Crieff Succeeds monthly update April 2016
29 Apr 2016 admin 0
This is a simple copy and paste of April’s monthly update e-mail newsletter for companies within Crieff’s business improvement district. Apologies if this post doesn’t display well, please click here for an online copy of the original e-mail. If you own or run a business within Crieff’s BID and aren’t receiving the monthly update e-mails please click on this link to subscribe to future Crieff Succeeds updates.This is your regular update on what’s been happening in the Crieff Succeeds office. April has been a month of funding deadlines, brand development, continued efforts to increase communications with levy payers, and discussions about the town hall (otherwise known as the visitor information centre).
Adding to the funding pot
A major aim of the business plan is to explore as many options as possible that might add additional funds that will bolster your levy contribution and allow us to do more for the town. Here’s a list of the of funding applications that have progressed forward this month.Some funding bodies ask that we present what’s called an ‘expression of interest’ form prior to moving on to the full application stage. This is where we stand with Scottish Enterprise. Last week an expression of interest was put forward requesting funds to go towards a visitor focussed website with additional funds to go towards digital marketing training for those in the BID who desire it. The idea behind this is that we will aim to target the growing proportion of travellers and day visitors who rely on web searches to make decisions about their prospective destination.
We have also began discussions with LEADER funding (a European funding body) to look at ways to add funding to some form of community hub which will also be aimed at offering a visitor information provision. It’s no secret that we are discussing a possible move of the Crieff Succeeds office to the town hall, however we currently don’t have official word from the council on what our next step will be. I can assure you that things are progressing in this regard but I can’t add any further details at present.
Given our current situation in relation to the town hall, and the fact that our proposal for a community hub is dependent on a venue of this nature, we currently can’t progress further on our LEADER funding application.
That said initial discussions on the proposal were positive and we are optimistic that if we are successful in our move then some degree of support in running this hub will be possible via the LEADER program. I should also point out that an anonymous local donation has kindly been put forward towards running costs of the building which we aim to make the most of as well.
We have also progressed onto what’s called the ‘draft application’ stage with Visit Scotland’s Growth Fund. Subject to consultation and revisions our final application will go in next month. If successful we will use these funds to help promote Crieff’s current offering to visitors.
We will of course intend to follow this up by highlighting additional elements as our town develops additional events and other features in future. A face to face meeting is scheduled between Visit Scotland, our marketing partners Volpa, and ourselves later in May which should allow us to learn more about our options and help us to move forward in the application process.
We have also been discussing potential elements within the business plan that might be able to find financial backing from Perth and Kinross council. An application is in the works and will be submitted in May.
The beginning of 2016 has been a period of laying groundwork as we do what we can to ensure that our plans lay on top of a solid foundation. From pushing for PKC and BEAR to clear drains (ensuring that future town clean-up efforts aren’t undone by mud-covered roads), to developing a preliminary communication network, and of course our commitment to developing a backdrop of additional funding to add more to what we can do for the businesses in the district.
These things aren’t big or bold but they give us the opportunity to make the most of the projects that are to come. From May onwards we should start to see components of the business plan take shape. I’ll be sure to contact you as things progress but the work that has been done so far has been vital in ensuring that we can move forward on what we’ve promised to do for your business and the town of Crieff as a whole.
Earlier in the month we reopened our public consultation to gather additional ideas for the Crieff brand from locals and visitors alike. The response this time was fantastic and I’d like to thank many of our levy payers for taking the time to add their own impressions to the mix. As the deadline hit we had received 140 completed surveys and they have helped immensely in shaping what our brand will look like.Volpa’s creative team are now on their second round of design ideas, after consultation with board members to eke out a brand that captures what was said in the public consultation surveys.
Preliminary features which were clear winners for inclusion were the natural feel of our town, our fantastic scenery, and our excellent selection of food. On top of this a high percentage of those who responded took the time to highlight how friendly and welcoming the people of Crieff are. These elements are being included in our plans for how we will market the town as we move forward.
In promoting Crieff to visitors we are also dedicated to doing what we can to increase Crieff’s offering in terms of events and destinations. Our two grant schemes are orientated around helping local groups and businesses who wish to increase what they have to offer. Our marketing strategy is currently aimed squarely at our strengths and as the town’s offering increases many of these new events, products, and services will also find their way into this marketing strategy.
In regards to Crieff’s empty properties (which I know typically comes up when we discuss marketing Crieff). I can reveal that at least a few of our empty areas should see marked improvement as the year progresses. Apologies for not being able to reveal more at present.
In terms of communication things are developing but I’m aware that many business owners still aren’t hearing about what we’re up to. I’d just like to take this opportunity to make a request of any business owner who is reading this and who knows of someone in this situation.I need (and want) to talk to representatives of businesses within Crieff’s BID. I do take the time I can to get out of the office and go in to local businesses but this alone won’t develop the communication network that we need.
If you know of anyone who is feeling left out of the loop in regards to Crieff Succeeds’ activities (even, or especially, someone who has strong reservations about the BID) please don’t hesitate to forward my contact details on to them.
We are not running an organisation behind closed doors, my office is always open, and I’m always happy to take time to discuss our activities with business representatives in the BID. If you yourself have questions about the BID or about our day to day activities, please don’t hesitate to contact me either by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (07412847098).
As you can see by the content of this e-mail we do have a lot on our plates at the moment but we are also here to serve businesses within this district so we will always do what we can to provide time for business representatives who need it.
This particular issue is complicated, there are things that we are at liberty to discuss as they are in effect our own facts to share. However, there are things pertaining to Perth and Kinross Council business that are not ours to share, I wish the situation were otherwise but if we want our plans to run smoothly an element of discretion at this stage is unfortunately the consequence.In all that follows please understand that these are expressions of our intentions only and they are heavily dependent on the progression of discussions with PKC.
That said I can at least share with you the fact that we are indeed in discussions with Perth and Kinross council about moving our offices into the building. It’s hoped that this will occur shortly after Visit Scotland leaves (and not a long stretch of time later). I will be meeting with representatives from Visit Scotland later today to discuss their intentions in regards to how this situation will progress.
It is our intention that the town hall will not lay dormant for an extended period during the changeover and that the transition should be as smooth as possible. As noted earlier in this e-mail we are considering ways to utilise the space as a visitor information centre and a community hub.
The notion of a ‘community hub’ can mean a lot of different things, so it might be worth highlighting exactly what we mean by this. Primarily the ‘community’ element will relate to the fact that the space offers an opportunity for local groups to meet in a single setting. It is hoped that arrangements can be made with the Crieff Community Council and any other local group in need of a fixed meeting space to ensure that they have access to regular meeting facilities within the building.
Another element of the plan that needs to be developed further is a provision for a retail space which will be used to gain essential funds needed to pay for the internal upkeep of the building and other associated running costs (we have asked that PKC retain responsibility for the external upkeep of the building).
We do have a provision within the business plan for staff known as ‘street ambassadors’. However, the money set aside for these wages will not be sufficient for year-long activity. If the retail area can be used well it is hoped that funds would be available to allow for more regular staff along with money to pay for essential janitorial maintenance.
As mentioned earlier in the e-mail, we cannot be sure of how these plans will progress at present but we have been given reasons to be hopeful from those in the know. Again apologies for the necessary silence on the details.
Onwards and Upwards
I hope that what’s been listed out so far gives you some indication as to where we are and what we’re doing to ensure that our efforts have a positive and lasting effect on business within the town. A key issue for me is always communication, not everyone opens these e-mails so I would like to thank you for taking the time to find out more about what we’re up to.As I said before I’m always happy to discuss things with local businesses. In fact I’m literally on my way out the door just now to help a local business owner fill in improvement grant forms for the renovation of a previously unoccupied site on the high street. I’m always happy to do what I can to help a Crieff business (it is what the BID is all about after all), so get in touch if there are any issues which are causing your business difficulty. Even if there isn’t something that we can do in-house, you’ll have someone in your corner doing what they can to help.
Here’s hoping the impromptu winter gives up and gets us back to some good weather. Hope you have a great month in May,
All the best, John
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