A-Plan Insurance collect trophy for Insurance Broker of the Year

A-Plan Insurance (a Howden company) collected the trophy for Insurance Broker of the Year at the prestigious British Insurance Awards on Wednesday 6 July 2022. They were shortlisted alongside strong competition from five other brokers, and were selected not just because of their excellent, highly personalised advised service they provide their clients, but how they immerse themselves in the communities in which they operate, supporting local clubs, charities, schools and businesses.

The event took place at the Royal Albert Hall with over a thousand people from across the insurance industry in attendance. A-Plan CEO Kelly Ogley collected the award and commented;

“I am absolutely delighted and over the moon that we won Broker of the Year at the British Insurance Awards - one of the insurance industry’s more prestigious awards. It’s reflective of our unwavering commitment to caring for our clients, consistently providing top-quality service in everything we do, whether that be to our clients, in the local community or to each other.

We have a great team of people who are passionate about continually going the extra mile for clients, and this is for them. Whilst I had the privilege and honour of collecting the award, it is for the team, for whom it means everything to receive such an accolade. They make me very proud to be their CEO.”

Worcester Branch Manager, James Parker comments “Winning this award means so much to us all, and highlights that being local, utilising data and tech, and providing our clients with a truly personalised advised service is what we are all about. Because we don’t sell insurance online and only offer an advised service, in branch or over the phone, this award celebrates all of those things! We couldn’t be prouder, and look forward to sharing the wonderful news with our clients.”

It was also great that we got to celebrate with colleagues from Howden, Aston Lark, Dual and KGM, who were at the event.”


Congratulations A-Plan!!

Find out more about A-Plan Insurance at www.aplan.co.uk

Robin Walker explores the fantastic, varied and independent business offerings in Reindeer Court

Our fantastic, varied and independent business district, Reindeer Court, was visited today by local MP, Robin Walker, who toured the exciting and developing business offerings within the area. Reindeer Court is a must visit in any trip to Worcester. Take a walk through the arcade entrance, accessed from the Shambles, New Street or Mealcheapen Street to discover a hub of independents. Check out mid-century glass wear, earthenware and more at Ware, or discover a new favourite tipple at Bottles Wine Shop, or are plants more your thing? Make it Plantamamita and turn your house into a little Garden of Eden.  Reindeer Court is also home to delicious donuts at Izzy's Ices and Donuts and you can even step into doggy heaven in the new Hugo and Ted, offering gorgeous dog items and matching human pieces for all those summer walks.

Justin Schiffmann, owner of Ware, said that "it was a pleasure to welcome Robin Walker to Ware and Reindeer Court -after an ‘eventful’ week.  He was delighted to see so many new and unique businesses  choosing Worcester and Reindeer Court as the home for their new businesses.  He took the time to meet several owners and learn a bit about their journey to business owning."

Robin Walker visits Ware
Robin Walker visits Plantamamita
Robin Walker with Justin, Owner of Ware










We very much agree with Justin that  “the future of Reindeer Court is brighter than it has been for a long time and now is an excellent time to add it to your shopping trip to the city.”

Cheers your Majesty - The Royal Garden Party is nearly here!

Cheers your Majesty

After months of anticipation, the Royal Platinum Jubilee is here!  As the nation eagerly awaits 2 extra Bank Holidays to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne, Worcester’s food and drink venues look forward to the city’s celebrations.

Worcester BID, alongside partners Worcester City Council, is organising a Royal Garden Party in New Street and Friar Street from 11-5 on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 June, allowing the community and visitors to sit out and relax in this glorious setting.  So, if there’s no party planned in your area, get involved in the city centre giant street party.  Come along to the Royal Garden Party and enjoy a free family day out in the historical surroundings of one of our city’s beautiful Tudor streets whilst celebrating the 70 years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.

At the Royal Garden Party there’s something for all the family: children’s games, live music, food, competitions and much more… you could even win lunch with a princess or superhero!  Order food directly to your street table from participating cafes and restaurants, or bring a picnic (or both!)  – let’s celebrate!

Elsewhere in Worcester, bars, cafes and restaurants are also toasting her Majesty throughout the Jubilee celebrations – book in one of the city venues for brunch, lunch or an evening meal to share the party vibe.  It’s a lovely long weekend so take full advantage of what your favourite city eateries and bars can serve up.

Follow @MakeItWorc on Instagram for further event teasers and up to date details.

Worcester Business Improvement District (BID) are delighted to announce their new appointment Crystal Thompson as Business Engagement & Marketing Executive

Worcester Business Improvement District (BID) are delighted to announce their new appointment Crystal Thompson as Business Engagement & Marketing Executive.

Crystal joined the BID team in 2021.  Since joining, Crystal has worked on creating a new social media presence across platforms Instagram and TikTok as well as including the BID district in journalistic work and magazines to target vast audiences. Crystal has also been developing key business relationships in the city centre and looks forward to expanding partnership and stakeholder engagement.

Crystal has a background in editorial work and business marketing. Having grown up in Worcester and returning to call it home once again following studies, Crystal has strong ties to the city and has a real passion for improving trading standards in the city.

Crystal said: “Worcester has a fantastic mix of independent and high street businesses that make a visit to the city centre feel unique. Worcester provides a local, friendly feel due to its size and its welcoming business owners – it truly offers a far more personable experience than larger cities”.

Contact Crystal if you would like to get your BID business involved with any promotional activities.


Exciting News from Bottles HQ!

A message from Bottles HQ to you!


Exciting News from Bottles HQ! After lots of lovely feedback and the growing success of our Wine Shop we will now be extending our opening times and utilising the gorgeous space within and above the shop for full ‘Drink In’ service. Customers will have access to our FULL range of wines to drink in the comfort of our beautiful and classic Wine Shop.

New opening times will be;

  • Monday-Friday 10am-10pm
  • Saturday 9am-10pm
  • Sunday 10am-5pm

Not only will you have access to our incredibly versatile wine list, but we will also be stocking only the most premium spirits and a small selection of European bottled beers (for those that don’t fancy the vino!)

We will also be offering taster ‘Wine Flights’ accompanied with bites of perfectly paired cheese & meat, as well as full cheese or charcuterie boards. Kick back in the cosy comfort of our ‘Bordeaux Room.’ Think; old oak Barrels, warm glowing tapered candles and of course our trained sommeliers on hand to guide you through our unique and extensive collection of wine. This could be your new weekly (or multiple times weekly!) spot to kick back after a hard day at work.

We also offer outdoor seating as those summer nights are just on the horizon, our shop is situated in the heart of Worcester’s historic city Centre in Reindeer Court (WR1 2DS.)

So what are you waiting for? We’re just waiting for you!


What's new in Worcester? And how can your shopping support Ukraine?

What's New In Worcester?

Art is Ar't has its official opening! 

Mayor Stephen Hodges with the ribbon

Having arrived in Worcester from Redditch in December 2021, Art is Ar't had its Official Opening day on Saturday just gone, 26th of March. The Mayor, Stephen Hodges, performed the duty of cutting the ribbon and announcing the gallery as officially open at 10.30 am. A small gathering was there for the ribbon-cutting, made up of the gallery staff and some local artists and their partners.


Dermot O’Connor, Owner

Gallery owner Dermot O’Connor said "visitors to the gallery were greeted with Prosecco and small bites to eat throughout the day, to help us to celebrate our arrival in the city centre, which was needed in order to expand our business operations. Based in Crowngate, opposite the House Of Fraser, the move here has proved very successful, with good footfall to the gallery from the shoppers in Worcester, resulting in a good level of art sales and wonderful feedback from locals and visitors to the city alike. As a Fine Art gallery, we exhibit and sell original works of art and exclusive Limited Edition prints by award-winning, world-renowned artists. We also give up wall space for local artists to show and sell their art too."


Some of the gathering for the ribbon-cutting ceremony 

Throughout the day, local artists met with the public and talk about themselves and their art. There was also a crafting table set up for the children of the visitors. Being Mother’s Day on the Sunday, 27th, children were able to decorate wooden hearts and plaques with colouring pens and stick on shapes, for their mums, for a personalised Mother’s Day gift.


Some of the childrens’ decorated hearts

The event was a big success. Make sure to check out the new gallery when you are next visiting the City Centre.

How can your shopping support Ukraine?

The Entertainer is running a fundraising appeal to support the work of both the British Red Cross and The Salvation Army in their response work to the Ukraine crisis.

As of Thursday 31st March, 100% of proceeds (excluding VAT) from selected Mattel products sold in The Entertainer stores will be donated to the British Red Cross and The Salvation Army’s Ukraine Crisis Appeals. The programme features four of The Entertainer’s best-selling Mattel products; the Barbie You Can Be Anything Travel playset, Hot Wheels Infinity playset, Scrabble and Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn 123 Schoolbook Activity Toy. The Entertainer is providing the funds up-front to both the British Red Cross and The Salvation Army’s Ukraine Crisis Appeals ahead of the sales programme launch, to ensure families and those affected can receive urgent support.

These toys will be in a prominent location in-store to make them easy to find. So if you were considering buying a scrabble set, make it The Entertainer to provide support to Ukraine.

Worcester stands with Ukraine & Downloadable Poster for your window

In Worcester, we have seen the Guildhall lit up in the Ukrainian yellow and blue and a Ukrainian flag flying at Worcester Cathedral. Shopfronts, such as Peplow Jewellers (find them @peplowjewellers on Facebook), have started displaying their solidarity with Ukraine by decorating their window displays. The fabulous Piston Distillery (@pistondistillery) has even been painting their vodka bottles with the flag, with all profits from painted bottles sold going straight to Unicef Ukraine. You can find their shop in the bio of their Facebook page.

If you would like to show your support for Ukraine you can download our A4 window sign HERE.

Printed copies will be available shortly. If you would like a printed copy for your businesses window, please message us and we will add you to our distribution list to bring printed posters to you.

We would love to see what you or your business has been doing to support Ukraine. Tag Worcester BID (@WorcesterBID on Facebook) in your photos (@makeitworc on Instagram) to be shared.


NEW April and May Tuesday Training courses are now available for booking

Are you a BID Business? Join Worcester BID for Tuesday Training and let’s make Worcester safer together.

Tuesday Training is a 2022 initiative aiming to bring useful and free training courses to Worcester BID members. We want Worcester to feel safe for everyone in both the day and night. We believe it is imperative that health-based training is offered to create a safer community, a safer city and to make your staff feel trained and ready.

We will be running training throughout 2022 for you and your staff to utilise. You may now sign up to the new following free training programmes for April/May:

  • [AED] Defibrillator Training
  • First Aid
  • Food Hygiene (Please register interest - dates to be released soon)
  • Conflict Management Training and Physical Intervention
  • Health and Safety With Risk Assessment

To find out more about how we can support your BID business press here to open the interactive .pdf and explore what we have on offer and what each course entails. Dates and times for each course may also be found in the document attached.

To book, please forward your chosen courses and dates to gloria.hawthorn@worcesterbid.com.

FREE Digital Marketing Training - Book Now!

Join Worcester BID and the Worcester City Council for FREE digital marketing training for all businesses

As part of the Welcome Back funding to support the recovery of the High Street and to future proof our businesses Worcester BID and Worcester City Council are pleased to announce a series of digital marketing training. Supporting businesses to develop skills, strengthen SEO, raise awareness and engage with larger audiences.

Training is available to any business member within the City Council district. This training is open to all businesses as part of the Welcome Back Fund.

What courses are available to your business? 

All training will run 9.30 AM - 12.30 PM (variations may occur depending on the course taken).

7th March - Social media that works for you / 1-2 hours

Social media, the importance and how to make it work for you. Creating content, building communities and making a plan.

8th March - Benchmarking your analysis / 1-2 hours

Why analytics are important, how to analyse them and why you need to understand your importance to improve your overall profile.

14th March - Digital advertising made easy. / 1-2 hours

Pay per click advertising, display advertising, social media advertising and paying to reach new audiences.

15th March - Creating a digital strategy / 2-3 hours

Digital marketing strategy involves an assessment of specific goals that are achievable through online channels, we will use the time to create one for your business.

21st March - Content planning and scheduling / 1-2 hours

How to plan your content, create calendars, using local events to your advantage and prepare for it.

22nd March - SEO and why websites work / 2-3 hours

Getting started with on-page SEO, application of technical SEO, keyword research and using Google business listing to be seen more.

28th March - How to rank for the web and secrets of growth / 1-2 hours 

How to write for the web, understanding landing pages, keyword application and the power of blogging, beating Google.. or at least getting close.

29th March - SEO strategies made easy / 1-2 hours

SEO strategy is a detailed plan to improve a website's search engine rankings in order to capture more organic traffic, we will use the course time to create one. 

4th April - Practical Marketing / 1-2 hours

Marketing strategies, trending techniques, measuring success and applying immediate marketing actions.

5th April - Everything web and your digital storefront / 2-3 hours

SEO content strategies, how to improve your digital storefront, optimisation for small businesses and creating a stronger website.

11th April - Digital marketing and PR let's break it down / 2-3 hours

Raising your overall PR perspective, utilising local channels, local events and utilising the community to raise your profile.

12th April - Tik Tok, new audiences and you / 1-2 hours 

Why TikTok is one of the most powerful social media platforms, how to utilise it and what the next steps are to reach new audiences.

18th April - Top-ups and deeper learning based on what people found difficult / 1-2 hours

We will use this time for extra learning, anything that course attendees struggled with or want more detail.

19th April - Wrap up questions and how to manage it / 1-2 hours

Within this course we will wrap up the entire course, what has been learnt and follow up questions and getting ready to keep growing your business.

To book onto any of the course options available please email our Business Administrator, Alice Ingleby-Faulkner, at: Alice.Ingleby-Faulkner@worcesterbid.com with the course dates, titles and times you would like to register for.

WORCESTER Business Improvement District (BID) has announced Sam McCarthy as their new Chief Executive

Sam McCarthy, Worcester BIDs newly appointed Chief Executive

Sam joined the team in 2015 and has since worked on managing key partnerships and
has actively developed brand awareness within the city. Sam has a strong background
in business support and engagement and will strive to build awareness and improve
business within the commercial area of Worcester in her new position of Chief
Executive at the Worcester BID.

Notably, Sam has managed the BID through a difficult Covid period and has achieved a plethora of triumphs that have benefited Worcester’s business district. Such achievements include securing funding through the Worcestershire LEP to set up peer to peer networks and the development of a key partnership with Worcester’s Big
Parade, acting to connect the community and businesses, building customer confidence and to reconnect with the city. Further engagement with the local community has been undertaken to support local businesses through shop local campaigns and the recent development of the brand Make it Worc, which has improved B2B relationships in the BID area. Sam has also overseen the installation of infrastructure within two of Worcester’s most iconic heritage streets to permanently enhance and create a vibrant space.

Sam said: “I am thrilled to be appointed Chief Executive at such a pivotal time to support the recovery of our High Street. We recognise the need to be creative and ambitious by exploring ideas to activate space and utilise our outdoor areas more effectively creating a continental dining experience. Also, with a key focus on the night-time economy, Worcester BID will be leading on delivering Purple Flag status to the city as well working with our licensed venues to achieve Best Bar None standards.”

Mark Hughes, Worcester BID Chairman, said: “The board of directors is delighted to welcome Sam to the role of Chief Executive. Sam has a genuine understanding of the complexities of operating a BID and we are confident in her ability to lead the team over this critical post Covid time.”