Alcester Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Partnership and Alcester Community Trust attend Warwickshire Towns Conference

Retail

Warwickshire County Council was joined this week by the county’s retailers, Town Centre managers, Bid managers, and a selection of the country’s top town centre experts at a conference designed to help boost Warwickshire’s towns.The ‘Warwickshire Together’ conference took place at the Holiday Inn, Kenilworth and focused on a range of initiatives to help invigorate the region’s town centres in the face of increasing competition from the internet and out of town shopping.

A key project launched at the conference was a new collaboration between Warwickshire County Council and a crowdfunding platform – Spacehive. Through the platform, the County Council is providing a new £134,000 capital fund to support civic projects in Warwickshire’s Towns.

Niraj Dattani, Spacehive

We heard about how the crowdfunding platform could be used to encourage town centre communities to generate and fund civic initiatives that they would like to see in their town centres.

Niraj Dattani of Spacehive spoke about how the platform has helped to transform other town centres in the country with projects that have generated footfall in the towns. Initiatives are paid for by contributions from the public, businesses and agencies including local authorities where pledges are made via Spacehive.

He said: “A crowdfunding idea has to have local appeal and be accessible if it is to succeed. It empowers people to make change in their area. It creates the kind of atmosphere that will make a town centre sustainable.”

 

We also heard from a number of experts including Ojay McDonald, Head of Public Policy for the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM); Xav Anderson of Clockwork City, specialists in helping retailers increase their profits through better online promotion and effective use of social media; Alison Read of Decisions by Design, whose expertise has been used by large multinational firms and small independent retailers to become more successful; and Dr Fiona Ellis-Chadwick, Senior Lecturer in Retail at Loughborough University.

One of the most engaging Guest Speakers was Councillor Johnny Hayes MBE, from York City Council, he inspired us all with the story of Bishopthorpe Road, known as ‘Bishy Road’ with his story behind the transformation of an otherwise unassuming, run down high street. Winner of ‘The Great British High Street 2015’( the same year the Alcester won its #GBHighst RISING STAR) Bishopthorpe Road has now become a hive of popular independent businesses that brings personality and local charm to what is now a destination in its own right.Cllr Hayes said: “What we did with Bishopthorpe Road was market the street as a whole rather than individual businesses. It showed the power of people working together.”

Definitely inspiring!!!! Watch out Alcester we have ideas in the pipeline!


by 21 Mar, 2017 No Comments

Alcester Chamber and Alcester Academy look to team up with Coventry & Warwickshire Skills for Growth programme

B2B

Alcester Chamber, Alcester Academy and Warwickshire County Council are looking to team up with Alcester based businesses in a wide range of industries to include Hospitality, Tourism, Manufacturing, Engineering, Digital and the Creative sectors to apply for funding and provide for skills growth training. If you would like to know more about this project please contact alisonmainey@warwickshire.gov.uk 

by 19 Mar, 2017 No Comments

Warwickshire’s economy announced as one of the fastest growing in the UK

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Warwickshire has one of the fastest growing economies in the country – and the fastest-growing of all local authorities of comparable size, new figures have revealed.

The county’s productivity in terms of output per worker has risen by 19.6% since 2009, outperforming national and regional averages.

Furthermore, over the past four years, Warwickshire’s growth in productivity capacity is exceeded by only three other local authorities in the UK, all much smaller economic areas.

The figures, released by the Office of National Statistics, show that Warwickshire is firmly establishing itself as a principal driver of labour productivity growth and leading the way in reducing the productivity gap in the region.

The sustained growth further strengthens Warwickshire’s reputation as a great place to base a business. That reputation is attracting companies from around the UK and beyond with BARO Vehicles (Argentina), Ubisoft games studio (France) and EDAG Engineering (Germany) among those to have recently arrived in the county.

The strong productivity performance in Warwickshire has also helped drive growth for the wider Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area. Since 2009, only two other LEP areas in the country have outperformed the Coventry & Warwickshire LEP in terms of levels of productivity and rate of growth.

The growth in productivity is linked to a number of factors including an increase in new businesses and a reduction in business failures, both areas targeted by Warwickshire County Council’s business support programmes.

Another factor is the improved skills of young people in the county, with a significant reduction in the number of 16-24-year-olds who have no qualifications.

Again, this area is a high priority for the council which focuses on skills and apprenticeships, building links between business and schools and reducing the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).

These are key priority areas proactively targeted by Warwickshire County Council through inward investment, business support and access to finance initiatives.

The productivity growth is also driven by other factors including transport links, apprenticeship schemes and business innovation. Warwickshire is at the forefront of innovation in the IT and computing sectors as well as the automotive industry, but the growth is general. Since 2012, all industries in the county have grown on average by 13.8%, higher than the West Midlands (10.9%) and the UK (11.4%).

The manufacturing sector, for which the county is renowned, has seen a 37.5% increase in output, more than three times the growth-rate across the UK.

 

Great News!!

by 19 Mar, 2017 No Comments

Warwickshire Towns Network pledge £134,000 to Town Centre capital investment via civic crowd funding platform Spacehive

Retail

 

In a bid to make ever reducing WCC Town Centre Capital improvement funds go further the Warwickshire Towns Network have teamed up with civic crowdfunding platform Spacehive. The exciting new initiative offers individual Warwickshire Towns the opportunity to bid for County Council funding to support capital projects that they feel would benefit them specifically. In order to secure funding however, community and private sector investment and engagement is imperative. This change in the economic landscape is becoming commonplace in nearly all European, Central and local government funding opportunities. Alcester Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Partnership are working on potential projects that we can put forward to improve Alcester town centre infrastructure with particular focus on expenditure that will assist us to increase footfall in the area. Any ideas for projects or pledges of support would be gratefully received. e: chairman@alcesterchamber.co.uk

For more information please visit their page on Spacehive

by 18 Mar, 2017 No Comments