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)

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.

Elf on the Loose in Leam!

Elf on the Loose in Leam!

Town centre CCTV has captured footage of a naughty elf who has been let loose in Leamington in the run-up to Christmas – and families are being invited to discover his antics and be in with a chance of winning a prize.

View the naughty elf on the loose here: https://youtu.be/DciLwIk1ADo

BID Leamington is launching an ‘Elf Hunt’ in partnership with the creators of ‘Atmap’, where participants can follow the footsteps of a cheeky elf and decipher his clues.

The elfs trail can be followed by downloading the local events app Atmap onto a smartphone, and participants will need to locate the elf’s trail of destruction around seven Leamington shops.

The app will allow people to scan a QR code in a shop, giving them a secret letter and a clue to where to find the next one.

Once the codeword has been revealed – participants can head to the final location, pick a mystery treat and enter the prize draw where a grand prize of £100 to spend in Leamington shops could be won.

Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, said: “Four elves originally came to Leamington to deliver Santa’s Post Box in the town centre – but only three left.

“One naughty elf stayed behind and caused quite a bit of mischief in the town centre, and we’re encouraging the public to follow the clues, find the elf’s hiding place and be in with a chance of winning a prize.

“The Elf Hunt will be a fun way for everyone to explore the town centre in the run up to Christmas – and we’re hopeful there’ll be plenty of people taking part who can find the elf’s final location!

“We are also grateful to be working with Jack Gibson and his team at Gibsonhaus who developed this idea and the new events app – Atmap.”

Also hidden in the trail is an Elf with a hearing aid that has been made by Ashlea Lines, of Me & You. She adapts toys so every child is able to relate to and love them, and is selling these handmade elves with 10 percent of sales going to the National Deaf Children’s Society.

The Elf Hunt will run from Wednesday, December 1 to Thursday, December 23.

It will also coincide with Small Business Saturday, a national campaign on Saturday, December 4 to highlight small businesses and encourage people to use them over the Christmas period.

All off street car parks will be free to park in on the day, and BID Leamington’s ‘Christmas Angels’ will be giving away 250 ‘goody bags’ full of vouchers for town centre businesses.

To find out more about the Elf Hunt, Me & You Inclusive Toys and what’s happening in town this Christmas please visit www.loveleamington.com/elf-hunt/. Download Atmap on Google Play on Android or the App Store on iPhones or visit www.atmap.co.uk for more details.

 

Unwrap the Magic of Christmas!

Unwrap the Magic of Christmas!

Visitors to Leamington town centre are being invited to unwrap the magic of Christmas and enjoy a host of festive activities over the coming weeks.

Alongside beautiful Christmas lights and shop windows, lots of popular attractions and events organised by BID Leamington are returning and there are some new surprises for all the family to enjoy.

Santa’s giant red Postbox has returned this year next to the Town Hall, and everyone is invited to post their Christmas wishes to Santa Claus.

Those who post their letters can leave their contact details and be in with a chance of winning £100 worth of vouchers to spend in Leamington’s shops.

For families wishing to get creative in the run-up to Christmas, Santa’s Elf Workshop can be found on the Lower Mall in Royal Priors near the Parade entrance.

Visitors can take a moment to relax, enjoy crafting some fun creations and write their all-important letters to Santa ready to post.

For one day only, all off-street car parks operated by Warwick District Council, plus Royal Priors car park, will be free on Saturday, December 4 to encourage you to shop early.

Leamington’s ‘Christmas Angels’ will also be back helping to make Christmas shopping an experience again. They will offer advice on the best places to find perfect pressies, somewhere to eat, or just helping to bring a little bit of sparkle to the day.

And the much-loved Lantern Parade will be returning on Sunday December 5 in the Pump Room Gardens.  Attendees can enjoy family entertainment at the Bandstand from 4.30pm before the parade sets off at 5pm to light up the town centre before ending at the Town Hall with some Christmas songs.

Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, said: “Christmas is such a lovely time of year in Leamington, and we are delighted to be organising so many fun and magical events and activities.

“We know how much people love the Lantern Parade, Elf Workshops and Santa’s Postbox so it is a pleasure to bring them back. We are also planning a few surprises in December with the help of some particularly naughty elves – so keep your eyes peeled!

“Adding to the fun, our popular Christmas Angels will help visitors to enjoy their shopping experience.

“There really is something for everyone in our town centre this Christmas, and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone over the coming weeks.”

For more information, including opening times for the Elf Workshop, and to stay up to date, please visit www.loveleamington.com or www.royal-leamington-spa.co.uk and make sure to follow @loveleamington on Instagram and Twitter.

You can also follow the @Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook Page and download event app Atmap from the App Store and Google Play for event information.

Our Annual Report, Invoicing & Next Steps

Our Annual Report, Invoicing & Next Steps

Our Annual Report, Invoicing & The Next Steps

Afternoon everyone,

As the BID Leamington financial year ended in June, we have naturally begun reflecting on our achievements and planning for the year ahead. This has been captured in our 2020-2021 Annual Report  (please click). This report draws to an end the third of BID Leamington’s five-year term (2018-2023) and whilst we face significant challenges as a result of covid-19, we are well placed to tackle the journey going forwards.

 

Responding to COVID

At the time of writing this, we are in the process of safely reopening our town centre a third time, as a part of our covid-19 recovery strategy. This has hit our business community very hard and close conversations with many of our members over the past year have revealed the enormous strain that many businesses are under and the varying circumstances they face. At this time, some have been able to trade through the crisis, whilst others remain closed and we are all awaiting government announcements in the lead up to July 19th, 2021.

In general, the whole business community is still managing much ambiguity and uncertainty, and we know that leadership and collaboration is needed to illuminate and navigate the path forwards. We also know that we are well placed to take this journey due to the strength and connectivity of existing local networks and partnerships across the local community.

As described in the Annual Report and across this website, BID Leamington has swiftly embraced the challenge of supporting members and we have now embraced the challenge of guiding our recovery and future transformation. We also remain focused on direct business support and continue to work with partners to lobby for further support as restrictions continue.

 

Our Recovery Approach & Framework

Drawing on knowledge and experience from the High Street Task Force, Institute of Place Management and other place management practitioners we devised a recovery strategy for our town. Specifically, this involved adapting their 4-stage framework that guides places from Crisis, to Pre-Recovery, Recovery and then Transformation. We are also pleased to have played a role in contributing to this framework and having our work showcased within the resource set on the High Streets Task Force website.

The diagram below sets out some of the key actions we have undertaken at each stage, and how we plan to direct our resources going forwards. At this stage, we are in the phase of guiding positive transformation – and as described within our report (p6) and below, there is a lot to look forward to in the coming year. Alongside this, we are working with local partners to coordinate recovery efforts, investments, and strategic decisions that will positively shape our town centre in future.

Reflecting on the path forwards, we have been invited by various partner organisations to discuss our approach and ideas – which can be viewed online. Specifically, the Leamington Society invited us to talk about the future of Leamington, and elaborate on some local issues including the Parade closure. This talk and a number of others can be found here:

We also advocate community placemaking … as a small team of two, much of what we can achieve locally depends on the support of many others in the community. We are very lucky in Leamington to have an incredible community in this respect.

Finally, for a little more insight into our approach and thinking, you may find this interesting – it was our ‘floral approach’ to ‘tactical urbanism’ showcased last year by the High Streets Task Force (HSTF):

 

BID Levy Invoicing

For almost ten years it has been our privilege to serve the businesses of our town. Whilst we have achieved great things and have faced various challenges; the BID Board of Directors and I are aware that the current situation is unique. In the months since the Covid-19 lockdown in March, we have had conversations with a large number of different businesses and understand that individual circumstances vary widely and the incredible strain many are managing. We are also conscious that some businesses have been able to trade through this period, while others remain closed at this time.

Warwick District Council is the collection agent for the annual BID Levy that was issued annually in July. Whilst there is a legal imperative to issue BID levy invoices to maintain the BID mandate, we acknowledge the varying circumstances facing businesses and have a strong desire to avoid adding further strain at this time. Reflecting this, the BID Board of Directors and Warwick District Council have agreed to some flexibility with respect to the payment terms this year. By request, you can defer the first payment until October 1, 2021. Also, if desired, businesses can request to set up a monthly payment plan from July or October as required. Of course, if you are in a position to pay the full amount in July, we would be very grateful.

If you wish to take advantage of either or both of these options, we ask that you contact us to let us know your plans as soon as possible. Please do this by phoning 01926 470 634 or emailing info@bidleamington.com. You can also contact Warwick District Council directly (as per the invoice details).

 

Our Transformation – Planning the Path Forwards 

As set out within our Annual Report 2020-2021, the value of your BID is more important than ever. Building on our excellent track record of delivery, many of you have experienced or seen how valuable our work has been. We have been front and centre, working with partners to get critical grant funds to members, helping businesses to adapt, providing professional advice and solutions, lobbying for additional support, maintaining links with our customer base and planning for re-opening our town.

Looking forwards, our town centre will inevitably change and we have begun gathering data to inform this. There are also some exciting plans on the horizon which are important to highlight.

This includes the Commonwealth Games in July 2022, which will see Leamington Spa host the bowls competition, as well as significant investment coming forward through the Future High Streets Fund (£10 million) and other private schemes. The work builds on our existing town vision and will be adapted to meet emerging needs and embrace local creativity and innovation. Already 1.8 million pounds of funding has been secured to upgrade local parks, improve wayfinding and our railway station gateway in advance of this.

Alongside this, we continue to roll out creative interventions and activities to ensure our town centre is inviting and welcoming, whilst continuing to support conversations with Local Authority partners to influence how our town centre is changing.

Though we face challenges ahead, the BID team have the experience and leadership to steer our town through the transition process. Together we have done a huge amount over the years and I believe it is the strength and resilience of this groundwork and our approach to partnership working that will help pave the way forwards. Please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or Alison to discuss your individual needs.

THANK YOU! … as always … we remain inspired by everything we can see you doing to navigate a path forwards.

Don’t forget to join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already. We will also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook Page – and the Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page is where we will showcase what you are now doing.

Best wishes and we look forward to seeing you out and about,

Steph & Alison

 

 

The Great Easter Egg Hunt

The Great Easter Egg Hunt

The Great Easter Egg Hunt

An Easter egg hunt in Leamington town centre this April is aiming to hatch a bit of fun while encouraging families to support their high street as lockdown restrictions ease.

Encompassing 50 shops, The Great Easter Egg Hunt will run from Thursday April 1 to Wednesday April 28 and will also introduce treasure hunters to some new businesses as well.

BID Leamington has organised two trails around the town centre where colourful eggs will be displayed in shop windows.

There are two ‘golden eggs’ to be found, one on each route. Once found, the treasure hunters just have to jot down the name of the shop onto the entry form to be entered into a grand prize draw to be in with a chance to win one of five £50 vouchers to be spent in Leamington Spa town centre shops.

There is also an adaptation of the trail online at www.loveleamington.com for those who cannot make it into the town centre.

The Great Easter Egg Hunt coincides with the planned reopening of shops on April 12, and Alison Shaw, BID Project Manager at BID Leamington, hopes it will encourage people back into the town.

She said: “We wanted to spread a bit of Easter fun around Leamington and give families a reason to come back into the town and visit our fantastic shops.

“It’s a great way for people to explore the town again, visit a wide range of retailers and enjoy themselves after what’s been a tough year.

“We hope plenty of people give The Great Easter Egg Hunt a go, and we’re looking forward to seeing our shops welcome back their customers once again.”

Treasure hunters can also view artwork from youngsters who participated in the ‘I Love Leamington’ campaign organised jointly with Go Go Makers, who asked children to create a self-portrait inside a heart – including the words ‘I Love Leamington’.

Their pictures are now on display in a selection of shop windows until April 6, and will then be displayed in the Royal Priors Shopping Centre after April 12.

Alison added: “We’re delighted with what the young artists have created. Their work and the Great Easter Egg Hunt will both help to encourage people into town as our shops reopen.”

Entry forms for the Great Easter Egg Hunt can be downloaded online at www.loveleamington.com, can be picked up from the white unit on the Lower Mall of Royal Priors, or can be found in the Leamington Observer. Forms will also be available from shops once they have re-opened. A post box for posting entries will be located at Coffee Break on the Upper Mall of Royal Priors, or entries can be posted directly to BID Leamington.

Closing date for postal and online entries is Wednesday, April 28 and the winner will be notified by Wednesday, 5 May.

Further information can be found on www.loveleamington.com.

Image: Alison Shaw (left) with Esquires owner Martin Brown.