with a holding statement – so please bookmark these pages:

 

Next Steps & Further Lobbying (For those who feel this falls short and those missed out)

On balance, the response to this has been mixed. It overlooks a number of sectors who have also been hit hard recently including hair and beauty, travel and others who have also seen cancellations. As set out above our asks cover all sectors, so this remains our focus. We are also conscious that the offer of ‘up to’ £6000 for hospitality and leisure will do little to cover recent losses. Below is a statement from Matt Sims who founded the ‘Business Booster’ Campaign:

“This isn’t the bailout businesses across the UK need and have been waiting for since Plan B was announced over two weeks ago. A £1bn package of support sounds impressive, but is a headline that distracts from the true reality that these are token measures and in no way reflect the reality that hospitality businesses are facing.”

“A £6,000 grant in no way compensates for the dramatic loss in trading hospitality businesses in particular are facing, and more important they can’t wait weeks for financial aid.”

“With speculation mounting of further restrictions, we need the Government to ensure any announcement is accompanied with a revised raft of financial support and measures to ensure hospitality, retail and leisure businesses get the support they need to mitigate closure and redundancies.”

So for now please stay in touch. As always we welcome your feedback and ‘on the ground experience’. We know that business circumstances vary widely and are available to help in a variety of areas, including signposting Health & Wellbeing, HR, financial and legal support.

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3.  Christmas Update & New Year Planning

Taking account of recent uncertainty we wanted to reflect on the last month and signpost some options for the new year. Whilst we know footfall does not tell the whole story, our footfall cameras on Parade show that our recovery has been strong. Since September we have consistently reached 2019 levels – which bodes well for our ability to bounce back whatever comes our way in future. By percentage, our ‘footfall to date’ is above the midlands and national average.

(Click to view footfall graph)

We feel that we have a wonderful, local, connected local community that contributes to this resilience. Love Leamington #LoveLeam and the shop local message is valued and we know many people have enjoyed our Lantern Parade, Christmas Goody Bags (x250 on Small Business Saturday), Santa’s Post Box (over 700 letters to date), Elf Workshop and other partnerships (such as with Atmap) and activities.

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4.  Looking Forwards, BID Support – Please Stay in Touch  

Throughout December we continued to showcase your businesses and products on our websites and social media platforms and this will continue into the New Year. Importantly if your circumstance change please let us know so we can update our websites and let the wider community know. Also, please email us content and ‘tag’ us into your social media posts.

The Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page, Instagramtwitter and www.loveleamington.com is where we showcase what you are now doing.

Please also join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already and share your ideas, information, promotions etc. We also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook Page and information on our website here.

We are optimistic that once we get over this next hurdle, 2022 is going to be fantastic. We are looking forward to the Queens Jubilee, the Commonwealth Games and lots more which we will update you on in due course.

In the meantime, we wish you and your teams a very safe and Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Very best wishes – please take care and stay in touch.

Steph, Alison and Gary

Lanterns Light Up the Town Centre!

Lanterns Light Up the Town Centre!

Leamington was once again lit up with a dazzling display of lanterns for the town centre’s popular annual Lantern Parade.

Hundreds of people gathered at the bandstand in the Royal Pump Room Gardens to join and enjoy the light spectacle known as ‘Luminate Leamington’, organised by BID Leamington.

The parade is a festive favourite and this year large sharks and whales, alongside elephants, reindeer, butterflies, hearts and beautifully decorated Christmas trees were among the array of lanterns that delighted spectators.

The lanterns included some that have been made in homes by families over the past month, as well as many that were started in woodland workshops hosted by BID Leamington in November.

After gathering around the bandstand for Christmas songs led by local entertainer David Harrop, around 200 lanterns paraded through the town centre behind shimmering stilt-walking angels from Flambé Circus Theatre.

The procession ended at the Town Hall with Christmas carols accompanied by the Royal Spa Brass Band and the Baptist Church Choir, and there was also a surprise visit from Santa too.

Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, said: “It was very special to see the Lantern Parade return this year after two years away.

“There a quite a lot of preparation, so I always feel a little overwhelmed with joy watching it culminate with lanterns winding their way around the whole perimeter of the Pump Room Gardens – it is very beautiful.

“This year I really enjoyed the setting of the woodland workshops in Foundry Wood and as always, I am blown away by the creativity, diversity and joyfulness of everyone who takes part.

“Also, I would like to thank our local businesses who support this event and all the volunteers from the University of Warwick, Rotary Club and others, who helped at the workshops and the parade.

“BID Leamington still has a number of other festive events coming up and we look forward to seeing everyone support our town centre in the run-up to Christmas.”

BID Leamington has already deployed the Christmas Angels to add some sparkle to the town centre, and families can enjoy the Elf Workshop in the Royal Priors on weekends and post letters in Santa’s Post Box, located in Regent Court.

This year Thursday late-night shopping will begin on December 16th through to December 23rd, and there is also an Elf Hunt running until Thursday December 23rd with a £100 shopping spree up for grabs.

For more detail about town centre activities, new businesses and other helpful information, visit www.loveleamington.com or www.royal-leamington-spa.co.uk.