Since we started in 2006 we have ensured that the City Centre Businesses voice is heard and listened to at local, regional and national levels.
As part of Welsh Government Task & Finish Groups, we secured £243,000 of seed funding for more BIDs to be created pan-Wales as well as advising on a new rate relief schemes that reduced costs for relevant businesses that meet the criteria securing over £290,000 in benefit for BID businesses. We have also facilitated and supported the Welsh Government broadband voucher scheme securing £30,000 direct benefit for BID Businesses improving online presence and connectivity.
We have been and continue to be part of the hugely exciting £1.3 Billion Swansea Bay City Regions board and new Economic Strategy support groups ensuring BID businesses voice is heard and recognised at these exciting times for the BID area regeneration. We work hard to ensure BID area businesses are as informed as possible concerning the regeneration works of which £390 million worth is now underway.
Working with our Local Authority we facilitate and provide free advice and guidance on business grant and funding schemes available to existing and new businesses/investors in the BID area such as Homes Above Retail Premises and Property Enhancement Development fund. To date, we have helped secure over £1.5 Million in business grants within our BID area for businesses working with partners improving the trading and visitor experience.
We also provide vacant unit virtual vinyling schemes and frontage redressing that improve the aesthetics of the BID area whilst also helping recruit new tenants. This works with our professional service information pack that includes foot flow data, demographics, dwell time, travel distance, hot spots, population, shopper profile and regeneration information which we provide free to landlords and agents who then distribute to clients showing an interest in a BID area vacant unit they have or are managing.
We have installed over 112 robust flag pole holders on businesses throughout the BID area which lite up Mini Christmas Trees from a local business that supplies Number 10 Downing Street are placed in during the peak period adding that Christmas sparkle around the BID area. We are working with BID Business Mr Flag to provide flags to businesses for these holders (subject to planning) in order to present a further positive image for businesses and help the customer find them whilst boosting curb appeal, thus creating an inviting experience for customers helping draw customers to shop fronts and through businesses door. These holders are also used to place the discounted hanging baskets on during the Spring/Summer period. This multi-purpose use of the holder delivers a solid ROI for the BID and its businesses.
The BID works closely with the City’s two universities to encourage the inventive and attractive use of any empty units. We also work hard to recruit and retain existing business in the City Centre by offering them meaningful investor information and data, as well as valuable guidance on training, business networks and advise/access to funding. Our businesses also benefit from bottom-line business benefits thanks to the BID, including professional services, car parking, marketing and consumable discounts through a BID Business Toolkit.
We also deliver the Creative Bubble scheme which is a joint initiative between Swansea BID and University of Wales Trinity Saint David to explore and deliver new ways in which the two organisations could work together to make a positive impact on Swansea City Centre socially, economically and culturally.
Working with our partners at Safer Swansea Partnership and South Wales Police we facilitated the formation, launched and established the Association of Town Centre Management Have A Heart campaign to help and support homeless persons securing match funding from Santander Plc for monies raised. We work with Community Foundation in Wales who support us in deciding where best to focus our grant-making bespoke giving strategy within the Homeless Charity sector along with helping us deliver our Corporate Social Responsibility through awarding grants to inspiring Homeless projects whilst maximising publicity and sharing our story.
We are currently working with partners to deliver a feasibility study on the pedestrianisation of Wind Street which could develop the economy and vibrancy of the area as well as securing further investments from businesses and the Local Authority.
Via this operating group, we facilitate and organise the BIDs operating group meetings, Open Business Meetings, Workshops, Training, Business Watch and Hospitality Watch intelligence meetings as well as the BID Benefits that has over a short period identified over £28,000 of savings for businesses.
We also work with Mid and West Wales Fire Service to offer BID businesses important safety messages as part of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) UK Business Safety. The initiative helps ensure Swansea BID businesses and their staff have the information they needed to prevent, protect and respond to fire incidents in the workplace.
We have been successful in securing Welsh Government funding towards our successful Art Across the City project working with the award-winning artist lead LOCWS International charity. This project has built up an impressive archive of projects with the delivery of over 100 commissioned public artworks by a range of high profile internationally regarded artists for accessible public spaces across the city. Our project has been popular with the public and has considerably helped broaden the cultural profile of the City Centre bringing internationally regarded artists to the area enabling visitors to enjoy a broad range of stimulating contemporary art in an accessible and appealing way.
Our mystery shopper schemes have proved popular with BID area businesses which we secured £30,000 of funding for working with Skills Smart Retail. Our independent businesses who took part ranked third in the UK for customer service after visits by two waves of mystery shoppers with the average score being 92.5% and a vast majority (96%) of the mystery shoppers said they would return to the shop, with a similar figure saying they would recommend the store to a friend.
Working with Gower College Swansea and Better Jobs and Better Futures we provide discounted training for businesses and their employees helping recruit, retain and develop staff along with advising and support for businesses. BID staff themselves are trained to a World Host customer service standard which is a modern, interactive and energetic program to learn and remember the basic principles of great customer service as we understand that excellent service can make the difference between surviving and thriving