Bury St Edmunds: Bid4Bury pledges to build on its early successes
BURY St Edmunds town centre improvement organisation Bid4Bury is promising to build on its achievements so far as it enters the second half of its five-year term.
Bid4Bury, which is responsible for delivering the town’s Business Improvement District (BID) initiative, funded by a supplementary rate approved in a ballot of business ratepayers, passed the half-way mark of its term on September 30.
The team behind the project aims to promote Bury all year round as a place to visit, shop and live, and points to the town’s Food and Drink Festival, the Whitsun Fayre and the Christmas Lights switch-on event as successes so far.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Bid4Bury, said: “This organisation was voted for and is funded by businesses in the town and I, together with the board of directors, want to make sure that their money is being spent to the benefit of all the members.
“Organising successful events means that people come into Bury and hopefully will return again and again. However, it’s not just about putting on events and Bid4Bury has campaigned on issues that are vital to the success of member businesses including business rates and car-parking charges. We have also created the marketing brand ‘ourburystedmunds’ which has really put the town on the map.”
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Mr Cordell and events manager Jackie Regan Bid are 4Bury’s only full-time employees, but will soon be joined by a part-time BID liaison officer who will work closely with its members.
“The member businesses want to see their money being spent on benefits for the town, so I am mindful that we need to keep the running costs of Bid4Bury to a minimum,” added Mr Cordell.
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“I’d like to thank the board of directors, who are all volunteers and, in the main, made up of representatives of BID members. They all put in a significant amount of time and work to enable the organisation to be the success it is.”
One of the volunteer board members is Mark Daly from Greene & Greene solicitors. He said: “I really believe that Bury St Edmunds has the potential to be one of the main business centres in East Anglia and by getting involved with the work that Bid4Bury is doing I can help make that happen.
“I’m keen to promote the commercial and professional service businesses alongside the work that’s being done to ensure the town is an attractive place that people will want to visit time and time again.
“This will also contribute to Bury St Edmunds being a great place to live, which will help our businesses attract and retain the best staff.”
Following the approval of the BID project, membership became compulsory for more than 350 town centre companies over the �10,000 business rate threshold, but nearly 20 smaller businesses have also become “voluntary” members in order to reap the full benefits.
Melanie Fairweather who runs Bliss Hair Studios in Langton Place and is one of those to have signed up as a voluntary member says she has found the organisation’s support invaluable.
“The marketing work they do is worth the money alone,” she said. “My business is promoted through the ‘ourburystedmunds’ website, social media and the phone app, but as well as that I’ve been involved in some of the events which have given me an opportunity to promote my hair salon to a far greater audience.”
Bid4Bury’s next major event is the Christmas Lights switch-on on November 15 and it will also be supporting entertainment in the town on late night shopping evenings during December.
Working more directly with member businesses it also recently organised a “Question Time” opportunity allowing business people to quiz local political leaders and has sourced a number of special deals for members to save money on running costs.