I am very proud of the work that Southport BID has done since it began in 2014. Although it is a relatively new organisation to Southport I can already see the positive difference it has made to the town since its inception.
I think that as a town we are very lucky to have a BID, certainly not all towns do, but the national picture and statistics tell us that it is the most successful towns and cities that have BIDs operating.
Southport BID has ever only ever been possible because of the drive and enthusiasm locally to establish one in the town. The businesses that got behind its creation have continued to support it ever since, and its existence is welcomed by new businesses setting up in the town. And it is thanks to the businesses that are paying the BID levy that Southport is able to benefit from the additional investment that this brings.
We very much see that the money Southport receives through the BID as an additional investment because the activities that are carried out are independent, so without the BID’s involvement these activities would simply not exist. One of the clearly defined roles of any BID is that there is no limit to the services that can be provided, but these much be on top of those provided by the local authority. In Southport this includes everything from events such as the Christmas light switch on and the Halloween Festival, to projects such as the Lord Street tree lights, the floral planters, marketing campaigns and business promotion. We also have to see it as an investment because every element of work undertaken is intended to reap further benefits, whether to reduce crime, or to promote independent businesses or to carry out the work to secure grants and bids for the town.
The make up of the projects that the BID embarks upon reflects the nature and fabric of the town as a place to live, work and visit. As an example of this in action, one of the areas of activity under focus in recent times has been the night time economy. Such is the impact of initiatives such as the introduction of Taxi Marshals, the Businesses Against Crime project and the work with Pubwatch that it has resulted in Purple Flag status being granted to Southport, ensuring that nationally people know that Southport offers an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out. To me such progress is a clear indication of the difference that the BID is making.
So whilst there are lots of pressures on businesses and the high street at the moment, I think we have to remember that Southport BID is an extra support for all, that it is working for your interests and that it shares your vision for a successful Southport.
As we ask businesses to again back the ballot to secure a further 5 year term for Southport BID I would ask that all businesses that will be voting to spend a few minutes reading about what the BID’s already delivered and its plans looking forward.