"I became Chair of Hull BID in September 2009, after having spent a number of years as a Board member. My key message to all businesses in the BID area is firstly to thank them for their contributions, both financially through the levy but perhaps more importantly through their efforts in supporting Hull as a city and the BID as an organisation. As part of all our efforts I’m keen that levy payers become more aware of where their money is being spent and the difference it makes, something that I want the BID to work hard at communicating.
As most levy payers will realise, the BID’s work centres around the priorities which businesses identified when the BID first started in 2006. They include increased safety and security, a cleaner city centre, more footfall and a better image for the city. The first point is arguably the most important and I was delighted to see that over the Christmas period, Hull BID was able to fund additional police and PCSO patrols in the city centre. Not only that, but in response to us putting our money where local businesses felt it best directed, the police were then prepared to match our contribution, thereby substantially raising the total amount spent on making our city safer.
The work we have done on the new radio system has been another example of partnership working to make people feel safer, liasing closely with CitySafe, Humberside Police, Hull City Council, the Hull City Retail Crime Partnership and local shops to make sure that the roll out of a single city wide radio system is as effective as possible.
Successfully eliminating graffiti from the city centre has been another project which BID levy payers have paid for. However, Martin is not just employed by the BID to remove graffiti reported to us, he also has a structured programme of street painting including bollards, posts and railings. Again, this is work which is not immediately apparent, but it all helps to create a better impression for visitors and is the type of work which wouldn’t ordinarily be done on a regular basis, perhaps even less so with the current squeeze on public funding.
Hull BID can only encourage increased footfall by providing the right conditions to attract people to the city, but what we can do is measure the flow of people through the centre via our 6 footfall counters. These provide figures which simply didn’t exist before the BID finances came along, but which now provide an invaluable tool for both measuring our work, and calculating how we fare compared to other cities. Business is tough on the high street throughout the UK, but I’m pleased to see from the figures that Hull has held up substantially better than many places across the country.
These are just a few aspects of the BID’s work which I wanted to touch on in my first column. I hope to return to others in further issues. In the meantime I hope that this introduction has given you a flavour of how I wish to approach my role as Chair and in particular to emphasise that it is your money as levy payers that can and does make a difference. If you want to get in touch with me directly about the BIDs work for our city, please contact me via the details below. Thank you for your attention."
Victoria Jackson MBE Chairman – Hull BID Victoria@hullbid.co.uk / 01482 324976.