Summary of Lancaster BID’S Annual General Meeting
Wednesday 4th November 2020 Via Zoom
Chairman Nick Wilkinson welcomed everybody to this unique meeting held via zoom for the 1sttime and outlined how the meeting would go and listed who we had received apologies from.
Nick then gave an overview of Key Achievements and forward plans which he split up in 3 sections: Pre Covid-19, during Covid and The Future:
Pre Covid-19. April 2019- March 2020
Quite a bit of change at Lancaster BID as Nick took over from the great work done by previous chair, Susan Rutherford, and Tony Johnson took over from previous BID Manager, Rachael Wilkinson. A lot of work at this time was delivering plans/projects that had already been put in place, such as the delivery of the 2nd Festa Italia which was bigger and better than the first one, the ever popular Dino Day and of course the Christmas Lights Switch on. At the same time we were introducing new things to BID such as:
BID Breakfasts- very popular events on subjects such as Canal Quarter and Tackling ASB across the city- the latter having 80 businesses attend! We held our first BID Ambassador Awards which was a huge success celebrating everything great about our city! We also managed to get Ffrances Passage name changed at Christmas to become Santa’s Passage!
In early 2020 we started putting together our next Business Plan based on results from a levy payer survey in February – this quickly became irrelevant as Covid broke.
During Covid- The team were quick to react offering support and guidance through a time of uncertainty and insecurity. We furloughed 2 of our staff as we felt it was the right thing to do for the organisation and Tony, BID Manager, kindly agreed to work for 80% of his salary and do 80% of his hours in the early stages of lockdown.
We supplied over 1000 floor social distance markers for businesses and provided 40 sneeze screens free of charge for smaller levy payers.
With partners we launched ‘Stay Local Shop Local’ and also in July employed our very own BID Warden to be the eyes and ears on the street for 30 hours per week- this is all part of our ‘Safe and Secure Lancaster’ campaign. And, right now, we are trying to make everything look nice around Lancaster with extra lighting at Christmas and the supply of 50 Christmas trees for city centre businesses.
At the end of this month we’ll be launching our new business plan- ‘5 years 5 goals’ the key goals which you want us to prioritise are:
Marketing Lancaster as a destination both to locals and visitors- we have started work on this already with the launch of our place-based app ‘LoyalFree Lancaster’
Safe and Secure- we will continue to work on our 5 point plan that was agreed at The BID Breakfast in February trying to improve: Street Drinking, homeless/rough sleeper issues, Begging, Shoplifting and youth ASB.
Events- Our flagship events will return when it is safe to do so and we’ll work on bringing new things to Lancaster
Appearance and Environment- Keep working on this- more from Phil Simpson
Business Support- we feel we are more important than ever for this and a key player in the recovery of Lancaster post Covid.
The key is for you to vote Yes in the ballot in February
Phil Simpson- Chair of Improvements group
Phil gave a brief overview of everything we have delivered including:
Bunting, Planters, Umbrella Canopy, Ginnels project which improved the lighting in Sir Simon’s Arcade, Music Room Passage, and Golden Ball Lane. Tackled grot spots with help from LCC and brought in the chewing gum remover to clean the streets. We’ve also extended the Christmas lights.
After months of trying we got a hoarding up in the old Bensons for Beds building.
Moving forward we will focus on supporting the council with their plans for a High Street Heritage Action Zone near North Road and surrounding areas and keep investing in making the city look nice and appealing.
Tony Johnson- gave an overview on events
It had to be short and sweet as we haven’t been able to deliver anything since March, everything we have tried to deliver has had to be cancelled. We did have a plan B for Dino Day, we invested in an inflatable T-Rex and hung it from St Nics roof, we then did a trail with 12 cuddly dinosaurs in windows across the city- this at least kept the synergy alive between Lancaster and Dinosaurs.
Christmas will be different, but we are delivering a few projects over the coming weeks: Keep A Light On, 12 Windows of Christmas, Best Festive Window promotion.
Here’s to hopefully being able to do more events in 2021!
Nick Wilkinson then asked for a proposer and seconder of annual accounts – these had been on display of our web site for 3 weeks.
Karen O Neil Proposed them and Sarah Turnbull seconded them.
Next item was the election of company directors- Nick explained that Phil Simpson and himself had been elected last year so had another 2 years to run and Mark Diggle the year before so had another year. Elections were therefore not required this year. There are currently two spaces available to be a director of BID and Nick encouraged anybody interested to speak with him or Tony.
Closing remarks from Nick: He encouraged everybody to look out for the business plan and hoped that the city centre can re-open again on 3rd December. He thanked everyone for coming and, as there was no other business, closed the meeting at 18.20