Worcester News Article: Independents make us tick

Worcester’s independents are the heartbeat of our city and should be celebrated! With a whopping 67% of businesses flying the independent flag, it’s no wonder we’re making waves. Recently, The Telegraph even ranked us as the ninth-best city in the UK, and it’s not hard to see why.

The city’s ranking was determined by various factors, including its rich culture and heritage, where Worcester proudly secured fourth place. This cultural tapestry is woven by the multitude of independent businesses that line its streets, offering everything from artisanal crafts to culinary delights. We’ve got a bit of everything here and our independent businesses play a big part in that. They bring a unique offering to our streets, whether you’re after a quirky gift or a cosy café to unwind in.

But beyond their offerings, independent businesses play a crucial role in supporting our community. When you choose to shop locally, you’re not just making a transaction; you’re investing in the prosperity of our city. Many of our indie heroes are deeply committed to giving back, whether through fundraisers or collaborations with other local businesses to support community initiatives.

We caught up with a few of our Worcester BID member indie retailers to hear what they love about doing business in Worcester and why they chose the city to trade in.

Anja Potze, proprietor of Anja Potze Fine Jewellery nestled on the historic Tudor Street of Friar Street, extolled Worcester’s virtues, stating, ‘With its vibrant history, fantastic transport, and infrastructure, Worcester is a fantastic location for my business to thrive.’ Anja has recently celebrated 30 years of business and we look forward to 30 more on Friar Street!

And then there’s the talented team at Trio, which offers high-quality beauty treatments, from manicures to dermaplaning also situated on Friar Street, who emphasised the significance of community: “It was an easy choice for us to have this beautiful, historic city by the river as TRIO’s home. The community feel is one of the many reasons to visit and reside in Worcester, we wouldn’t be anywhere else!”

Julie Reilly, Owner of Perfections Bridal Studio echoed these sentiments, describing “Worcester is a beautiful location full of history, character, and a thriving business community”. Adding, “it’s a privilege to be located on Friar Street”.

So, here’s to Worcester’s independents who make our city a little more unique every day. Let’s remember to support these local businesses that make Worcester the unique and thriving place that it is. By choosing to shop local, we can all play a part in keeping our high street ticking for generations to come.


The city is Purple: What does Purple Flag mean for Worcester

While Worcester may be clad in blue for its historic football team, its nighttime economy is undeniably purple. For the past two years, Worcester has proudly achieved the Purple Flag accreditation, with plans underway to secure a third consecutive year.

Presented by the Association of Town & City Management (ATCM), the Purple Flag is a prestigious international recognition that celebrates cities’ efforts in enriching their urban centres during evening hours. It’s not just a badge of honour; it’s a testament to Worcester’s commitment to creating vibrant and safe nighttime spaces that draw visitors, boost spending, and ease crime.

The success of this initiative in the city owes much to the collaborative efforts of Worcester BID, West Mercia Police, Worcester City Council, Worcester Street Pastors, and Worcestershire Regulatory Services. Recently, Worcester BID members, in conjunction with city partners, undertook a thorough evaluation of the nighttime economy’s amenities, ambience, and safety measures. From 5 PM to 5 AM, they scoured every corner of the city, identifying areas for enhancement and gauging the public’s perception of safety.

This proactive approach not only goes towards the lengthy application that allows Worcester to maintain its Purple Flag status but also fosters ongoing improvement and growth. Moreover, Purple Flag accreditation has been shown to attract more visitors, increase spending, and even stimulate investment in the city, making it an attractive destination for residents and newcomer businesses alike.

Crucially, the Purple Flag accreditation is more than just a symbolic gesture—it’s a catalyst for tangible change that takes place through findings from pre-assessments as well as the collaborative efforts and heightened awareness it brings. Worcester is not only curbing crime but also nurturing inclusive and secure spaces for all residents and visitors.

Worcester is now gearing up to renew its Purple Flag accreditation this summer. With each passing year, the city’s purple glow shines ever brighter, with the evolution of projects such as Safe Space, we are signalling an unwavering commitment to fostering a dynamic and safe nighttime environment for all.


Activating the city of Worcester: why do Worcester BID do it?

Worcester boasts a diverse array of urban spaces, ranging from Tudor housing and cobbled paths to the modern design of the Hive building. Yet, amidst this diversity, there is a common thread—activation of space. This concept lies at the heart of a thriving city. But what exactly does it entail?

In recent years, Worcester BID has led transformative initiatives across the cityscape. From captivating aerial displays on New Street, Friar Street, and the Shambles to the addition of extra festive lighting on Broad Street, street art on wayfinding signs, and the introduction of vibrant city planters and year-round floral displays, these endeavours are examples of activation of space. Looking ahead, Worcester BID plans to further invigorate neglected areas, transforming a neglected overgrown area at the base of Broad Street into a green space teeming with biodiversity and increasing the number of striking city artworks. Such initiatives not only enhance the visual appeal of the city but also serve to increase dwell time and footfall, cultivating a vibrant and dynamic urban environment for all to enjoy.

Dwell time, the duration individuals spend in a specific location, holds significance for businesses and communities alike. By transforming city spaces—such as converting neglected corners into lush green areas with seating—Worcester can create inviting environments that encourage prolonged engagement.

The activation of spaces naturally leads to an upsurge in footfall. When areas undergo revitalisation through attractive enhancements, people are drawn to explore and discover. This surge in pedestrian traffic translates into tangible benefits for local businesses, offering fresh marketing opportunities and ultimately driving sales. An example is The Big Spring Window Trail, featuring 50 beautifully hand-drawn floral business windows. Visitors can download a map for this free floral trail from Worcester BID’s website (www.worcesterbid.com/2024/04/02/thebigspring) and share their experiences using the hashtag #TheBigSpring.

Beyond the economic benefits, activating spaces also enhances Worcester’s aesthetic appeal. Beautifying neglected areas through greening and rewilding, public art, and creative lighting not only makes the city more visually appealing but also instils a sense of pride among residents whilst creating memorable experiences for both locals and visitors.

In conclusion, activating Worcester’s spaces is not just about improving aesthetics; it’s about creating dynamic, inclusive, and thriving urban environments. By enhancing dwell time, increasing footfall, and improving the city’s appearance, Worcester can unlock its full potential as a vibrant and welcoming place to live, work, and visit.


Funding the Future: What do you want to see Worcester do next?

Worcester’s transformation owes much to effective city centre management and strategic funding allocation. Four primary funding streams are driving Worcester’s progress: the Future High Streets Fund (£17.9 million), UK Shared Prosperity Fund (£2.96 million), Cultural Development Fund (£3 million), and Levelling Up Funding, with recent news of an additional £5 million injection into Worcester’s cultural landscape, bringing total capital funding over five years to £46 million for Levelling up funding alone.

Since 2019, Levelling Up Funding has been used to revitalise unused spaces like the train arches into vibrant venues for dining, arts, and activities, contributing to Worcester’s cultural growth. The recent £5 million boost will sustain this momentum, facilitating more art projects and community initiatives.

In 2019, Worcester City Council secured £3 million from the Cultural Development Fund to enhance Worcester’s profile as a visitor destination, foster festivals like Light Night, and support local businesses. Festivals such as the Victorian Fayre and Paint Festival have become integral to Worcester’s cultural tapestry, drawing diverse crowds.

To ensure continued funding, collaboration with entities like Arts Council England is essential for sustaining Worcester’s festival momentum and visitor influx.

Worcester BID is seeking ways to sustain the momentum by creating dedicated spaces for youth engagement and promoting discussions on implementation tailored to residents, visitors, and students between city partners. The success of initiatives like Teenage Markets in other regions underscores the potential for similar models in Worcester. Championed by Councillor Joe Bennett, Teenage Markets empower young entrepreneurs to showcase their talents and sell goods at public markets run by teenagers for the community.

As we contemplate Worcester’s future, community input is invaluable. What are your thoughts on providing dedicated spaces for young people in Worcester? What other initiatives would you like to see?

Let’s envision a Worcester that thrives for all its residents.


Worcester BID's Safer Streets Officer: Making a Difference

In the bustling heart of Worcester, the Worcester BID’s Safer Streets officer is working diligently to ensure safety and security for businesses and visitors alike. Since June 20th, 2023, the Worcester Business Improvement District’s (BID) Safer Streets Officer has been patrolling and intervening, making a significant impact on the community.

The officer’s efforts have not only prevented losses but also led to the recovery of significant amounts of stolen stock and money, providing much-needed relief to affected businesses and individuals, with the total stolen stock and money recovered now totalling £15,803.14!

 

The successes of the Worcester BIDs Safer Streets Officer stem from great partnership working. Collaborating with West Merica Police, central security teams such as Crowngate and Cathedral Square and various stakeholders, their efforts are emblematic of a collective resolve to foster safer shared spaces in Worcester. By pooling resources, knowledge, and expertise, all parties have been working hard to address community safety comprehensively, deploying proactive strategies and interventions to mitigate risks, prevent incidents, and ensure the well-being of residents and visitors alike.

 

The Worcester BIDs Safer Streets Officer has attended and accomplished the following during these 9 months:

  • 64 theft incidents attended
  • 59 stops/recoveries
  • 16 first aid interventions
  • 88 offences deterred
  • 19 counts of intelligence gathering and monitoring
  • 5 active interventions ensuring staff safety
  • 21 counts of assisting Police and witnessing arrests
  • 17 assistances with homeless and welfare checks
  • 27 counts of training provision
  • 8 counts of combatting fraud and illegal activities
  • 6 counts curbing sales of stolen goods
  • 2 missing persons cases assisted with
  • 21 enforcements of PSPO regulations

The Safer Streets Officer role within Worcester BID has provided an additional layer of protection for the business community, residents, and visitors. By effectively collaborating with partners, they have helped to enhance the city’s security landscape, creating a safer environment for all.

Read more about Worcester BID’s safety measures on their website at www.worcesterbid.com/promote/safer-city.


The Big Spring: Download the Map and take the Trail!

Spring has officially arrived in Worcester! With 50 windows now adorned with festive decorations by local artist Catt Standen, we’re thrilled to present the trail map to everyone. Embark on a city walk and discover the stunning floral displays on our business windows this Easter—a delightful, cost-free adventure for the family. Access the BID trail map below!

Download the map PDF here: Spring Window Art Map

Remember to share your photos with us by tagging @makeitworc on Instagram, or @worcesterbid on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #thebigspring!


Safe Space Worcester: From Strength To Strength

Worcester BID has now released the newest Safe Space stats! Safe Space, a moving venue of compassion and care takes to our streets every Friday and Saturday night, as well as during events, providing a safe environment for residents, students, and visitors alike.

Safe Space is an organisation run by a team of dedicated professionals. It’s not just a physical location in the form of a Safe Space vehicle, but a helping hand for anyone in need. Safe Space welcomes everyone with open arms, free of charge, and has already helped nearly 100 city-goers (as of the end of February 2024 since December 15, 2023). The ethos of Safe Space is simple: to offer medical and welfare support without any preconceived notions.

According to the latest statistics, Safe Space has looked after a total of 98 events. Within these events, they have provided care in various categories: welfare (34 cases (35%)), medical (48 cases (49%)), mental health (8 cases (8%)), police assistance (1 case (1%)), and enquiry (7 cases (7%)). These figures underscore the breadth of Safe Space’s reach and the diverse range of support it offers to the community.

Sam McCarthy, Worcester BID CEO said, “We are proud to serve the community via Safe Space Worcester and would like to thank all of our primary and supporting partners for their assistance in making this project possible.”

In addition to ensuring the safety and well-being of 98 individuals in Worcester, the interventions and care delivered by the Safe Space team have resulted in a notable decrease in ambulance callouts, saving the NHS a minimum of £9500. This figure is conservative, denoting the minimum amount saved according to NHS data regarding the cost of an ambulance call-out. However, the actual amount saved may be much higher than the stated figure. This fantastic stat provides an additional layer of justification for the need for Safe Space in Worcester’s nighttime economy, highlighting the tangible impact of Safe Space on both public health, nighttime business operations and financial resources.

Since its inaugural night, the Safe Space team have received fabulous feedback from stakeholders, parents, friends, partners, Police Teams, and Safe Space users. Richard Nash, lead medic at Safe Space Worcester said, “The initiative has certainly shown its worth over the first 3 months of operation and we are looking forward to providing ongoing support and welfare.”

Worcester BID, Safe Space partners and the Safe Space team have collectively expressed commitment to providing sustained support and care to the community moving forward.

For more information and to stay up to date, follow Safe Space on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

Take a look at our latest stats in the below infographic.

Download the latest stats


Safe Space works to provide operational support for the NTE

Safe Space is operated by a team of dedicated professionals,  extending medical support, welfare support or otherwise and offering this without any preconceived notions. Safe Space is free to all, no judgement and is working to promote a positive view of Worcester City Centre as a safe destination for a night out, to live and to study. This is bolstered by our work on becoming Purple Flag accredited.

Take a look at our latest stats in the below infographic.

Download the latest stats


The Big Spring Has Fully Bloomed in Worcester! 🌸🌻🌼🌷

We are busy installing  50 giant florals around Worcester this spring! There are 5 beautiful designs including daisies, tulips and gorgeous forget-me-nots.

Share your new business window artwork with us by hashtagging #thebigspring and tagging @worcesterbid on Facebook and Twitter or @makeitworc on Instagram.

Find the helpful map with all the flowery locations below!


Worcester BID's Cleaner Streets Initiative: Enhancing Our Spaces

We all share a responsibility to uphold the beauty of our city, taking pride in our municipal spaces. Unfortunately, urban areas often fall victim to graffiti tagging, chewing gum, litter such as cigarette butts, and other forms of damage, detracting from their aesthetic appeal and contributing to urban decay.

To combat these challenges and instil a sense of city pride, Worcester BID is launching the Cleaner Streets project. Beginning in April 2024 and extending through the summer months, this initiative aims to transform neglected, damaged, and graffitied spaces into vibrant works of art for the enjoyment of all.

 

The Cleaner Streets project encompasses various strategies, including the removal of graffiti from brickwork, improvements in lighting where needed, and the promotion of responsible mural and urban art through converting unloved areas into community and business district reflective works of art.

Over the past two years, Worcester BID has already invested in enhancing the city’s visual landscape through the artwork seen on utility boxes and wayfinding signage, as well as via the organisation of workshops and mural painting events in community hubs.

Looking ahead, Worcester BID is committed to implementing prevention methods such as resistant coatings and ongoing maintenance to ensure a welcoming and fresh street scene for years to come. Throughout the Cleaner Streets campaign, success stories will be shared, showcasing the transformative impact of these efforts on our social media accounts. Additionally, Worcester BID is dedicated to collaborating with and celebrating the contributions of local artists and the community. By involving residents and businesses in the creation of public art we hope to foster a collective sense of ownership and pride.

The ultimate goal of the Cleaner Streets Project is to cultivate more vibrant urban spaces while reducing and repairing damage in the city centre. Worcester BID invites talented local artists to join in this endeavour by reaching out on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram if you would like to participate in shaping a brighter future for our city.

Together, let’s make Worcester’s streets cleaner, more attractive and a source of pride for all who call it home. Join us in this transformative journey towards a more vibrant urban environment by following us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn [@WorcesterBID] or on Instagram [@makeitworc].