Extra

Gloucester BID steps up to rally the city through second lockdown

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 02 November 2020 9:50

The powerful business group at the heart of Gloucester has spoken out to remind everyone why it is there – to support and drive the city forward, now more than ever. 

With businesses wounded by the first lockdown and beleaguered by the ongoing pandemic the leader of Gloucester BID has called on the city council and other organisations to work with it to help steer the everyone through the ongoing “crisis”. 

With a conscious decision to move pastrecent missives from the city council keen to deflect publicity from the collapse of its arm's length company, Marketing Gloucester, BID chairman Kieron Bates said the time had some to focus on the here and now and plan for a “bright new future.

“We decided some months ago that there was little point in dwelling on the failings of Marketing Gloucester Limited (MGL) and that we should instead focus on working with the council, the Cultural Trust and other colleagues and businesses across the city to help reduce the impact of Coronavirus and, especially, to re-boot our city’s vitally important economy”, said Mr Bates. 

“We were obviously concerned when the council-owned MGL went bankrupt as they were also responsible for the delivery of most of the services being provided by the Gloucester BID and were also managing, on our behalf, a range of BID-funded business and community projects. But that is all behind us now. 

As the manager of a city centre pub – The Fountain Inn off Westgate Street – he is under no illusions as to the challenges ahead for everyone as coronavirus forces the hand of the Government to introduce a new lockdown, highly likely to begin on Thursday this week. 

“It is going to be tough. We now have a couple of days getting a little bit of business in before lockdown. We are keeping the pub open as long as we can, with an emphasis on operating safely.  

“We will be like many other businesses – looking at what we can do then, both as a business and for our staff to see how we can help them understand the detail, how we can offer support to them and to other businesses. 

“That is also what the BID is about. It also offers a cost reduction service for its members, searching out the best deals and we will be looking to continue to do that too. 

“Working together, supporting one another is invaluable and will help create a vibrant community in the city for the future.” 

The cost reduction referring to energy, waste, recycling, water and even business rates and vehicle leasing and finance. Some members have previously been reported as saving double the cost of their BID contribution in reduced business and commercial costs. 

Mr Bates added: “New BID initiatives and projects include re-launching the Gloucester Gift Card in time for Christmas, helping to make the city safer at night via the City Safe scheme and improving the appearance of the city, with a renewed focus on making Gloucester ‘cleaner, safer, and more welcoming’. 

“The BID isn’t re-inventing anything. We continue to support our city council and to champion local business and we are now forging ahead on all fronts as well as strengthening our staff team, recruiting a new manager and inviting new members to join the BID director’s board”. 

The Gloucester Business Improvement District (BID) was launched on the August 1, 2017 and it is in the fourth and penultimate year of its initial five-year lifecycle (to the end of July 2022). 

The continued operation of the BID will then depend on the outcome of a re-ballot of local businesses which will take place in early spring 2022.   

A central element of the BID’s business plan is a programme of high-quality ‘footfall driving events’ designed to sustain the city’s evening and visitor economy and support Gloucester’s vitally important retail sector as well as the city council’s Post Covid 19 Economic Recovery Plan.