Ian Faulkner on how the BID will play a role in Wimborne's economic future
PUBLISHED: 16:07 03 September 2015 | UPDATED: 16:07 03 September 2015
Ian Faulkner, Chair of Wimborne Business Improvement District (BID), explains why the BID is a necessary ‘power for good’ and the important role he believes it will play in Wimborne’s vibrant economic future
A BID, or Business Improvement District to give it its full title, is a business led organisation elected by local businesses to deliver projects that improve the local business environment. It is funded by a small levy (in Wimborne’s case it is 1.5% of business rates), which raises about £95,000. The BID then generates around a further £25,000 each year from its own activities, which means that it can spend £120,000 a year on Wimborne. Compared to the budget of the Town Council, which is about £300,000 a year, this is a significant uplift.
Without doubt Wimborne is a special town; the BID is making it even better. Whilst the money is important, what it is spent on is even more so. BIDs are elected on the back of a Business Plan that sets out how the money will be spent. In our case it is spent on making Wimborne an even more appealing place to visit. We do this by supporting events and festivals to bring more people into town, on marketing, PR and advertising to raise awareness of all the wonderful things Wimborne has to offer, and on helping businesses to make the most of the visitors when they come, and get them to return.
The Wimborne BID has just entered the fifth and final year of its first term. It has delivered a lot over the last four years, but this is just the beginning of our journey. As we come out of the recession Wimborne must build on its historic foundations and become more relevant for the 21st Century. We need to make the town work as a whole, and bring prosperity to all areas. So we need to make it easy for people to see what the town has to offer and hopefully get local residents and visitors to come in to town and return again and again.
The renewed BID will focus on helping Wimborne Businesses ‘get on the map’ in all respects. We will do this by using a combination of traditional and modern media - marketing, advertising, signage and social media - with the most modern techniques in location-based services and augmented reality to give all visitors a unique and memorable experience. In order to achieve this we want businesses to have the tools available to build a relationship with their customers, and to extend that relationship to Wimborne itself. By collaborating with each other, they will bring prosperity to all businesses and to Wimborne.
A dream I hear you say? I’d say more of an aspiration. All of the elements to make this happen are available. All it takes now is a town that can work together to make it a reality.
Ian relocated to Wimborne from Surrey in 1995 to take a role as Director of Strategy for Frizzell Financial Services (now Liverpool Victoria). He retired in early 2015 and now splits his time between family life, consultancy and chairing the Wimborne BID - ensuring that the BID delivers its mandate, as well as working and engaging with levy payers, councillors, and other associated groups.
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