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Wednesday, 15 April 2020

New look Twickenham BID aims to steer the business community through the Coronavirus pandemic




A few weeks ago, a new board of directors at the helm of Try Twickenham was set to re-energise the activities of the BID.

They had agreed a refreshed brand, Discover Twickenham, and were putting together a plan of activities to promote commercial activity in the town. Then C-19 hit.

“It’s important to keep business going in these difficult days”

Councillor Geoff Acton, Richmond authority representative on the board explained, “In normal times, Discover Twickenham has a definite role to co-ordinate and lead revitalising the town centre and move things forward. It’s important to keep business going in these difficult days so we can encourage footfall back to the town centre and provide an offering that meets what people want once life returns to normal.”

Historically the BID has used a levy paid by local businesses to help make the whole area attractive to visitors and residents by holding good quality events to encourage footfall.

It's supported street markets, and sponsored Christmas lights and an app-enabled parking scheme that allowed residents to park for free for up to 59 minutes.

“When you pull together you have a bigger impact”

Ricardo Garcia, a new board member and owner of Ricardo’s Cellar in Church Street, believes that Discover Twickenham gives local businesses more flexibility and collective buying power.

“When you pull together, you have a bigger impact,” he said. “It’s important money is spent in the right areas and the new board is currently compiling a programme of things we want to do once normal life returns in addition to the good activities that are already up and running. Twickenham has bars, restaurants, the river and the infrastructure. The aim is to make Twickenham more of a destination town on a day to day basis and then residents will benefit. A lot of people like the idea, but the town needs more foot traffic and frequency of use. We all know that if you don’t use it, you lose it. Steady usage makes all the difference.”

“We should have more events like High Tide festival last summer… it's not all just rugby.

Another new board member is Mike McAuley, General Manager at the Twickenham office of the digital platforms company, Liferay. Mike believes Discover Twickenham should be adding to and complementing existing initiatives as well as highlighting some of the fantastic places and spaces in Twickenham.

“We should have more events like High Tide festival last summer and lunchtime events for office workers so they find out a little more about Twickenham and its history – it's not all just rugby”.

“It’s vital we work together for the whole of Twickenham”

The Board’s new chair, Kevin Jones, (pictured), runs and owns Eel Pie Records in partnership with Phil Penman. “When taking this on only a few weeks ago, no one was talking about C-19. The short-term landscape for Twickenham businesses has changed fundamentally and our focus as Discover Twickenham needs to be firmly on what we can do to help all our businesses survive this existential threat. Now, more than ever, it’s vital we work together for the whole of Twickenham.”

Discover Twickenham BID is an independent, not-for-profit company that’s answerable to a board of directors.

Each director is a BID levy payer and business owner or manager in Twickenham.

They give their time for free and help oversee the delivery of local projects and initiatives outlined in a five-year business plan, all geared towards attracting business to Twickenham.

posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 5:16 pm  

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