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Wimbledon Is Working

Time & Leisure Magazine

Firstly, thank you for the great response to my first blog. This month, while it remains challenging to find much to feel optimistic about globally, I have been encouraged in Wimbledon by our situation locally. Here are five recent encouraging experiences that have led me to feel that things are changing for the better here in the town centre: 

  1. The Return of the Business Community

    I recently attended a test event ahead of the official launch of Bombay Delight, a stunning new Indian Restaurant located opposite the Polka Theatre on The Broadway. The Love Wimbledon team has been delighted to work with Ajay, the Manager of the restaurant, from when it was still a building site several months ago and have made introductions for him into the wider Wimbledon community. Seeing so many people from Wimbledon’s business community reconnecting over a delicious Indian meal was a great reminder that bringing people together is an essential part of what BIDs can do – and a great new Indian restaurant is just what we need here. 

  2. Award-winning Culture and Hospitality

    Now in their tenth year, the Time & Leisure Food & Culture Awards are a really important recognition of excellence across South London. I was hugely impressed that 17 of our venues received awards and commendations from over 10,000 votes cast, including Diba (Local Restaurant of the Year), The Alexandra (Best Pub), New Wimbledon Theatre (Best Entertainment Venue) and Leon, who won the Wimbledon Town Centre People’s Choice Award, sponsored by Love Wimbledon. I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited the winners to give them their certificates, and it’s so rewarding to see their pride and delight in winning them. We are blessed with a really diverse and impressive food and culture offering in Wimbledon.

  3. A Safe and Thriving Night-Time Economy

    Last Friday, I went on patrol from 10pm – 2am with the Merton Street Pastors. The Street Pastors receive funding from Love Wimbledon and are a team of Christian volunteers who assist with our work in keeping the night-time economy safe, by offering reassurance and safety to those who need it, and making sure the town is cleared of glass bottles and other hazards. Our Footfall data suggests Wimbledon may have had its busiest Friday for at least 2 years last week, with all the pubs we visited reporting successful evenings. While spirits were definitely high, while we were on patrol we encountered no significant issues or trouble, which was reassuring to see. The Street Pastors are part of a sophisticated local intelligence network Love Wimbledon co-ordinates for the night-time economy with the Met Police and our hospitality businesses, which includes a Town Link Radio network and the Disc online intelligence system, which identifies and holds photographs of known individuals who could potentially cause trouble to ensure we remain on the front foot in dealing with such matters.

  4. The Piazza – Hearts and Markets

    For Valentine’s Day we tested our first Piazza activation of the year, with our large wooden heart installation. This proved to be a big hit, with partners, families and pet owners stopping to make the most of the opportunity to share their love. We were particularly impressed to discover that Storm Eunice couldn’t take it down either, it truly is an enduring love! Thanks to an overwhelmingly positive response to our heart installation, we have worked with the supplier to ensure a sustainable future for this feature and we have kept all the materials (plus opted out of polyester planting), which will be reused again on The Piazza next year.

    Following on from this, on Saturday we launched our first Market weekend of the year on The Piazza. I was there for the opening at 11am, and it was great to see so many loyal stallholders returning as well as new faces. Popular community choir, Rock Choir, attracted a crowd, creating a buzzy atmosphere for visitors. Markets are an important community asset. They create a public gathering place, provide economic support for small businesses and local craftspeople and crucially boost business for retailers in proximity. The Institute of Place Management reported in its Market Matters report that markets increase town centre footfall by up to 25%, and 55-71% of those attending also spend money in other shops while visiting. We have exciting plans for our monthly markets for the remainder of 2022, including a sustainability themed market, two Friday Food markets and integrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. I hope to see you there. 

  5. Sustainable Placemaking

    Last weekend I attended the Centre Court Shopping Centre exhibition, where Romulus, its new owners, outlined some of their ambitious plans around sustainability and supporting a circular economy. With beehives, a rooftop urban farm of 3 greenhouses, mushroom farming from coffee granules and rainwater harvesting, the new focus on sustainability at Centre Court is just part of the cutting-edge thinking being applied to deliver what will be a bold and transformative reimagination. We share this sustainable vision for Wimbledon Town Centre, which is why it’s one of our strategic priorities for the next five years.

Once again, I’ve enjoyed meeting more of our businesses this month, together with local councillors, our Member of Parliament and other stakeholders. Please do get in touch if we haven’t spoken yet – I am keen to meet as many levy payers as possible before we officially start our third BID term on 1 April 2022! 

Craig Hurring, CEO of Love Wimbledon BID.

CEO Update: February 2022

Hello, I thought that since I am new in this role, and with Helen leaving such a great legacy after 10 years in this position, it might be helpful for Love Wimbledon’s businesses to find out a bit more about me, and for me to keep you updated on some of the areas our BID delivery team is working on. I’ve been here in the post for almost one month now, and it has been a frantic start to 2022, with a lot for me to learn about the work the BID has delivered in the last 10 years in Wimbledon.

So, a bit about me. I’ve been working in BIDs now for almost five years, having previously worked in South Bank in Central London, where I was responsible for promoting South Bank as one of London’s leading destinations for both visitors and businesses. I played a key role in a renewal ballot that delivered a 99% Yes vote and believe very passionately in the importance of working with businesses to establish a thriving business community. Before this, I’ve worked in a number of different sectors, including financial services, education and professional membership bodies, building up a range of skills and experiences that I hope will set me in good stead for a role as rich, varied and interesting as this one! Outside of work my passions include music, books and sport and I have two daughters who keep me entertained and occupied.

While I am not a Wimbledon resident, I don’t live very far away at all, and I’ve been regularly using the town and visiting friends here for many years, seeing how it has changed in the process. I’m now looking forward to really understanding more about Wimbledon in this role. It’s clear that we face many challenges together as we begin to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic, but I firmly believe Wimbledon has everything a leading 21st Century destination should offer its residents, visitors and businesses – thriving culture, new retail experiences, excellent transport links, a great range of hospitality choices, events and experiences, green spaces and a rich heritage. I am very keen as we begin to recover to explore how we make more of this moving forward.

We are now in the last two months of the final year of the BID’s second term. My focus until April will be on ensuring the team are ready for the start of the third term, and to prepare our budgets and plans for 2022, and the broader strategic vision for the 5-years ahead. I will discuss this with you as it evolves, and over the coming months will look in more detail at the core themes outlined in the Business Plan on which levy payers gave us an overwhelming vote of support back in October – to create better spaces, places and experiences; to promote and support your businesses; and to become greener and more sustainable.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone I have met, corresponded with or seen on a virtual call so far. I would love to meet as many businesses as possible before we begin the third term of the BID, but understand there are still challenges that our office sector in particular are addressing in terms of how they are working currently. Many thanks too to all those people I’ve met so far on my walkabouts with Tom, our Ranger, and I will be continuing these as often as I can, as there is no better way to understand the reality of how a town works than seeing how it deals with issues in its public realm, such as waste, graffiti and security. If you would like to meet personally though, please do get in touch – craigh@lovewimbledon.org

Thanks for reading, and here’s to better days ahead in 2022 – I’m really looking forward to working with everyone here in Wimbledon.

Craig Hurring,
CEO at Love Wimbledon

Love Wimbledon Lobbying For You

‘Unprecedented’ a word now so widely used and very pertinent to the challenging environment currently facing businesses in Wimbledon Town Centre and Love Wimbledon BID is committed to supporting you and our community through these times.

Through our conversations and communications with the businesses of Wimbledon, we are working to mitigate the impact of coronavirus and provide businesses with the information and support you need so we are in a strong position for recovery. The support from central government has been extremely prompt and generous but there are some businesses that are not eligible and we are drawing these issues to their attention.

Love Wimbledon is lobbying central government:

  • for London waiting to be applied to the £51k rateable value threshold given the higher rateable values of property in London. This applies to the grants and the business rates support for businesses. We’ve joined the #RaiseTheBar campaign as part of our lobbying efforts.
  • with regards to concessions and sub-lets, often the younger and smaller businesses who are currently not eligible as they do not have a direct relationship with business rates
  • to define the specific categories of businesses to avoid different interpretations of the guidance between local authorities
  • to provide clarity for banks about the CBIL scheme to make it more accessible for businesses

UPDATE: Stephen Hammond MP has raised questions with HM Treasury on the London waiting and expansion of the grants and business rate holiday to include dentists, osteopaths and other services. A response is expected by 4th May.

Love Wimbledon is locally:

  • co-ordinating support for businesses that remain open, facilitating support between businesses and the local community through donations and volunteers
  • maintaining a regular street presence to reduce anti-social activity and also keeping an eye on empty premises
  • working with community groups to accommodate the homeless
  • preparing for the recovery and will be a key driver in re-opening the Town Centre
  • consolidating information from central government
  • communicating with businesses and providing resources such as the checklist for temporarily closing your business, developed with Merton Chamber of Commerce

We are hearing from some businesses that they are using this time to refine their business’ operating procedures and strengthening their marketing. Love Wimbledon can help to point you in the direction of local support, including Reach Out & Connect, a series of webinars hosted by Merton Chamber of Commerce.

Businesses Asking the Questions

Ahead of the General Election, Labour and Conservative politicians wanted to engage with businesses and provide a platform for local businesses to get their voices heard. We were pleased to be able to provide this opportunity for local businesses to meet the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell, and the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid.

 

In an effort to get the business voices of Wimbledon heard, Rt Hon Sajid Javid recently visited the town, providing a platform for local businesses to question the current Chancellor of the Exchequer. Topics covered included infrastructure projects, employment and business tax. Naturally, mention of Brexit was also raised on several occasions. A range of businesses attended from retail to accountancy, the built environment to tech, enabling a discussion of the challenges that face different businesses in the area, both now and in the future.

In order to ensure a bright future for Wimbledon, Love Wimbledon lobby on a range of policies that could influence Wimbledon Town Centre, including Crossrail2 and Business Rates. This gave us the opportunity to wave the Wimbledon flag and that of our business community.

With the help of Love Wimbledon, Labour politician and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell, also met with Wimbledon businesses.

A variety of small to medium businesses attended from different sectors and discussed issues around the broadband strategy, the future for the construction industry, employment issues, access to finance and land value tax to replace business rates.

Love Wimbledon BID is very keen to help our businesses to have their voice heard at strategic forums on the key issues affecting them, whilst also keeping Wimbledon town centre highlighted as a strong and attractive business base.

 

CEO Update from Helen

Like many of you we were very sorry to see HMV close but would like to reassure you that HMV Curzon remains open. Meanwhile Premier Inn and Bar + Block opened and with 3 other new foodie options opening soon along with a new club, Wimbledon remains a strong town centre. A government committee report was published on 21st February entitled High Streets and town centres in 2030, which we contributed to, making recommendations for how town centres need to adapt to maintain their vitality and importance to the community. We are delighted to see the value of BIDs being highlighted as being integral to the development of high streets and town centres.

Read the full report

Where will the high street be in 2030

The summary of the report is that they believe that “high streets and town centres can survive and thrive by 2030…as activity based community gathering places ….” The committee is calling for a reduction in business rates for retailers in high streets and town centres and encourage Government to assess their proposals of a sales tax, an increase in VAT, an online sales tax and green taxes on deliveries and packaging, providing fast relief to high street retailers.

 

Alongside this report there is currently a Treasury Committee inquiry into the impact of business rates that I would encourage you to respond to. The closing date for submissions is 2nd April 2019. Respond to the inquiry here.

 

Love Wimbledon’s Christmas Sponsorship Opportunities

EXCLUSIVE OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUR BUSINESS

 

Love Wimbledon has some exclusive sponsorship and advertising opportunities available for BID businesses during the Christmas Season.  So if you want to get your name out there to a captive audience during the VERY popular Winter Wonderland or advertise in our lifestyle magazine which is distributed to over 75,000 potential customers, then please read on…..

 

SPONSOR THE WIMBLEDON 25ft CHRISTMAS TREE!

Situated outside the station, our spectacular tree is seen by hundreds of thousands of passer-bys. If you would like to partner with us by sponsoring the tree, your logo would be placed on the picket fence surrounding the tree for the busiest SEVEN weeks of the year!

£1,500

If you are interested, we would love to have a chat.

Please contact Helen Clark Bell or 020 8619 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WINTER WONDERLAND – INTO THE EVENING!

Our yearly winter festival will be running into the evening for the first time ever; market stalls, food from around the world, rides, activities, performances and lots of family fun. With tens of thousands of visitors attending we have a number of potential sponsorship opportunities for your business including:

 

The Glorious Food Tent (busy right from opening!)

A popular cozy spot, dressed with lights and decorations for families to eat, have a rest and warm up.

 

The Make n Take Tent  (family friendly)

A fun craft tent for children to participate in suitably funfilled festive arts and crafts activities.

 

Ice Carving (crowd pleaser)

A live ice carving demonstration, drawing onlookers and social media lovers to post pictures and videos.

 

Meet & Greet Chalet (new)

Children will meet a special Christmas character (not Santa) in a festively decorated chalet.

Sponsorship starts from £500, with some options giving you the chance to dress with your Christmas product.

Date:  Sunday 02 December

Time:  Midday to 7.30pm

If you are interested, we would love to have a chat.

Please contact Danielle Sweeney or 020 8619 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIMITED ADVERTISING SPACE AVAILABLE

75,000 ‘OUR WIMBLEDON’ MAGAZINES DISTRIBUTED TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

We have only THREE advert spaces available this Christmas in the very popular ‘Our Wimbledon’ magazine. Distributed to 75,000 households the magazine editorial covers events, shopping, eating out and culture.

BID businesses get an automatic 30% off usual price – full page adverts start at £850 (including discount).

Spaces will be given on a first come, first served basis. Artwork deadline 20th September.

If you are interested, we would love to have a chat.

Please contact Danielle Sweeney or call 020 8619 2012