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The newsletter of the Wolverhampton City Centre Company

City Centre Manager’s Kim Gilmour


It’s been an eventful summer for Wolverhampton City Centre Company with work on our Empty Shops Strategy becoming increasingly important, particularly after Wolverhampton was awarded a grant to help open up shops for community use. See inside for further details. Elsewhere we have been working with our partners in all sectors on marketing the city and its attractions including the ‘Capture the Moment’ campaign. Exciting developments include the opening of the Queen Square fountain which is proving very popular as a place to sit and watch the world go by and the first phase of the Interchange project which involves building a new bus station. And of course with Wolves now in the Premiership Wolverhampton is getting national and international profile - long may it continue!

See for further information on WCCC’s work.

Silver Gilt Award for City Blooms Wolverhampton won Silver Gilt award in the Heart of England in Bloom competition and also won the large city category for the first time. Hundreds of residents, school pupils and businesses backed the Floral City bid and the city centre played a big part in wowing the judges. Highlight of the tour was the recently refurbished Molineux hotel with its early Georgian and Victorian style garden, and the city’s West Park.

Campaign to Market the City Wolverhampton City Centre Company fronted a high profile marketing campaign to encourage people to make the most of the experiences and attractions on offer. Key players from across Wolverhampton worked together to devise and fund a marketing campaign valued at £10,000 to raise the City’s profile and get people to visit the city centre whether this be for shopping, live music, theatre, art or sport. The ‘Capture the Moment’ campaign was lead by WCCC working through its City Centre Marketing Partnership and included an airtime campaign on Beacon Radio, which devised the ‘Moments’ strap line, posters around the city centre and in empty shops and competitions. Kim Gilmour, City Centre Manager, said: “The thinking behind the ‘Capture the Moment’ campaign was to celebrate and promote all the amazing experiences you can have in Wolverhampton right now. The aim is to encourage visitors and remind local people that Wolverhampton is an accessible city centre with a wealth of attractions all within close proximity. “All the strategic partners are supporting the campaign and have contributed with funding or in kind contributions.” ‘Capture the Moment’ posters were produced with striking images chosen to convey that special moment from around the city such as celebrating at Wolves, shopping with friends, graduates celebrating at an awards ceremony, captivating films at Light House cinema, fun-loving crowds at the Civic Hall, the Grand Theatre’s fantastic range of productions and amazing displays at the Art Gallery.

Fresh & Jo of Beacon and Wolves player Chris Iwelumo at ‘Capture the Moment’ launch

Supported by:

Produced by:

First Eating Out Guide for Wolverhampton Wolverhampton City Centre Company is working with Wolverhampton City Council to produce a new comprehensive Eating Out Guide for Wolverhampton, celebrating the diversity and quality of restaurants, pubs, hotels and cafes. This official guide to eating out will be widely circulated to visitors, residents, concert and theatre goers. To encourage people to dine out, the guide will contain special offer vouchers. The guide will provide information about Wolverhampton, parking and an electronic format will be promoted to thousands of potential customers. The idea came from WCCC’s Wolverhampton Food and Drink group but is being extended across the city to ensure a wide representation of quality establishments. The guide should be published in December with a big push post Christmas to encourage people to use the vouchers.

‘Begging’, poster campaign

Tackling Begging in the City Centre Whilst Wolverhampton doesn’t have a huge problem with begging, a survey* recently carried out by the City Centre Company on a range of issues showed that 76% of respondents were concerned about the levels of begging in the city. In order to educate people to donate to recognised charities, WCCC undertook a poster campaign and worked with the police in informing members of the public. Kim Gilmour, City Centre Manager said: “Begging is an emotive issue as people often think they are supporting homeless people. But giving direct to people on the street may not be the best option when there are charities offering food, clothing and showering facilities open to a wide range of homeless, vulnerable or socially excluded people. “We are concerned people giving money could unwittingly encourage more beggars into the city centre acting as a deterrent to other visitors. “Our message is simple, if you want to donate, donate to a recognised charity that supports vulnerable people and our campaign includes information on what organisations provide local services.” * WCCC City Centre Health Check June 2009

Lock Works Café bar, Wolverhampton

Free Training for Retailers City of Wolverhampton College is helping local businesses beat the recession by offering free training to retailers. The college is working with City and Guilds to help sales staff gain their NVQ in Sales to increase their skills, boost profitability, improve customer retention and increase sales. The qualification is delivered in the workplace by industry specialists and looks at sales techniques, face to face sales, consumer needs, alternative selling strategies, window designs and the law. Training will be delivered by distance learning, observations and optional workshops for each topic area. Workforce Development Manager Karen Riley said: “City of Wolverhampton College has a leading role in supporting economic transformation, taking people across the skills divide and working collaboratively to achieve common goals with partners.” For more information contact City of Wolverhampton College on 01902 427448.

Light House Cinema, Wolverhampton

Independent Cinema Thrives in the City Centre As Wolverhampton’s only independent cinema for over 20 years, Light House screens the best Hollywood has to offer as well as independent and art-house releases, world cinema, classic and archive films. As the only cinema in the city centre it is the cosy and convenient alternative to the multiplex. At Light House you can treat yourself to a smoothie or a cocktail from the bar and take it into the auditorium with you! Light House offers an inexpensive treat for the whole family with tickets from only £3-£5 and Orange Wednesdays too. Light House also boasts two dedicated photography galleries, Lock Works café bar, which opens out into the glazed atrium of the historic Chubb Buildings, and a multitude of training courses for people of all ages in film, media and animation. Light House is located just a few minutes walk from the city’s bus and train stations. For further information contact Light House box office on 01902 716055, or visit:

Work on the £174 million project to create a new transport hub for Wolverhampton will start in November The Interchange is part of a major mixed use regeneration scheme between Wolverhampton City Council and Neptune Development Limited which will see a new bus station, offices, shops and retail space in the first phase. The second phase includes a new train station forecourt with parking above and the existing car park demolished. This will be complemented by a range of new offices, shops and café bar/restaurants, along with new hotels and a series of new squares and landscaped areas. The scheme will preserve the Grade II Listed Queen’s Building which will form the entrance gateway to the project, improve pedestrian access to the Canal and a new footbridge will be built over the ring road. Benefits to commuters and visitors alike will be a better public transport network with seamless transfers and the enhancement of a very important gateway into the city centre which will ultimately create around 2000 new jobs for Wolverhampton. The Interchange, Wolverhampton

Making the Most of Vacant Shops Empty shops have been causing a stir in the media and within government and property circles for some time. Wolverhampton City Centre Company has been actively working for months with property agents, owners and interested parties on finding alternative uses for empty shops. The situation was eased in late August when a grant was made available for just over £52,000 to the City Council by the Department of Communities and Local Government under the Empty Shops Initiative. Kim Gilmour, City Centre Manager said: “The funding has come at just the right time as there are around 100 empty units in the city centre, although a third are connected to the Summer Row development that still gives a vacancy rate slightly above the national average.”

WCCC has worked closely with the Mander and Wulfrun centres and encouraged them to use empty shops to display goods from other retailers and to collaborate with the University of Wolverhampton, Art Gallery and City of Wolverhampton College to showcase work of students and artists. “The DCLG funding should make it easier to initiate a number of key projects such as a contemporary art gallery; a retail unit for fashion students to sell their merchandise and a number of initiatives with the University of Wolverhampton. “We are also looking at putting graphics on some of the large units which we cannot access such as Woolworths, these will be used to promote the city centre attractions and encourage footfall,” said Kim Gilmour.

WCCC has developed a comprehensive database of both vacant units and interested parties along with a nine point Vacant Unit Strategy.

Students’ display in vacant shop

NEW RADIO SYSTEM TO IMPROVE CITY SAFETY SECURITY A new radio system for the City Centre was launched by Wolverhampton City Centre Company in partnership with M-R-S Communications Ltd, one of the largest independent suppliers of communications equipment in the UK The upgraded system offers improved transmission and coverage of the city centre to enable shops, pubs, transport operators and the local authority to communicate effectively. The CitySafe Scheme allows members to communicate by radio about anti social behaviour, shoplifting and counterfeit

money and movement of people during events and helps pubs and clubs communicate during the evening.

is exchanged between businesses, the police and the local authority to prevent and detect crime.

Phillip Wynne, Customers Services Manager with M-R-S Communications said: “We are very pleased to be working in partnership with WCCC, our system has proved effective in many cities in reducing crime and anti social behaviour and we aim to do the same in Wolverhampton.”

Debbie Norman, Manager of Wallis said: “It’s great to feel connected with other retailers and security guards and to work together to prevent store losses which ultimately affect our profitability. For lone workers it’s reassuring to know that we can communicate with other people at the touch of a button.”

In addition to the radio link, WCCC and M-R-S regularly hold training sessions and CitySafe PubWatch and ShopWatch meetings where information and advice

Kim Gilmour, Wallis’s Debbie Norman and Phil Wynne of M-R-S

Contact Lucy Bickley on 01902 551077 or visit: for further information on the CitySafe Scheme.

What’s Going On...

What’s New! Madame Clarke’s Coffee House - in King Street has changed hands whilst maintaining its traditional ambience; visit the website The Old Still - (formerly Carlton’s Caribbean Cuisine) also in King Street has reopened after a refurbishment as a stylish bar serving food. Catellani’s Italian Restaurant - is now open on School Street in the former Cataldo’s premises catering for the lunch time and evening trade Primo - a brand new concept bar/grill opening in School Street (formerly Pepito’s restaurant) see The Mander Centre - has several new shops including a ‘Virgin Media’ shop, ‘Seasons’ card shop and ‘Perfect Homes’; the lottery counter has also re-opened. The Central Bar - (former Seamus O’Donnell’s) has opened on Princess Street and offers food, drink and salsa nights! The Wulfrun Centre - has two new ladies clothing stores SizeWise and Studio - and a new pet shop ‘The Badger Sett’. The Coffee Bean - sandwich and coffee bar has opened on Broad Street which looks spectacular after an extensive building refurbishment. The Little Civic - has found a new home on the corner of Broad Street and Fryer Street, (formerly C4) this hugely popular venue reopens shortly catering for new bands and comedy. Queen Square Fountain - the unique water feature and seating area is proving very popular with people of all ages - certainly worth the wait!

Flip Animation Festival 2009 - at Light House 5th to 7th November very successful regional festival with talks from renowned animation studios Axis Animation and Arthur Cox and films submitted from budding animators. Further information via Art in the Centre Festival - in the Mander Centre from 24th31st October 2009 (half term week) featuring a number of exhibitions, installations and workshops including Foursight Theatre performing The Corner Shop, a play about shopkeepers and their customers. For further information see or contact 0870 320 700 to book tickets for The Corner Shop. It’s Christmas! - Well not quite, but look out for details of four events to bring people into the city. The Light Switch On and reindeer parade will take place on 25th of November from 5pm in Victoria Street. There will be a 10 day Christmas Market in Dudley Street launched by Santa and a Reindeer Parade on the Friday 11th December and a Monster Truck Charity Run with Santa and his helpers on Sunday 20th December from 10am in Queen Square. Further information on What’s On Where - The new issue covering council supported live music, film, theatre, art, workshops, family/outdoor events and sports from is now available via the Visitor Information Centre or Emma Cleary (01902 551069 or see Just a few of the Highlights... Art Gallery Exhibitions: Sleepless by Vered Lahav -10th October 2009 - 23rd January 2010 Pop by Jann Hanworth - 26th October 2009 - 10th April 2010 Simon Amstell - Grand Theatre 26th October Al Murray - Civic Hall 31st October Rain Man - Grand Theatre 2nd - 11th November Othello - Arena Theatre - 5th November Beverley Knight - Civic Hall 6th November Kes on stage - Grand Theatre 18th - 21st November Jimmy Carr - Civic Hall 27th & 28th November Cinderella - Grand Theatre 12th November 2009 - 31st January 2010 Alistair McGowan - Wulfrun Hall 13th December The Snow Queen - Arena Theatre 16th - 20th December Bootleg Blues Brothers and Bootleg Abba - 23rd December

Queen Square fountain at night

For further information contact: Wolverhampton City Centre Company Tel: 01902 551077 Kim



Email: or visit:

Wolverhampton City Centre Company is an independent, proactive organisation working strategically and operationally with partners to identify and address key issues to improve the marketing, environment, safety and economy of the City Centre. Through a Board, an Executive Group, Stakeholder Groups and our Associate Membership Scheme, WCCC works with a large number of private businesses representing the ‘Voice of the City Centre’. WCCC is funded by the public and private sector including Wolverhampton City Council and key organisations like the Mander and Wulfrun Centres, Sainsbury’s, Boots and the University of Wolverhampton.

design by:

Kim Gilmour, Lucy Bickley or Marianne Carter

WTTC - Autumn 2009  
WTTC - Autumn 2009  

Wolverhmapton City Centre Company - Winter 2008 Newsletter