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Get your skates on for Christmas in Aberdeen The Aberdeen Inspired team have been busy putting together a Christmas programme this year which we hope will put a festive spring in you step!. The ice rink (subject to the necessary Health and Safety and Legal documentation being obtained) will be available for use by those visiting the city centre over the festive period. Running from December 3 until December 22, the ice rink will appeal to skaters of all abilities, as well as those looking to simply enter into the festive spirit in what is set to be a magical winter haven in the heart of Aberdeen. A programme of free Christmas movies at The Belmont Picturehouse is set to give movie-goers the chance to see much loved festive films on the big screen including White Christmas, Polar Express and Scrooged. Showings will take place every Saturday and Sunday between 30th November and 22nd December. Tickets can be booked at The Belmont Picturehouse Box Office, by telephone 0871 902 5721 or online picturehouses.co.uk. A host of storytelling sessions and street theatre by the acclaimed Covent Garden Entertainers is set to transform Aberdeen’s city centre into a wonderland that all the family can enjoy. Plans are also underway to dress two shop unit windows themed with the ‘12 Days of Christmas’. It is hoped, with the support of participating businesses, there will be daily prize giveaways on the lead up to Christmas. If you are interested in donating a prize for this promotion please contact elaine.porter@aberdeeninspired.com P2

Susan Bree, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “Traditionally, the Castlegate area of Aberdeen has been the focal point of the

Scandanavians learn from Aberdeen

festive period in the city and we plan to build on this with the addition of the ice-rink in what we believe will help capture the spirit of the

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festive period for all ages to enjoy. P3

“We plan to invest a six-figure sum in the Christmas programme this year as we look to having something for everyone happening

MyAberdeen App launched

across the city centre throughout December. One of the underlying goals of Aberdeen Inspired is to increase footfall within the BID zone and we believe that our proposed Christmas line-up will give this every chance of succeeding.

P3 Flying the flag for the city centre

“With the support from our levy payers we’re delighted to help play our part in making December as memorable as possible for those visiting the city centre and we hope that many will be able to take advantage of what is on offer.”

P5 World Class Service

For all the latest festive updates please find us on Facebook/AbdnInspired, Twitter @AbdnInspired or aberdeeninspired.com P6 In response to the Strategic Infastructure Plan


A Tale of Two Cities Scandanavians learn from Aberdeen Business Model

A co-ordinated effort by Aberdeen businesses to create a more vibrant commercial environment in the city centre has been showcased to a new audience after the project attracted Scandinavian interest. Aberdeen Inspired chief executive Susan Bree was invited to outline the organisation’s role and ethos at a special event in Sweden in September. Susan Bree made a presentation in Gothenburg as civic leaders in the host country consider proposals to adopt the BID system, which is widely used throughout Scotland and England. In Aberdeen more than £1million is raised annually through levy payments, voluntary contributions and other funding sources. That is invested back into the zone through a series of targeted projects designed to meet the organisation’s aims – with the primary focus on increasing footfall within the area through a variety of measures. Susan Bree said: “The BID system is completely new to Sweden, although they do have a similar city centre management role in place which is similar to the one BIDs took over in Britain.

Collaboration “The relationship began in November when a delegation from Gothenburg’s business community came to meet with Aberdeen Inspired. We took them on a walking tour of the BID and demonstrated some of the projects which had been completed or were in progress, something which certainly struck a chord with our guests.” The Aberdeen Inspired chief executive was invited to make a return trip to Scandinavia and believes the links between the two cities could strengthen in the months and years ahead. Susan Bree added: “It was a very positive exercise, so much so that the local authority in Gothenburg is now keen to follow the lead of the businesses which have already been to Scotland by visiting to see at first hand how Aberdeen Inspired operates. “While in Sweden I was also able to study their methods of place management and destination marketing, areas in which we feel there could be collaborative opportunities. It would be excellent to see the relationship between Gothenburg and Aberdeen build and bring tangible benefits for both cities.”

From the Chief Executives Office Aberdeen Inspired are committed to playing a central role in the decision making process and representing our levy payers at the top table, whilst in tandem setting our own agenda for immediate improvements and long term plans which fall under our own remit. With an annual investment budget of in excess of £1million for projects to enhance the Business Improvement District, we are now seeing the fruits of our labours of the first full year of activity. As time goes by the impact of Aberdeen Inspired will be even more marked. - Susan Bree


App Launched for the city A new app, called MyAberdeen was launched to assist visitors and locals alike who wish to find out more about the Granite City and its many attractions. The app is available on both iPhone and Android bringing the city and all its facilities to hand so it’s easy to find the right event, restaurant, hotel or taxi service at the touch of a button. The app has nine informative sections – including accommodation, activities and attractions, food and drink, what’s on, promotions and deals, shopping, services, special events and travel. Personalising the homepage is possible – four sections will appear on the homepage by default, but individuals can prioritise different sections according to what matters to them. For example, a visitor may prioritise different sections to a local who knows more about the city. Users can also personalise the app’s colour scheme and text so the MyAberdeen app suits their personal tastes. The app is designed to be a practical guide to Aberdeen with the different sections enabling users to find establishments in close proximity to where they are. For example restaurants can be viewed as a list view or on a map, users can call a venue or email through the app, and it’s possible to ‘favourite’ a restaurant so you can easily locate it online and refer to it a later date. Elaine Porter from Aberdeen Inspired commented “We are excited about the MyAberdeen app and would encourage businesses to ensure their information is up-to-date”. An offline version is currently being developed to complement the online offering, to save on 3G usage. To access the app without scanning a QR code simply enter MyAberdeen into the search engine of the smartphone app store. MyAberdeen is a partnership project between Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen Inspired, and VisitAberdeen. For further information contact Aberdeen Inspired on 01224 566311.

Flying the flag for the city centre Assessors visited Aberdeen city centre as it put in it’s bid to become the first city in Scotland to achieve prestigious Purple Flag status. Much like the Blue Flag award for exemplary beaches, the Purple Flag scheme is a national accreditation by the Association of Town Centre Managers (ATCM) and recognises town and city centres that excel in managing the night time experience. The city centre area was marked on four key themes; wellbeing, movement, appeal and sense of place with a number of performance indicators determining the outcome of these areas. Crime and anti-social behaviour, alcohol and health, composition, footfall, perceptions, volume and value and patronage will all come under scrutiny with factual evidence having to be provided to support claims within these sections. Aberdeen’s application was spearheaded by Aberdeen Inspired, who have been working together with a number of local organisations in its quest to join the elite group. Aberdeen Inspired director Geoff Cooper who leads on the Safe and Secure projects said “The inspection was a culmination of years of hardwork we have put into the Aberdeen nightlife experience”. The announcement as to whether Aberdeens application has been succesful will be made this month.


An update from our Ambassadors Aberdeen Inspired’s ambassadors are embracing their roles as figureheads for the work being undertaken throughout the zone. Aberdeen Inspired’s Ambassadors began a busy month by guiding off-duty delegates round the wide selection of evening entertainment held in the city centre during Offshore Europe 2013. Representatives of the oil industry throughout the world travelled to Aberdeen for a three day conference, in greater numbers than ever this year. Angela and Ross, along with VisitAberdeen, led a team of volunteers who showed delegates round the Farmers Market and a varied programme of music at Marischal College, as well as issuing maps and even advice on nearby tourist attractions and even where to get a traditional local beverage! As well as offering top class entertainment for delegates wishing to relax after the daily activity of Offshore Europe, the aim was to encourage these visitors to view Aberdeen as a destination for cultural and leisure activities, as well as business.

was designed to bring people to the West End, whilst bringing life to an underused green space in the city and allowing all ages to engage with art and games in a day out for all the family. All that walking around the BID area paid off as part of another project championed by our Ambassadors this month as their daily mileage was tallied up, with the help of a pedometer and added to those of others taking part in Shopmobility’s “Hong Kong Hike”. This is a virtual journey from Aberdeen Harbour UK to Aberdeen Harbour Hong Kong – and back again - and is part of a year of activities, many including some of the many other “Aberdeens” throughout the world to celebrate Shopmobility’s 21st anniversary. Between them Ross and Angela have clocked up well over 120 miles as they’ve visited BID members in October.

Whilst VisitAberdeen were representing Aberdeen Inspired, and our BID members, at the Conference Centre, our Ambassadors were providing a friendly presence within the city centre. A daily briefing session for volunteers was lead by Angela and Ross each afternoon prior to the whole team hitting the streets to provide a information to our Offshore Europe visitors. Later in the month, the Ambassadors were working with businesses in the West End, as they supported SMART Consultants to host the PlayPark event at Rubislaw Terrace Gardens held on the last weekend in September. PlayPark

Aberdeen Inspired AGM Funding available for Aberdeen Inspired wants to continue to engage city centre improvements with it’s Levy Payers. We want to hear your views and discuss how we can continue to work together for the benefit of Aberdeen City Centre.

Date: Thursday 21st November 2013 Time: 6pm-8pm Venue: The Caledonian, by Thistle, 10-14 Union Terrace, AB10 1WE If you would like to attend please contact Email: rosalyn.downes@aberdeeninspired.com Tel: 01224 566291

Businesses within the BID zone are eligible for a grant of up to £1,500 each to go towards exterior revamps. Grant recipients will be required to match the funding. The money will be available for firms with plans to make aesthetic improvements to their premises, whether on a small scale with floral displays or through a complete shop front overhaul. Susan Bree, Aberdeen BID chief executive, said: “We are working on a programme of maintenance projects throughout the city centre to enhance specific areas. “The shop front improvement scheme complements those and will allow individual businesses to make their own mark by taking advantage of this offer. “We want to foster a sense of pride in the city centre and everyone can play a part. Whether big or small, every improvement that is made will add to what we are working to achieve with the BID.” If you would like more information please contact Alan Bree on 01224 566311 or email alan.bree@aberdeeninspired.com


Free of Charge Northeast Retail Monitor Hardly a month goes by without a news story reporting fluctuating retail figures in the UK. In July did heard that retail sales had grown the fastest in seven years with the heat-wave, Royal baby and Andy Murray’s victory at Wimbledon all being attributed to this. The picture has not always been so positive though and the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce retail survey that was conducted earlier this year demonstrated retailers concerns with rising costs, squeezed margins and a concern over some aspects of the local trading environment. Whilst this research was a great start for the region what the sector really needs is a way to track key business indicators over time and more importantly, at a local North-east level. I am sure we would all like to know whether having the second warmest July on record had the same impact on retail sales up here as it did in the UK as a whole.

How you can help Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce want to help make our region the most informed in Scotland. To help realise this ambition in the retail sector we are creating a monthly retail monitor to give you and regional decision makers an insight into how the sector is performing month on month as well as being able to benchmark the region to the UK as a whole.

Why would you support the monitor? •

You’ll receive the monthly report free of charge

You’ll be able to benchmark your performance against that of the wider North East retail sector

We will select one retailer a month to provide a short case study for the report - this could be you

In order to obtain these key statistics we would value your support. We need businesses like you to complete a very short (5 question) survey each month. Results of the survey will only be available to those retailers that participate in the monitor and you will receive this free of charge unlike some other reports which are published.

The case study business will benefit from having their logo placed on the report which will have a large distribution and which we expect to receive significant media coverage

Free of Charge Northeast Retail Monitor

To find out more contact Emma Moulden emma.moulden@agcc.co.uk

How can you help?

World Class Service Aberdeen Inspired, working in partnership with Visit Aberdeen, Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Partnership, Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms Tourism

Create positive PR and marketing campaign opportunities that can help transform and enhance visitors’ perceptions of the region

Group the Banffshire Coast Tourism Group and People 1st are now working together to deliver a significant training project.

The WorldHost Destination initiative can help support businesses across the region enhance the overall quality of their visitor welcome, improve bottom line profitability and deliver a better return on training and skills investment. Going for destination status allows businesses in the hospitality, passenger transport, retail, travel and tourism industries to work together, using a suite of world-class customer service training programmes, to improve the overall quality of the visitor experience across the defined destination area and set a new benchmark for customer excellence. Achieving WorldHost Recognised Destination status across Aberdeen City & Shire will: •

Demonstrate a commitment to providing the very best service across the entire North East visitor economy

Promote a positive sense of pride across the local community and businesses

Enhance the quality of the experience on offer across the region, becoming a positive trademark and selling tool

Give staff in local businesses the opportunity to achieve a nationallyrecognised qualification in customer service, and ensure that they are all working towards the same quality benchmark

Achieving WorldHost Destination status, and the role businesses need to play For Aberdeen City and Shire to become WorldHost recognised, 25% of all visitor economy businesses across the region must have successfully achieved the WorldHost Recognised Business standard. To achieve the standard, any hospitality, passenger transport, travel, tourism or retail business must have trained at least 50% of their front-line staff (including parttime and seasonal staff) using one of the WorldHost customer service programmes. To find out about funding opportunities please get in touch with Aberdeen Inspired ross.grant@aberdeeninspired.com


In response to the Strategic Infastructure Plan by Aberdeen Inspired chairman Richard Noble

You will have seen from recent media coverage that Aberdeen City Council, at it’s last meeting, approved its Strategic Infrastructure Plan (SIP). We would like to advise you that Aberdeen Inspired is also supportive of the plan. Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce have made it publically know that they support the SIP for the reasons detailed below. It is based on a dialogue with other interests in the city, including the private sector, from the Visualisation Summit held in June and subsequent follow-up work. It represents a common view on priorities, rather than just the city council. The SIP uses an evidence-based approach. It has the right integrated priorities to start to make a change to the performance of the city (priorities supported by research conducted by your Chamber on your needs), which are stated as:

- a step change in the supply of housing - high quality digital connectivity at home and at work - better local transport - the skills and labour that Aberdeen needs to thrive - a better image for Aberdeen It is consistent with the ACSEF forward strategy for the region, suggesting joined-up thinking. It has some substance in terms of specific projects which have been stuck on the business wish-list for years, such as affordable housing, the third Don crossing, access from the south, a fund for city centre regeneration, cultural infrastructure, and improved access to the airport. Whilst Aberdeen Inspired are in support of the above, we are aware there remain issues which need to be addressed however we’re confident that, moving forward, these issues will be discussed and where appropriate the right decisions will be made. We have been invited to take part in both the City Centre Regeneration Board and the Working Party supporting the Board and we will be happy to represent your views within these bodies. We strongly believe that the plan is a very sound basis for moving forward and look forward to working with our partners inspiring growth in Aberdeen City Centre.

Wild Dolphins to make a splash in Aberdeen For 10 weeks next summer, the streets of Aberdeen will come alive with giant sculptures of dolphins. The sculptures will be designed and painted by local artists, creating an arts trail around the city and showcasing Aberdeen’s rich cultural offering. The project is led by WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation) and the ARCHIE Foundation working in partnership with Wild in Art the UK’s leader in the development, management and production of spectacular mass-appeal public art events. At the end of the 10 week trail the dolphin sculptures will be auctioned to raise funds for the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and to protect the local wild dolphins. If you are interested in sponsoring a dolphin sculpture and supporting an event which will attract both regional and national visitors to the city then please contact stinebang@whales.org or cassie@archiefoundation.org.uk


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