A New Year Welcome message from Kevin Jones, Chair of Discover Twickenham BID
HAPPY NEW YEAR TWICKENHAM BUSINESSES!
It’s now 3 years since I joined the Discover Twickenham Board. Who knows where the time goes! When I was asked to get involved with the BID I have to admit I was a bit sceptical. I didn’t understand BIDs or how they fitted into the local economy. This was my ignorance as much as anything. I confess I hadn’t taken the time to find out. Hey, I’m co-owner of a small business. Got my hands full!
But once it was explained, I could see that here was the kind of opportunity I’d really enjoy. An exciting opportunity for me to help my town. Here was an organisation that was able to bring all of Twickenham’s businesses together, under one umbrella, to collaborate and get things done. I jumped in, along with several other Twickenham business folk and was very honoured to be elected Board chair. I love it!
All of the Board members work for Discover Twickenham on an entirely voluntary basis. We give our time free to support Amanda, the BID manager, identify, arrange and promote projects and initiatives that we think will benefit Twickenham businesses and the local community. Of course, as Twickenham business owners ourselves, we hope to share in the upside, but our motivation is to help Twickenham as a whole by generating collective benefits.
We have a good mix of people and businesses on the Board that bring great creativity alongside sound business judgement to Discover Twickenham. We welcome applications from others who would like to contribute their commercial expertise, energy and enthusiasm to our town. Being on the Board gives you influence over where the resources at our disposal are directed and which projects to support. Our budget is significant but not huge and we are extremely mindful of the fact that we are making choices over how to spend local levy payers’ money.
Projects And Initiatives
The projects that we can support have to be initiatives that are not the responsibility of the Council. ‘Additionality’ in the jargon. A 5 year business plan was created as part of the ballot process in 2019. We have chosen to focus on events and projects within the business plan themes that we as Board members judge will bring benefits to the local economy and community.
For example, the new Big Screen on Diamond Jubilee Gardens during the Wimbledon fortnight received really positive feedback.
The inaugural Chinese New Year parade proved extremely popular. There were hundreds of people following the Lion dancers from Twickenham Green to the town centre. The Diwali, festival of light celebration was also highly colourful, exuberant and similarly well attended. It’s fantastic to see businesses on Heath Road enthusiastically joining in with these events.
One of the most successful events has been High Tide, which drew thousands of people to Twickenham to enjoy a high-quality music festival.
The Christmas lights and the switch on event was extremely popular in November with footfall in the town up almost 20% on the successful 2021 event.
Plans for 2023
2023 will bring even more. As well as repeating the projects mentioned above, our plans include:
- A pilot scheme involving a local cargo bike delivery service
- Expanding the waste recycling offer through First Mile
- Creating the Taste Of Twickenham foodie trail
- Working with the Council to support programming for a new Arts & Ideas Festival
- Supporting the Ukrainian Independence Day event
- Producing an Easter concert
- Creating a Twickenham Carnival
- Delivering the first phase of a Twickenham Music Heritage Trail project
- Jet washing pavements in the central area
- Arranging networking events
- Business training courses
Businesses Working Together as Discover Twickenham
Discover Twickenham is solely formed of Twickenham businesses. It is an umbrella organisation through which we can all work together. If Discover Twickenham didn’t exist, ad hoc groups would no doubt be set up by energetic individuals to try and get things done. But crucially, they would have to make things work without the large financial contributions that the bigger businesses in our town are required to make to Discover Twickenham.
With the current macro-economic climate, some might say that we should rein in spend and accept the inevitable. I believe that we would be wrong and that it’s more important than ever right now to invest in our town and strive to make it an even more attractive place to live and work.
Here’s to a totally terrific Twickenham 2023.