Monthly update from the BID - March 2021


As we begin the move out of what we all hope will be the last lockdown, this is the first in a series of monthly online bulletins from Newport Now BID in which we'll update you on latest news, support and advice.

If you have any queries on any item in this month's bulletin, please do not hesitate to contact our manager, Kevin Ward, via email here.

With shops due to re-open from April 12, Welsh Government has produced an updated set of guidance for retailers. You can find it here.

We still have some Covid Safe equipment available free to BID levy payers. Still in stock are hand sanitiser, floor vinyls carrying safe distancing advice, and posters advising customers how to behave in your premises, and the steps you have taken to ensure your premises are Covid Safe. We are considering ordering more equipment, depending on demand from members. If you wish to receive equipment, please contact Kevin.

Our Street Ambassadors have been on furlough during lockdown. They will return to duty on Tuesday, April 13, initially 9am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday. When hospitality and the early evening economy re-opens, the Ambassadors will return to their usual work pattern of noon-8pm, seven days a week.

The BID offers grants to levy payers towards shopfront improvements. Our grants will pay up to 75% of work undertaken, to a maximum of £1,000 including VAT. Please email Kevin for more details and an application form.

Our levy bills for the 2021/22 financial year are being sent out this week. With your bill, you will find the following letter explaining how the BID spends your money:

As we enter the seventh year of your Business Improvement District, thank you for your continuing support as we work together to ensure the best possible post-Covid recovery for Newport city centre.

The BID was established in April 2015, following a ballot of eligible city centre businesses, to deliver a five-year business plan. In November 2019, we successfully balloted city centre businesses again for a second five-year term to 2025. The BID and its Board – all of whom either own or run city centre businesses – will be ensuring the business plan you helped develop and voted in favour of, is delivered in its entirety between now and 2025.

Board members for 2021-22 are: Zep Bellavia (Chair, Bellavia & Associates), Alan Edwards (Vacara’s), Tracy Stokes (Belle Femme), Jack Bannister (Breeze/Greyhound), Steve Corten (Pub Watch), Ian Lamsdale (Newport City Radio), Nicky Vignoli (The Newporters community group), Paul Scholefield (Wilkos), Catherine McNamara (Liverton Opticians), Robin Hall (Kymin), Dan Smith (M4 Property Consultants), Simon Pullen (Friars Walk), Richard Ellis (Ellis Llloyd Jones), Gavin Horton (Horton’s Coffee House) and Councillor Jane Mudd (Leader, Newport City Council). Management and PR services are provided by Kevin Ward Media Ltd with Street Ambassador services provided by Safestyle Security.

Remember the BID is a private, not-for-profit company funded by city centre businesses via a 1.25% levy based on rateable values.

From April 2020, the Newport Now BID area was extended to include Millennium Walk, Clarence Place, Rodney Parade, Mill Street, and parts of Clytha Park Road.

The 2020-21 period was the toughest in living memory for all businesses, including BIDs.

Our business plan was effectively abandoned before the financial year began as the first national Covid-19 lockdown was imposed.

Throughout the last 12 months, we have concentrated on providing support and advice to BID members via our website, social media, e-bulletins, and video and phone calls.

This work has included:

  • Setting up an online Covid-19 help and advice service
  • Running online business clinics for members
  • Providing regular advice to members via video or phone on issues such as Covid grants
  • Procuring and distributing PPE and Covid-safe equipment to independent members, including hand sanitiser, face visors, screen guards, posters, and floor vinyls
  • Promoting the #shopsafenewport campaign with a series of videos showcasing independent businesses and the measures they had taken to make their premises Covid-safe
  • Producing the Countdown to Christmas lights switch-on event virtually, via a Facebook Live broadcast
  • Increasing investment into the Shopfront Improvement Grant
  • Lobbying local and central government on behalf of our members
  • Regular media appearances representing the views of city centre businesses

Each year we are required to report on four headline items:

  1. Revenue from BID Levy due to be received in 2021-22 is £210,000, plus an additional £60,000 carried forward from 2020-21.
  2. Of this, it is forecast that £250,000 will be expended up to the end of the 2021-22 financial year, leaving a rolling reserve of £20,000.
  3. The BID Levy is spent across three key themes as set out in the Newport Now business plan for 2020-25. Future Newport (delivering ‘digital high street’ projects and business support such as collective purchasing of energy and telecoms and the city centre gift card), Safe and Secure Newport (a visible & reassuring presence on the street with our Street Ambassadors and working closely with the local police force, as well as free membership of the Newport Against Business Crime Partnership for all Levy payers and the purchase of additional radios for partners), Welcome to Newport (delivering a programme of city centre events and marketing). Spend on the three key themes accounts for 80% of Levy income with the remainder spent on core costs (management, office rental etc).
  4. The 2021-22 programme will see the BID deliver or fund a variety of services within our themes, all aimed at aiding the city centre’s post-Covid recovery, including:
  • Shop Front Improvement Grant
  • Continuing to provide online support and advice for all BID members while Covid restrictions remain in place, including the further provision of free Covid-safe and PPE equipment to independent levy payers
  • A return to our events programme, when Covid restrictions allow
  • Proactive marketing campaigns, such as last year’s #shopsafenewport
  • Christmas lights switch-on event
  • Relauching the Newport Now Gift Card
  • Ensuring the voice of Levy payers is heard on city centre issues at local and national level
  • Working with partners to reduce the number of empty retail units in the city centre

Our programme helps to create a city centre that is safer, more attractive, and well promoted. The BID is a private company financed by its members – local businesses improving our city centre.