June has been a very busy month for us at the BID, following on from the huge success of the Whitsun Fayre and the beach and the large number of visitors to the town the event attracted, we have moved on quickly to holding our AGM last week.
The event was well attended and I used the opportunity to outline to our members all that we had done for them and the town last year and all we have planned for the current financial year and, if I say so myself, we are incredibly active and productive when you consider we have only been a team of three since January
I believe that just over two years since the arrival of myself and my colleague Jackie, what the BID provides for its businesses is unrecognisable from what existed before and this is a large contributory factor to Bury remaining vibrant at such a difficult economic time.
At the AGM the results of the annual Benchmarking Exercise, carried out by the independent organisation Action for Market Towns, was announced and I am obviously delighted that there were so many positive indicators from the work they carried out about the town, what visitors to the town think and from our businesses, too. I was particularly pleased that the percentage of visitors to the town has almost doubled since the survey was carried out last year and I believe that this is as a direct result of the change of direction in our marketing strategy where, since the turn of the year, we have been extending the geographical reach of promoting Bury and our businesses beyond a 20 mile radius of the town, which is where we focused our activity in 2012.
Although we commissioned this research, the positive outcomes are, of course, not totally as a result of our activities, albeit I believe these have had a considerable positive influence. No, the reason the town is so well regarded is, in my opinion, as a result of far greater and more productive partnership working in recent months, be this with the local councils, our businesses, the market, the media and also providing what the public want from the town. As I have been saying ever since I took up my role, if we all pull in the same direction there will be benefits for all and I am strongly of the view that we are starting to reap the rewards of these efforts.
Last Saturday, the St John’s Street Fayre took place and, as usual, there was great support from the public for this unique street and hopefully more people became aware of the great variety of independent businesses it is home to. Unfortunately, the good old British weather didn’t behave and this probably affected numbers who attended and how long they remained.
Tomorrow, the town centre is host to Armed Services Day and also the national Love Your Market Day, so why not pop into to town and support two great national institutions?
Next week is Independents Week in Bury where I want as many of you as possible to visit and support our independent businesses and then to keep going back throughout the year.
The benchmarking exercise placed much praise upon the wide variety of shops, cafes and restaurants that are in our town and saw them, and particularly the independent businesses, as one of the keys to the success of the town, so please do all you can to actively demonstrate your support for them.