Latest Newsletter

Kendal Business Improvement District

 

Summer Newsletter 2017

 

Welcome to Summer 2017..

Following the recent AGM, we thought it would be helpful to briefly describe Kendal BIDs achievements over the last few years. This newsletter also covers the structure of the Business Improvement District, how it works and to dispel some of the most common misconceptions, as there are several new businesses to the area who have not yet had time to find out much about Kendal BID.

Kendal is an amazing place to live and to do business: we are fortunate to have a fantastic array of independents and a great selection of larger businesses, coupled with a busy and expanding service sector.

We promote this message in everything we do. Together we can all make sure visitors and your local customers believe it too.

Kendal Business Improvement District is a defined area in Kendal.( You can see a full map on the Kendal BID website.) The BID system is a national process that runs on a levy system. When the majority of businesses in the defined proposed Improvement District vote for it to become a BID the majority rules and all businesses have to subscribe. This was the case in 2014, when Kendal BID was founded following a majority vote, meaning that businesses in existence at the point of inception were given the choice.

All businesses in the defined area with a rateable value of £3,000 or more have to pay 1% of their rateable value into a pot (the BID levy) to create the budget for BID programmes and initiatives to help improve Kendal as a place to run a business. Improvement initiatives are in line with a pre-determined 5 year business plan and are implemented by the Kendal BID Board. This is not to be confused with your business rates. It is a separate payment equal to 1% of your business rateable value.

The Kendal BID Board is made up, in the main, of volunteer unpaid local business representatives, elected from businesses within the BID zone. It is a not for profit company limited by guarantee. There is local authority representation from Kendal Town and SLDC both of whom are also major BID levy payers.. A full list of BID Board members can be found on the Kendal BID website.

The BID system is not illegal. A recent legal challenge to the BID system in another part of the country failed. The BID system is monitored and governed by law. Kendal BID is part of “British BIDs” and takes best practice from them.

Kendal BID is unique in the fact that it has nearly 700 hereditaments (businesses liable for the BID levy) and a small total levy collection of average £150,000 per annum.. Kendal BID has 1 part-time project manager (whose salary costs come below the British BID’s maximum administration % allowed). To put this into perspective Lancaster BID has a levy collection of £230,000 from only 300 businesses and the equivalent of 2 full-time  staff.

 Kendal BID covers all business sectors and has representation from all sectors on the board. We have quickly recognised that sectors such as retail and hospitality are easier to service. Contact has been made with other sectors (through those sector representations on the Board) and those sectors decided to not engage fully at this time, recognising that a general improvement in the town is beneficial to all sectors. There are also geographical areas within the BID zone that are easier to service than others. Kendal BID has always tried to include all areas of the zone wherever possible through its different programmes and projects.

The ethos behind all BIDs and clearly behind Kendal BID, is centred upon improving the Town as a whole, rather than individual businesses relative to how much they pay in terms of BID levy.

Many larger businesses recognize the benefits in terms of turnover, footfall and profit of promoting Kendal as a whole which is why they support the BID system. A solicitor or accountant may not get a direct benefit from being part of the BID but will understand that increased footfall, a good retail offering and a good hospitality offering will not only service their offices but increase demand for their services from a larger and more diverse pool of  potential clients.

A Confident and Competitive Kendal

  • Media Campaigns;

Consumer awareness campaigns of Kendal on Radio have been created and featured widely across The Bay and Lakeland Radio. Campaigns targeted a wider catchment area over peak times such as Christmas to attract new shoppers into the town to find out what we have to offer.

Local Press have been supportive of Kendal BID, we have successfully managed to get substantial coverage of all of our projects and have also had numerous press advertising campaigns. Cumbria Life and Lancashire Life magazines have featured prominent articles on Kendal as a result of BID initiatives and press releases.

Other Press has also been key, Kendal BID has vigorously promoted Kendal throughout the Northwest in different publications and also created eyecatching  displays in key railway stations across the country such as Manchester and London, marketing Kendal as only a short journey by train. This coupled with Virgin Trains discounted train fares from London and increased publicity on Radio 2 post floods through our ‘water bottle’ campaign, has helped Kendal recover from the 2015 floods.

The reopening of Victoria Bridge was promoted through a local campaign where businesses were encouraged to give treats to shoppers by way of celebration. A video of Batman and Robin running across the Bridge was also produced which gained thousands of hits on social media, in addition to a marriage proposal!

Social Media is key to much of our marketing and “Kendal Mint Cake and More” (twitter/ facebook and Instagram) in its various guises is attracting substantial following, especially with a dedicated social media expert. We gained funding to help 12 businesses in the town attend a Social Media Course for free (usual cost £300 per delegate). Courses are still available, so please contact us if you are interested in attending.

  • Key Projects;

Swipii is a key project for Kendal BID and the small businesses involved in it. A decision was made by the Board in 2015 to fully support this project so that businesses could get used to and understand the importance of target marketing to customers via a dedicated loyalty scheme. One of the key features of Swipii is that we can directly attribute and quantify an increase in turnover from the campaigns generated.

 

Some Key Facts:

  • Every business in the BID zone has been offered Swipii for free since 2015. For some businesses it works brilliantly.
  • 17,314 individual users of Swipii have visited participating businesses since it began. That is well over half the population of Kendal carrying dedicated Kendal loyalty cards.
  • 128,652 total visits to participating businesses  by Swipii card carriers.
  • Participating businesses are encouraged to send out email marketing campaigns to targeted customers. Each business has a personal campaign manager from Swipii who handles all promotions so that the extra work does not fall on the individual business owner. 195 campaigns have been sent out since inception
  • Total turnover attributed from Swipii campaigns directly to the top 5 Swipii businesses since inception equates to in excess of £10,000 directly into the tills of 5 small Kendal businesses.
  • At present 44 businesses in Kendal have Swipii.

 

The Kendal Gift Card is another key project from Kendal BID. It was launched alongside the inaugural Torchlight Carnival Day under REDISCOVER KENDAL. It amazed us how many people commented on the number and type of businesses they didn’t know existed and after completing the REDISCOVER KENDAL TRAIL had a better knowledge of the town.

The idea of the Kendal Gift card is to enable all businesses to participate both big and small, recognizing the synergies between them.

Some Key Facts:

  • The Kendal Card is being bought and is being used widely.
  • It does not cost a business anything to sign up to the card; there is no contract to sign and the only prerequisite is that they accept VISA cards as the system works through a VISA terminal. This ensures that all payments are covered by the VISA guarantee and the business is paid through their normal VISA transaction process at their normal VISA commission rate.
  • It ensures that money stays within Kendal and in the tills of businesses in the town.
  • Businesses that have had transactions from the Kendal Gift Card are businesses that have;
  1. Displayed the point of sale information provided in a prominent position (window stickers and till stickers)
  2. Advertised the fact they accept the card, through their own media such as websites, social media, advertising  etc

Kendal BID displays participating businesses details on the Kendal card website and frequently names them in different adverts. www.thekendalcard.co.uk

If you want people to use the Kendal Gift Card in your business then the best way is to tell them that you accept it.

  • Kendal, The Festival Town;

Support of Festivals has always been high on Kendal BID’s agenda and it has strict criteria for providing funding. We have recently upgraded the criteria to ensure that:

  • All festivals must demonstrate direct benefit to the town.
  • All festivals must incorporate the key projects such as Kendal Gift Card and Swipii in their promotions.
  • All festivals must not only promote the rest of the activities in town but also the festivals and activities that happen during their marketing campaigns.

Following the first 2 years of BID, we carried out independent research to ensure that businesses were still happy to support festivals through direct financial support from Kendal  BID. Despite businesses saying that some festivals hindered sales, they still felt it was important that Kendal was seen as a festival town and that the BID financial programme should be used to support them.

Kendal BID has supported/ continues to support the following festivals in Kendal, as directed by the majority of businesses;

  • Kendal Mountain (Film) Festival.
  • The Torchlight Carnival.
  • The Kendal Christmas Lights Switch On.
  • Lakes Alive Arts Festival.
  • The Lakes International Comic Art Festival. ( Kendal BID instigated and sponsors the annual Comic Art Windows Trail that many of you participate in, which continues to be very successful and always oversubscribed.)
  • Kendal Festival of Food.

 

Clean, Safe and Attractive

  • Festival Kitbag;

Kendal BID is a supporter of making the most out of limited resources and has pioneered a programme to encourage sharing of resources between various user groups in Kendal’s events calendar. This initiative is ongoing.

Key Facts:

  • Kendal BID purchased electrical adaptors that can be used for events in Kendal
  • Kendal BID paid for the training of local people as volunteer Road Marshals
  • Christmas Festivities;

Everyone recognizes the need for Kendal to look good during the Christmas period and Kendal BID not only supports the Kendal Christmas Lights Switch-On but has also invested in a bigger and better Christmas tree in the market place.

As promised we have extended the Christmas lights into Stricklandgate and Sandes Avenue, creating infrastructure for future years (external weatherproof electrical fittings now gifted to the town via Kendal Town Council). We also provided mini solar powered Christmas trees to enhance Blackhall Road, following extensive work to gain necessary permissions and carry out safety checks on the lamp posts. We fitted generic holders for both mini Christmas trees and hanging baskets in Kirkland and Allhallows lane, this infrastructure will be there for the future. The commitment and expertise necessary  to gain permissions, health and safety checks for even quite small infrastructure projects is often underestimated, and creates a lasting legacy of the BID for businesses to take advantage of for many years to come.

Kendal BID had 4 “Son et Lumiere” shows produced that were projected on to buildings within the BID Zone and commissioned street performers over the Christmas holiday period including a samba band. This added to the festive atmosphere in town and has received positive feedback from visitors and businesses.

  • Branding Kendal

The feeling that Kendal needed a more defined identity led to a project executed by Kendal Futures and funded partly by Kendal BID. The new Kendal branding is being used widely on publications/ advertising as well as the Kendal Gift Card, across the town to ensure that Kendal presents a more professional and coherent identity to the outside world.  Any Kendal business is welcome to use this branding for free to further cement their association with Kendal, all guidelines are downloadable form www.kendaltowncouncil.gov.uk

  • The Market Place

Many traders have commented on the current state of the Market Place during this period of works. Specifically, the weeds, litter and the state of the seating area. The responsibility lies in 2 separate local authorities; South Lakeland District Council are responsible for litter and the seating area and Cumbria County Council  Highways are now responsible for the weeds.

An immediate response from SLDC has meant that traders’ litter will be removed but litter dropped by the general public is another issue. SLDC have contracts that clean the market place but we all need to encourage customers to place litter in bins provided and maybe in some cases take responsibility to quick check outside your own business to keep it looking its best.

Whilst we are unable to replace the seating with temporary seating as liability would still rest with SLDC we are going to try and make it look prettier for the rest of the summer with some strategically placed planters.

Kendal BID has written to CCC Highways to request that the weeds are removed with immediate effect and regularly thereafter.

Convenient and Accessible

  • Car Parking;

One of the most common areas of concern in every town is car parking; lack of it, costs, size of spaces, opening times. Kendal BID, in partnership with SLDC,

  • provided reduced parking charges on Sundays which saw a 13% increase in the numbers of people using the towns parking facilities
  • Free parking during December

Independently, we also provided a free Park and Ride service over the Christmas periods, negotiated parking subsidies after the 2015 flood, part- funded the 106 outlying bus service to bring customers in from rural areas and have persistently lobbied to ensure that secure cycling facilities were upgraded in the town.

Alternative forms of transport are a national agenda and although many businesses have, in the short term, being disrupted by the cycle path provisions, an increased cycling culture is something that is here to stay. Kendal BID committed to provide 20 free secure bike storage facilities for the town and was able to use this money as leverage to also provide 3 additional passenger bus shelters. Under the project Cleaner Greener Kendal, this meant that we used less of BID’s money and achieved more. The passenger shelters make the journey into town more pleasant for users and have been gifted to Kendal Town Council to ensure that they have sustainability.

Note on Wildman Street… we would like to respond post trial as a BID and would appreciate your comments.

  • The Kendal Leaflets

This project was led by Kendal Town Council and funded and supported by Kendal BID. It was recognized that there is very little information about Kendal in the wider area, except for a few individual activities and attractions. In Windermere TIC for example they had no generic information about the town of Kendal. Kendal BID has ensured we have a presence there through the leaflets as well as on-site TV marketing and, most recently, graphics on the back of Mountain Goat buses (in collaboration with the Westmorland Shopping Centre). The three leaflets have been well received and Kendal BID Board have agreed longer term funding for distribution and reprint.

  • Healthy High Streets

Kendal BID competed and were successful in becoming part of the national Healthy High Streets scheme. This has enabled us to gain valuable access to the larger businesses such as Boots, Santander and M&S. Among other things, this is the reason why Boots Plc Kendal store accepts the Kendal Gift Card.

  • The Kendal Website

Within the Kendal BID business plan, one of the noted actions was to create a Kendal specific website. www.visit-kendal.co.uk was launched earlier this year following almost two years of tendering, design and consultation,  by Kendal Futures. Kendal BID part-funded the website and was heavily involved in its design from the beginning of the process to an ongoing role in its promotion and development today. The website is being heavily promoted by Kendal BID in everything it does, including our social media initiatives. We want the Kendal website to work for all the BID businesses so please ensure your website links to it. As with previous newsletters you are invited to put your business information on the website by going to www.investinsouthlakeland.co.uk/businessdirectory where details will be automatically uploaded to both websites. This is a free service.

  • Summer Trails and Umbrella Displays

Kendal BID wanted to get people moving around the town and felt the best way to do this over the summer months was;

  1. Providing something fun for people to do, with a special focus on children and with them, their parents
  2. Involving as many of BID businesses as possible.
  3. Providing fun and colourful displays for visitors and locals alike

We commissioned Felltarn Ltd to produce the following;

  1. 4 Children’s trail maps with activities that would encompass the whole of the BID zone plus take into account the umbrella displays.
  2. 1 Boozy Trail and Wine Time Map which incorporated all the ‘night time’ activities including restaurants, pubs, takeaways and the cinema.
  3. An Historic Trail Map that highlighted the many historical points of our wonderful town.

We commissioned City Dressing to provide 3 colourful umbrella displays that would brighten certain areas of the town. The reason for them being on private sector land and not in the other areas of town is because we were unable to obtain the permissions necessary from the local authority.

Every primary school in Kendal and surrounding areas was given leaflets to distribute to pupils and the hotels and TIC’s were also given them. There are numerous collection points for the Maps around the town and surrounding areas. We also produced branded pencils as giveaways.

These trails and umbrella displays have and continue to be extremely successful and popular, we have had people saying that they never came into town and didn’t realise that there was so much diversity on offer. Some businesses have really taken advantage of the trails’ obvious marketing opportunities and have offered trail treats, advertised for free on the trail maps and made displays that link to them. Those businesses are the businesses that are seeing more benefits from this initiative. As always, the extra effort by some businesses is showing in increased footfall and sales.

Welcome to our Town

We have a plethora of new businesses to the town and we welcome you…including and not exclusive…

Begin With Nature

I Luv Me Most

The Gate of Kendal

Pandemonium Pots

Jules B (additional shop)

Comida Foods

Fell Bar

Farmhouse Kitchen

Café Olive

Banks Lyon

For those of you that attended the AGM- thank you. If you couldn’t make it this time you can still stay in touch by reading the newsletters and linking up with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We will always try to promote BID businesses above others, so please let us know your news, your promotions and good stories about our town. Use the hashtag Kendal to help us find your messages easily.

Please remember that the Kendal BID Board is a VOLUNTEER BOARD and with only 1 part-time member of staff it is impossible for us to visit every one of the 700 levy businesses. As indicated in all of our hand delivered newsletters we rely on you to get in touch with your great ideas!! Sarah@kendalbid.co.uk

Contact Summary

 

Kendal BID website

www.kendalbid.co.uk

 

Kendal BID Manager

sarah@kendalbid.co.uk

 

Kendal Website

www.Visit-kendal.co.uk

 

Sign up to the Kendal Website

www.investinsouthlakeland.co.uk/businessdirectory

 

Social Media

Instagram: Kendal_mintcakeandmore

Twitter: Kendal:MintCake&More

Facebook: Kendal: Mint cake and More

 

#kendal

 

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