Worcester Celebrates International Women's Day!

International Women’s Day, which takes place on the 8th of March, is the yearly global celebration of all things women. It’s a day of inspiring talks, worldwide social media buzz, activism, and marches, that look to inspire change and aspire to worldwide gender equality. International Women’s Day was first celebrated in 1911, when women were struggling for their basic rights, seventeen years before they finally earned the right to vote if over the age of 21 in the UK following the Equal Franchise Act of 1928. There is of course still work to be done; according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2023, it will take another 131 years to reach gender equality!

Women encounter various forms of unfair treatment across the world today. As per a 2020 UNICEF report, only 66% of countries worldwide offer equal educational opportunities to both genders. Data from a 2020 United Nations report reveals that, despite constituting half of the global population, women occupy less than 30% of high-ranking governmental roles and senior management positions in the business sector. As well as highlighting social injustices, International Women’s Day serves as a platform to demonstrate the immense strength and capability of women and celebrate their accomplishments.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Inspiring Inclusion.’ So, Worcester BID has taken to the streets, inviting Worcester’s women to join in with the international campaign. Worcester BID’s video, released on International Women’s Day, showcases the women in our city and Business Improvement District who keep the city ticking, through the provision of essential services, strong leadership roles, and as business professionals. There will also be video content from some of our city’s female CEOs, who will provide insights into local leadership. You can watch these videos on Instagram by pressing HERE, or on Facebook, HERE.

 

Did you know many of our city leaders are female?

> The BID team is 75% female!

> Worcester City Council is under joint leadership from 2 women: Councillors Marjory Bisset and Lynn Denham.

> The City Centre Manager for Worcester is also female.

To name but a few…!

WATCH THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY VIDEO HERE!


Three Choirs Festival is Coming! Download your poster now!

The World’s Longest Running Music Festival is coming to Worcester in Summer 2024

The Three Choirs Festival is the world’s longest-running music festival, rotating between the cathedral cities of Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester. Since its beginnings in 1715, the festival has provided incredible music which has served as the inspiration for thousands.

The Three Choirs Festival is a week-long programme of world-class music making, featuring choral and orchestral concerts, solo and chamber music recitals, talks, cathedral services, theatre, exhibitions, and walks, rotating each summer between the beautiful English cathedral cities of Gloucester, Hereford, and Worcester. One of the elements which makes the festival so special is the Festival Chorus, which is made up of auditioned singers from the local area trained by professional directors, meaning that the Chorus both sings to a high standard and is a real part of the community. Three Choirs is thought to be the longest-standing classical music festival in the world and celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2015.

“A beacon for music making in our region”

At the heart of the festival are large-scale evening concerts featuring the Festival Chorus and the Philharmonia Orchestra (resident at the festival since 2012). Concert programmes feature internationally recognised soloists and combine favourites of the classical choral tradition with the best new music of our time. The Three Choirs Festival Youth Choir performs a major cathedral concert with the Philharmonia Orchestra every year, giving a unique opportunity to young singers in our region to rehearse and perform to a high standard with expert direction.

Next year, the festival is in Worcester. Learn more about what’s in store on their website: Home | Three Choirs Festival (3choirs.org).

If you want to display a poster in your business, please download it here: A3 / A4 

If you would like a hard copy, please email us at info@worcesterbid.com to request a drop up or pick up.


Martyn's Law: Ensuring Security for Worcester Businesses

 

The consultation phase for Martyn’s Law, the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, is now underway, representing a crucial opportunity for Worcester’s business community to contribute to enhanced security measures.

Named after Martyn Hett, a victim of the Manchester bombing, this legislation aims to mandate venue owners to assess terrorism threats and implement appropriate and robust measures. The legislation ensures readiness and response training for individuals in the event of an attack. Enhanced security systems, staff training, and clearer processes aim to deliver better protection, aligning with government responses to the Manchester Arena Inquiry. The bill will be passed under a tiered framework, meaning different types of businesses will be mandated to undertake different measures.

Under Martyn’s Law, proprietors of standard-tier premises in Worcester, covering sites with capacities ranging from 100

 

to 799 individuals, must fulfil key requirements. This is the most common business type in Worcester that will be affected by the new bill. Standard-tier businesses will need to notify the Regulator of their responsibility for the premises and namely, implement procedural measures to mitigate the risk of harm to individuals in the event of an attack. Notably, the revised Bill eliminates the need for specified forms, prescribed training, or physical alterations to equipment, reducing disruption to most Worcester city centre local business operations.

Business owners and stakeholders in Worcester are urged to engage in the Government’s consultation process, offering insights to inform the finalisation of this legislation. This initiative strongly resonates with Worcester BID’s dedication to cultivating a safer environment. Through expanded training initiatives, including our Catastrophic Bleed Courses, heightened safety measures, and the improved utilisation of the CCTV-integrated business radio network, CityNet, we aim to enhance security measures. Additionally, our collaborative endeavours, such as Safe Space, underscore our commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our community members at work, as residents and whilst enjoying all that our city has to offer.

Your input will contribute to the Government’s endeavour to enhance public safety and national security. As this Bill impacts Worcester businesses, it’s essential to be prepared for the changes it brings. Martyn’s Law is a legislative step in the right direction, but it needs your stakeholder input. You can participate in the consultation via the government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/martyns-law-standard-tier-consultation.


Worcester's 2023 Foot Traffic Soars Despite Regional Downturn

A recent release of an annual report by Place Informatics has cast a spotlight on the foot traffic trends across 12 UK regions in 2023. This comprehensive report analyses the yearly, quarterly, and monthly fluctuations in footfall, providing a comparative assessment against the previous year’s data.

Examining the year-on-year percentage change by region, the South-West and Wales emerge as the front-runners, experiencing the highest percentage increase at 4.57% and 4.45%, respectively. In contrast, London faces a notable decline with a -1.43% decrease, closely followed by the West Midlands at -1.38%. Despite Worcester’s geographic tie to the West Midlands, recent data challenges the notion of a decline in our city’s footfall.

Contrary to regional statistics, Worcester has exhibited remarkable growth. The 2023 footfall has surged by an average of 21,180 per month, translating to a substantial addition of 254,164 extra pedestrians on our streets in 2023.

What’s driving Worcester’s impressive foot traffic surge for 2023? The city has reaped the benefits of collaborative efforts, evident in the success of the Victorian Christmas market orchestrated by Worcester City Council and innovative events like the Starlight Lantern Parade, a collaborative project involving The Hive, Council, Worcester BID, and government funding support. Worcester BID’s strategic promotion of the city’s rich heritage through a Sky TV advert targeted at specific demographics has also played a pivotal role. Local businesses have actively contributed to this upswing with so many fantastic venues achieving awards, such as Maneki Ramen’s win of Japanese Restaurant of the Year 2023.

Venues have also worked hard to create a safer and more welcoming city offering for all via increased training. Worcester BID’s commitment to community development is evident in the 1205 delegates from businesses within its district attending free and heavily subsidised training courses, fostering confidence and skill development. The introduction of the BID Safer Streets Officer and Safe Space has further bolstered nighttime operations, providing crucial support in areas such as first aid and mental health.

Enhancements in lighting infrastructure and seasonal displays in aerial spaces have gained national attention, attracting more tourism and increased foot traffic on Worcester’s streets. Additionally, our arts and culture scene is booming, with the addition of the art spaces in the Arches and extended opening and popular late-night openings at our Museums!

As we look ahead, Worcester is poised for continued positive momentum, especially as the Official Education and Community Partner of the St Richards Hospice City Art Trail, The Waddle of Worcester, ensuring mass footfall into the city during summer.

Stay tuned by reading the Worcester BID column every Friday for the latest updates.


Martyn's Law: An Important Update for Business Owners

The public consultation on the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, also known as Martyn’s Law is now open. The government consultation will run for 6 weeks

Martyn’s Law is a new legislation in the UK that will mandate those responsible for certain premises and events to consider the terrorist risk and how they would respond to an attack. It is named in tribute to Martyn Hett, who was killed in the Manchester bombing. The law will follow a tiered model linked to the type of activity taking place and the expected audience size and will seek to improve how prepared a venue is without putting an undue burden on business.

In summary, those responsible for Standard Tier premises must:

  • Notify the Regulator that they are, or have become, responsible for premises within the scope of the Bill (and so subject to the relevant requirements). This remains broadly in line with previous requirements.
  • Have in place procedural measures that could be expected to reduce, so far as reasonably practicable, the risk of physical harm to individuals at the premises in the event of an attack. These relate only to the procedures to be followed by people working at the premises in the event of an attack occurring or being suspected as about to occur. As the procedural measures are about procedures for responding to an attack or suspected attack, it is not expected or required that physical alterations be undertaken or additional equipment purchased for Standard Tier premises.
  • In contrast to the published draft Bill, there is no requirement to complete a specified form (the ‘Standard Terrorism Evaluation’) for Standard Tier premises or ensure that people working at the premises are given any specific training. However, as part of putting in place the procedural measures, workers will need to be sufficiently instructed or trained to carry them out effectively.

The consultation is targeted at organisations, businesses, local and public authorities, and individuals who own or operate publicly accessible premises or events that the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill will potentially affect.

It seeks views from those responsible for smaller premises which would fall within the standard tier. Standard tier venues are businesses with a capacity of 100-799 individuals.

The bill will impose requirements about certain premises and events to increase their preparedness for, and protection from, a terrorist attack by requiring them to take proportionate steps, depending on the size and nature of the activities that take place at the premises.

The proposed requirements would apply to those responsible for qualifying public premises and qualifying public events.


Take the consultation here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/martyns-law-standard-tier-consultation

 


Worcester Leads the Charge Against Retail Theft

The recent release of the 2023 Retail Crime Survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has illuminated a national picture of a concerning surge in violence against staff and retail theft. The BRC are urging government intervention to safeguard retail workers, underscoring the pressing need for nationwide investment in deterrents, coupled with comprehensive training and support networks. Aligning with these findings, Policing Minister Chris Philp has initiated a national action plan to combat shoplifting, urging retailers to swiftly provide CCTV footage and shoplifters’ images for identification through facial recognition technology. The introduction of the Pegasus police program further seeks to gather intelligence on organised crime gangs involved in shoplifting, aiming to enhance collaboration between retailers and law enforcement.

Remarkably, Worcester has been ahead of the curve, already implementing very similar strategies for some time. The city’s resilience against the rising trend of retail theft is evident. Worcester BID is taking action to help local businesses reduce theft by providing comprehensive training courses, increasing the use of the 24/7 CCTV-connected CityNet radio system, and using GDPR-compliant DISC information sharing systems, working to strengthen the understanding and adoption of effective theft reduction schemes. Tailored Safer City meetings have evolved into essential platforms for businesses to unite against the shared challenge of retail theft, receiving insights directly from crucial partners like West Mercia Police, providing a helpful support network.

Worcester’s success in combatting retail theft is backed by tangible statistics. From June 20th, 2023, to January 19th, 2024, Worcester BID’s Safer Streets Officer reported 57 instances of asset and monetary recovery and 87 cases of deterrence within the business district. This dedicated officer actively addresses anti-social behaviour, particularly in hot-spot areas, and supports staff in reporting crimes, contributing to a substantial recovery of £12,755.15 in just seven months.

Through collaborative efforts and heightened awareness, Worcester’s partners have effectively intensified the targeting of retail theft, working towards safer streets for everyone. It is great to see that there is a national push to reduce retail theft, and even better to see that Worcester’s endeavours have already yielded success in combatting retail theft. The city is committed to further cultivating partnerships and providing ongoing efforts that support businesses to flourish.

 


Contemplating the Evolution of Worcester's High Street & Future

Public spaces, important in any city, serve as channels for social interaction and community cohesion. Yet, urban expert Matthew Davis of the Institute of Place Management, issues a warning—public spaces, from sports centres to parks and libraries, face an impending crisis of closure and underfunding. In a recent article titled ‘Pay to stay: an inflection point for accessible towns and cities’, Davis underscores the dwindling support for UK public spaces, advocating for a renewed emphasis on investing in free-to-stay areas that can address community need.

So, is Worcester too at a pivotal juncture where economic prosperity converges with social responsibility? The delicate task of maintaining accessibility for the city centre — the very heart of our community — as a member of the Worcester Business Improvement District, provides some conflict between our aim to foster business growth and Davis’s imperative to preserve public spaces. Davis contends that community input should underpin our urban environment, urging a balanced approach that marries commercial development with investments in public spaces, forging an inclusive city, and we don’t disagree.

The evolving high street introduces challenges to maintaining community spaces as businesses adopt pay-to-stay models for increased turnover, which is great for our economy. Davis suggests striking a balance between community accessibility and high street economic growth is crucial — but how well does Worcester achieve this?

While Worcester considers this challenge, municipal services, such as our city-centre public library, The Hive, stand out as successful community hubs, a stark contrast to the national trend of defunding and closures addressed in the article. However, the question lingers: does Worcester provide enough free alternatives to counterbalance pay-to-stay policies?

In response to the community ownership debate, Worcester takes its own path, with businesses like Script Haven and Sugar Daddy’s Cafe fostering meaningful community narratives. Script Haven, recognised by The Times as the third-best independent bookshop in the UK, actively engages with local talent and charities. Sugar Daddy’s Cafe has become an LGBTQ+ community hub, promoting inclusivity. Additionally, Worcester City Council allocates funding for initiatives like the Arches and Scala Theatre redevelopment, enhancing community accessibility.

The ongoing debate asks whether the high street should grow organically or if active intervention and investment in community-led infrastructure is necessary. However, does this apply to our city?

Worcester appears to strike a delicate equilibrium between economic growth and community well-being, successfully paving its path towards a balanced future.


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.

 


Independent arts, retailers and culinary delights – New Street has it all!

New Street, which runs parallel to Worcester’s Shambles and on from Friar Street continues the historic story of the city with the King Charles house at the far end.  In November/December, New Street is the foodie heart of the Victorian Market and during the rest of the year, the businesses enjoy footfall from locals and tourists shopping in the independent businesses and recharging in the bars and food on offer in the street.

Terry Goodwin-Jones jointly owns The King’s Gallery and Mangojuice Gallery: “New Street has been increasingly busy generally, not just with locals but visitors from all over and also return visitors which is good.   People are buying as well as browsing and the street feels full of life again.   We are excited to take part in the Big Parade: it brings more people down to the street as part of the Art Trail.  The King’s Gallery has been here over 20 years and some people are visiting us for the first time which is wonderful.  Our window created by my colleague Popi has a beautiful baby elephant in as well as our products, so people are now elephant spotting along New Street!”

Hannah Webb from Bottles Wine Bar says; ‘Over at bottles we’ve been working hard on taking a positive approach despite all the chops and changes we’ve been subjected to over the last 18 months. Our local collaboration with strong indie restaurant Chester’s is back with a vengeance! Order take out from Chesters to eat with your wine at our gorgeous little bar, as well as their late night burritos returning 10pm-2am Fridays and Saturdays.

Supporting other independent businesses is so important in city’s like Worcester and the more we can support each other the better.’

‘It’s been a tough road to navigate but allowed us to develop parts of our business that we otherwise were struggling to find the time for like our delivery service and wholesale.

We’ll be opening our brand new shop in reindeer court amongst some other developments, so keep your eyes peeled. And as always a huge thank you and cheers to our staff and customers, without whom we could never be where we are!’

Bottles wine bar are back open until 2am Friday and Saturdays now, and as of August will be back to DJ both nights.

Insider secrets:  Be the Change have recently made their debut to the street with their second restaurant location in Worcester. This is a must to visit!

 

Worcester BID’s priorities and objectives are to promote, support and enhance BID businesses within the City.

www.worcesterbid.com


Family run businesses to major retailers Broad Street is the ideal shopping location

Linking the river bridge to the top of the High Street at Worcester Cross, Broad Street is an important thoroughfare for the city centre. With a mixture of national chains and independent retailers, Broad Street sees a lot of people walk up and down as both a destination and passing through.

Gill Barnett is manager at Cook Mate, an independent cookshop that has been in Broad Street for 40 years and is now a firm favourite in the city.  “Broad Street is always busy,” Gill says.  “There are an increasing number of pedestrians around, especially when the football was on.  We are in a very positive position: here in Cook Mate, we have lots of new lines in stock and are adding more each week. We feel that people are out spending more when they come into our shop, and footfall is increasing as the weeks go by. Celebrating our 40th anniversary is important too - we will be celebrating with the local community and cementing our position as an established face in Broad Street.”

New England is another independent retailer based further along Broad Street towards the bridge.  Rachael Evans is the owner.  “We have lots of fabulous new stock from our favourite brands including Seasalt, Gisela Graham and Cath Kidson which are always popular with shoppers as great gifts or stylish clothing. As the restrictions ease, footfall is slowly getting busier again but despite that people are spending more when they come into the shop which is positive to see.”

The team at Toys and Games of Worcester said ‘We are very much part of the Worcester community having lived, schooled and worked in the city for decades. We love the city. We have had a shop in Worcester for 25 years and enjoy it now as much as we did when we started. We have masses of stock. Lego, Pokemon, Tamiya, Airfix, Brio, Playmobil, Silvanian Families, toy cars, fidget toys, board games, card games, summer toys, plush toys.’

‘We are situated on Broad Street and open every day, it’s a great location a main entry point to the city and close enough to the centre that people can come wherever they are. Come and see us and meet the team. Vicky, Sue, Sophie, Annie & Tim’

With access from Broad Street to the High Street, The Cross, the River Severn and

main city bridge as well as Deansway, Crowngate and Angel Place with the bus station, it’s not hard to see why Broad Street is such a hub.

 

Worcester BID’s priorities and objectives are to promote, support and enhance BID businesses within the City.

www.worcesterbid.com