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In Contact Summer/Autumn 2015

Street Ambassadors debut in Croydon A warm welcome, friendly smile and helpful assistance on all that Croydon town centre has to offer now awaits those coming into Croydon, after our new team of roving ambassadors hit Croydon’s streets for the first time in September. Easy to spot in their highly distinctive, pink ‘I’m here to help you’ uniforms, Nilupa, Josh and Michael are part of a new on-street concierge service that Croydon BID has introduced, in anticipation of a rise in demand for information and way-finding guidance from visitors and businesses, as full-scale re-development of the town centre gets under way. The trio is being deployed nine hours a day, five days a week, from Tuesday to Saturday, with the primary aim of meeting, greeting and assisting those in the town centre, as well as helping to promote events, what’s on and what’s available in the town and all that it has to offer. Working alongside the BID’s team of five, they will also play a crucial role in supporting the day-to-day operational needs of local businesses, ensuring that cleanliness and safety issues are rapidly addressed to maintain the town’s appearance and appeal. The street concierge service is being delivered in conjunction with visitor welcome and street management service provider, the Welcome People, which provides similar services in 13 towns and cities across the country and recently gained a Silver Award from Visit England in the ‘Visitor Information Provider of the Year’ category. “Croydon town centre is, without doubt, an extremely exciting place to

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Photograph courtesy of the Croydon Advertiser

be at present,” said Croydon BID chief executive Matthew Sims. “An enormous amount of change is already taking place here, as evidenced by the number of cranes that are plainly visible on the skyline and the pace of change is sure to accelerate, once further regeneration gets under way, including Westfield and Hammerson’s £1bn plans for re-developing the town’s two main shopping centres. “Improving accessibility and wayfinding around Croydon town centre has always been one of the BID’s main priorities,” Mr Sims added. “As transformation of the town centre continues, we fully expect the demand from businesses, visitors and employees for up-to-date information and advice

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on getting around the town to be greater than ever and our Street Ambassadors will play a vital role in meeting that demand as well as ensuring Croydon is regarded as a friendly, welcoming place to be with lots going on and exciting developments taking place.” Welcome People founder, David Miller added: “We’re thrilled to be working with Croydon BID during what is undoubtedly a highly significant time both for the BID and for Croydon and its re-development. “We pride ourselves on providing a dependable, welcoming and knowledgeable information service that is widely appreciated by visitors and businesses in all of the towns and cities in which we operate. The fact that the on-street team is also able to act as

the ‘eyes and ears’ of the local business community, means that any serious cleansing or security issues can be quickly identified and dealt with, so that standards in the town are maintained and its reputation is enhanced.” Councillor Tony Newman, leader of Croydon Council, said: “With so much happening in Croydon today and in the near future, the street ambassadors are a welcome addition to the town centre. “They will play an important role in promoting Croydon and all the exciting things the town has to offer. More and more people are now visiting Croydon, London’s regeneration borough, and the street ambassadors will help make their stay all the more pleasant and enjoyable.”

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Big star, new lights! Top TV entertainer and game show host, Stephen Mulhern will be kickstarting the Christmas celebrations here in Croydon on Thursday, November 12th when he switches on our brand spanking new town centre festive lighting scheme for 2015. The popular ‘Catchphrase’ and ‘Big Stars Little Stars’ presenter, who is starring as Buttons in this year’s Fairfield Halls’ pantomime, Cinderella, will help to whip up a party atmosphere among the crowds, ahead of the lights switch-on. This is the ninth consecutive year in which the BID has funded Christmas

lights along the town’s main thoroughfares and this year’s display is part of a two year agreement drawn up between the BID and its new lighting supplier, The Festive Lighting Company. “Our Christmas lights switch-on ceremony has definitely become one of Croydon’s ‘must see’ events, with thousands of people turning out each year to join in the fun and

enjoy the afternoon’s entertainment,” said Croydon BID’s interim head of operations, Shaun Webster. “Lighting up the streets over Christmas is definitely not without its challenges, however, due to the current limitations of the existing street lighting infrastructure which is in the process of being improved by the Council and its contractors, Skanska.

“That said, we are confident that this year’s scheme will introduce a fresh, innovative and imaginative approach to lighting up the town centre helping to spread a bit of extra magic and festive cheer this Christmas.” Full details of the switch-on event will be announced shortly. Visit www.croydonbid.com to find out more.

Urban arts bus strikes a chord Scores of local youngsters got a chance to test out their music production and MCing skills at the start of September, when the London Urban Arts Experience Bus came to town for two days, courtesy of Croydon BID. music, DJing and rapping using eight Apple Mac workstations equipped with the latest media software.

Part of our Street LIVE! entertainment programme for 2015-2016, the converted single decker bus gave the 11 to 18 years old an opportunity to try their hand at producing and recording

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For those more inclined towards a bit of fancy footwork, street dance classes were also staged throughout each day enabling budding dancers to develop a series of routines which they had a chance to showcase at the end of the afternoon. The Urban Arts Experience Bus is an

initiative of the London Urban Arts Academy, which aims to inspire and empower young people by building their confidence through all art forms including music production, rap and vocal recording. Founder Kerry O’Brien commented: “The London Urban Arts team has a wealth of experience in the arts, media and youth sectors and we are all passionate about delivering cutting edge projects and services that ensure young people are given

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the opportunity to realise their full potential through music and arts.” Matthew Sims, Croydon BID chief executive added: “Through our Street LIVE! Entertainment programme, we strive to bring something new and a little bit different that helps to create a great atmosphere and feel good factor in the town and judging by the broad smiles on everyone’s faces, the Urban Arts bus was definitely a hit with both visitors and participants alike.”

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Help create a pocket park in Croydon Croydon BID is urging businesses to get behind its mission to transform a drab but well-used small public area in the town centre into a vibrant, green oasis of calm which everyone can enjoy and be proud of. Ahead of the eventual roll-out of the Council’s Fair Field Masterplan, the BID has joined forces with property developers Freshwater, in an effort to introduce some ‘quick win’ improvements to the appearance of College Square – the small piece of land between George Street and the entrance to Croydon College – in order to make the area more inviting and open up its use for arts and entertainment. Located just a few minutes’ walk from East Croydon station and on a major route into the town centre, the area is in desperate need of some tender loving care and that’s where Croydon BID and Freshwater are hoping to make a difference, with help from other businesses and members of the public.

Between them, the two organisations have pledged a total of £55,000 of funds towards improving the area. Freshwater’s commitment is part of a larger project to upgrade buildings in its ownership within Croydon, starting with 96 George Street which will provide refurbished or redeveloped high quality offices and an improved environment. Now, via the Spacehive crowd funding platform, the BID is appealing for further pledges of support from other local businesses, employees and members of the public in an effort to reach the target of £77,647 that is required to make the project happen. The plan is to de-clutter the space and remove outdated benches, planters and dead trees and replace them with new seating, planters

and lighting that incorporates a high quality theme, reflecting the changes taking place elsewhere as part of the Council’s Connected Croydon programme. “This is a highly frequented area, close to one of the principal gateways into the town but it’s well overdue for a makeover,” said Croydon BID chief executive Matthew Sims. “We are already talking to a number of organisations about pledging their support for the project. Through our joint efforts, we’re hoping that we can radically transform the area and create a lasting legacy.” Once the area’s up and running, the BID has pledged to maintain the planted areas with assistance from students at the College and it’s hoped

Coming soon! Check Out Croydon, our exciting, new, interactive website will be launching in October, bringing you the latest news and information on what’s on, where to go and getting around the bustling heart of Croydon, as well as details of some of the fantastic offers and promotions that are available – all at the click of a button. Featuring the town centre’s best known businesses and many that may not be quite so familiar, www.checkoutcroydon.com aims to provide a comprehensive and easyto-navigate guide around the centre of south London’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan destination, enabling everyone to find and locate, precisely what they need for a great time out, day or night. Whether it’s for shopping, eating and drinking, socialising, keeping fit,

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hair and beauty treatments, planning a holiday or having a relaxing night out at the theatre or cinema, www.checkoutcroydon.com aims to have it covered. There are even listings for many of the day-to-day and more essential aspects of every-day life such as banking, insurance, legal and public services. “With its impressive range of shops, iconic buildings, buzzing nightlife, thriving restaurant quarter and cultural gems that offer the best

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in music, comedy, film and theatre, Croydon town centre is packed with an endless array of things to do,” said BID chief executive, Matthew Sims. “We believe our new website provides an ideal platform from which to showcase in one place, everything that the town centre has to offer and with our 600 levypaying businesses as a starting point, it’s a great base from which to begin building a comprehensive directory of free listings for town centre

that the area can be brought to life through the abundance of local talent available, delivering music, markets and art. “Freshwater is a major investor in Croydon, with significant real estate including that adjoining College Square,” said Vanessa Clark of managing agents Sinclair Clark. “The company is in the process of carrying out significant improvements to its buildings and as part of that, has set aside funds to improve the immediate environment, including College Square and we are very happy to be collaborating with Croydon BID on this.” Find out how you can get involved by visiting: https://spacehive.com/ CroydonCollegeSquare

Make sure your business or event features If you’re a town centre business and would like to make sure your business is listed for free or maybe you have some news to share about an event you’re planning, we’d love to hear from you. Contact gill.murphy@croydonbid.com

businesses, events and offers. “The site has been months in the planning and has involved a lot of hard work by our marketing team, design consultancy and website developer, but we’re really pleased with the results and have high expectations that it will become the ‘go to’ place for anyone wanting information about what’s happening in Croydon town centre.” he concluded.

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Croydon makes news over ‘chuggers’ Croydon hit the national news headlines over the summer, after Croydon BID signed up to a landmark agreement, making it the 100th location across the country to manage the number of ‘chuggers’ in the town centre. The initiative to limit the amount of direct debit fund raising undertaken, captured the attention of press and broadcast journalists nationwide and resulted in front page headlines in the Daily Telegraph as well as coverage in the Daily Mail, Daily Express, London Evening Standard and on LBC, to name just a few. A site management agreement drawn up between the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) and Croydon BID, now limits ‘chuggers’

operating in the town centre to three days each week, within two carefully controlled zones in North End and with a maximum of five fundraisers in total on any one day. “News of our agreement seemed to definitely resonate with the media and the general public many of whom expressed concern via social media about this type of fund raising,” said Croydon BID chief executive Matthew Sims. “Research previously undertaken on our behalf, showed that 59% of consumers felt the issue of charity collectors out on the street required

improving in the town centre. Similarly, businesses identified this as a priority area for improving,” he added. The aim of the agreement is to maintain a sensible balance over the amount of direct debit fund raising that can be carried out in the town centre, while at the same time ensuring the public is able to go about its daily business without feeling pressured or being unduly inconvenienced. Peter Hills-Jones, PFRA chief executive said: “We are delighted that Croydon’s Business Improvement District has signed this Site Management Agreement (SMA) with the PFRA. “It is an effective and balanced way of regulating fundraising on the High Street, allowing charities to raise money for good causes, but at the same time protecting the public.

Peter Hills-Jones (left) PFRA chief executive and Matthew Sims, chief executive, Croydon BID

People complain that they often feel confronted when they are out shopping and agreements such as this ensure that fundraisers are sensitive to this in terms of where they position themselves and the number of days and people involved in fundraising. “The agreement with Croydon is a major milestone for the PFRA, being the 100th that we have put in place and we’re confident that initiatives such as this will help ensure our public spaces are regarded as more welcoming, comfortable places by all who use them.”

Policing in Croydon and the London context Tarrant, both of whom outlined the achievements being made in improving safety and security, as well as identifying some of the issues of on-going concern.

Nearly 50 business leaders were given an insight into policing in the town centre and the wider London context at a special stakeholder event held in the summer. The meeting was addressed by Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime and Croydon’s Police Borough Commander, Andy

Mr Greenhalgh indicated that although crime is going down across London, confidence in the police is broadly flat. “We are winning on crime issues but there is more work to be done on public confidence,” he said.

security in the areas in which they operate in order to ensure a thriving and prosperous economy and praised Croydon BID’s work in funding additional police and working in partnership with key stakeholders, to bring about change.

Gangs and knife crime, terrorism and on-line crime are amongst the key concerns for the future, he believed and there was more work to be done in these areas.

Illustrating the need to improve people’s confidence in the police and improve perceptions of crime in the area, Borough Commander Andy Tarrant gave several examples of where crime – particularly robberies, shoplifting and serious assaults - had fallen significantly in the previous three months.

He felt it was important for businesses to feel confident about safety and

“It may be hard for people to believe but compared to Kingston, under

certain measures, our town centre is a lot safer,” he said. It was important for the local economy to ensure the town is regarded as a safe place to be, he believed and to achieve that he had worked hard with the BID to ensure that a town team of ten police officers was maintained to provide the town centre with the best possible service. “We have a great relationship with the BID,” said Mr Tarrant. “Not just from an additional funding perspective but also because of the opportunities it gives us to come and talk to the business community and keep them updated on what we are doing.”

About Croydon BID Our aim is to ensure that Croydon increasingly is regarded as one of the best places in south London to visit, work, live and do business by delivering positive change and improvements to the Town Centre that enhance its competitive position. We represent the interests of around 600 businesses and our projects and services directly reflect their expressed, up-to-date priorities, namely: that the town should be made safer, cleaner, better promoted, more attractive and more accessible. We are funded through a mandatory 1% levy collected from all businesses in the area with a rateable value of £40,000 or more. As a result, since the BID was first formed in 2007, in excess of £10 million of extra investment has been made on improving the Town Centre.

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Bid in contact summer 2015 email version  

In Contact Summer/Autumn 2015

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