inSwindon BID has supported the town centre during the Covid-19 pandemic and is now helping it prepare for the reopening of non-essential businesses on 15th June.
Since the March announcement that all non-essential businesses would have to close, inSwindon BID has been in regular contact with each of its BID Members - town centre businesses which pay a levy of their business rates to promote the town centre and make it a safe and welcoming place to visit. While visitors have limited trips to visiting essential businesses during the lockdown, inSwindon BID has focused on promoting those which remained open for essential needs or switched to online and delivery services.
Now, in readiness for 15th June reopening of non-essential businesses, inSwindon BID Street Team Ambassadors will return to regular, physical patrols in the town centre. As part of an ambassadorial role, the Street Team supports the town's businesses and visitors, providing guidance and advice. For everyone's safety, the Street Team will maintain a two-metre distance from anyone who needs their help, and ask that visitors do the same. The team is unable to offer first aid and will seek necessary treatment for any medical emergencies.
The town centre's Caretaker will now resume normal town centre duties, paying extra attention to the cleanliness of the bins and benches which people may come into contact with.
The inSwindon BID team has placed physical town centre promotion events on-hold for the time being. It is concentrating on visual and virtual ways of interacting with visitors to ensure Swindon town centre remains a destination of choice for business, shopping and leisure.
Mark Rogers, Interim BID Manager for inSwindon BID said: “It’s been important to us to be able to support our businesses during this challenging time. They’ve had to quickly adapt the way they work so we’ve increased our engagement to provide relevant updates, guidance and advice to support business survival. Many companies have taken a temporary online shopping approach, but we know that for many of our retailers, face-to-face customer experience is a key selling point, and certainly for our high volume of independent retailers.
"We have formed a Working Party that consists of representatives from The Brunel, The Parade, Regent Circus and Swindon Borough Council to work together to ensure the safety of visitors and workers in the town centre. We will continue to monitor Government guidelines and advise visitors of any new changes and business openings. Please visit our website for all the latest news and store openings, and we look forward to welcoming you back to the town centre in the coming weeks as we ask you to #LoveLocal and support your local businesses.”
Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough's Council Cabinet Member for Town Centre, Culture and Heritage, said: “COVID-19 has had a massive impact on everyone's lives. inSwindon BID has been a voice for town centre businesses, and by the Council working closely with them and partners, we can welcome visitors back into our high streets on Monday.
“Now really is the time to save our high street. Please support our local independent traders in Havelock Street, Faringdon Road and across the town. Please visit, and use, your local shops and businesses!”
As a reminder, inSwindon BID works to four key objectives to support the town centre and its businesses:
- Better Promoted – to promote a vibrant town centre with different projects and an events calendar to increase visitor numbers to the town.
- Safe and Friendly – a team of Street Team Ambassadors who work to help make Swindon Town Centre a safe and welcoming destination.
- Clean and Well Maintained – a town centre caretaker who works to provide a top-up service to Swindon Borough Council ensure our town centre remains clean and tidy.
- Business Support – inSwindon BID provides a voice for more than 400 businesses in the town centre. It represents them at various business meetings on different projects and initiatives that benefit the town centre.