Aireville Park Children’s Play Area

The creation of a new children’s playground in Aireville Park is about to begin – with the first phase due to open by Christmas.

Work is getting underway from October 8, when contractors will start landscaping the area of the park between the zip wire and the bandstand, in preparation for the new equipment to be installed.

Craven District Council and the Friends of Aireville Park have raised a total of £160,000 so far, with generous grants and donations from a range of organisations, businesses and individuals.

Fiona Protheroe, chairperson of Friends of Aireville Park, said: “We’re so excited that work is starting on this fantastic new playground which we’ve been working towards for so long.

“We’re so grateful to all those who have supported and sponsored our fundraising campaign and we can’t wait to see our dream become reality.”

Councillor Linda Brockbank, Craven District Council’s lead member for Resilient Communities, said: “We’ve been working hard with Friends of Aireville Park to get the funding in place and I’m delighted to see the work is about to begin.

“Together with the Friends of Aireville Park we have already made huge improvements to the park over the last few years, with a new skate park, pump track and zip wire which are all extremely popular. This new play area will transform the park even further and create a wonderful place for families to visit for many years to come.”

Skipton BID have given a grant of £7,500 to the playground, which will pay for a “Wobbly Sheep” play sculpture and musical play equipment.

Geraldine Thompson, Skipton BID manager, said: “This is a brilliant project which will benefit residents of Skipton and beyond, and attract more visitors to the area. We’re very happy to support the new playground and hope to see it filled with families enjoying themselves very soon.”

Walk For Jodie, set up in memory of Jodie Willsher, has raised almost £5,000, which will pay for the playground sandpit and a bench.

Fi Jenkinson, who organised and took part in a Yorkshire Three Peaks walk, alongside members of Jodie’s family and friends, said: “We’re really pleased to have raised so much, to provide a lasting memorial to Jodie. We’d like to say thank you to all the businesses and people who have sponsored us and made donations for our fundraising raffle – everyone has been so generous.”

The first phase of the playground will also feature equipment including a toddler climbing frame, swings, a turntable roundabout, a climbing tower, a sandpit, a climbing castle, rope bridges and climbing nets, a den-building area, basket swing, dragonfly and butterfly play sculptures and a log trail.

A second phase, which will follow when the council receives around £60,000 from planning gain, will include a larger climbing frame and a multi-play unit, a spinning swing, scramble nets and more play sculptures.

While work is taking place the main path in the park will be closed from the bandstand up to the bollards at the top of the path. An alternative access through to Skipton Academy and Craven College will be available via the steps or the ramp down to the Craven Leisure car park. Skipton parkrun will be able to take place as normal.

The council has contributed capital funding of £15,810 to the project, along with £52,791 of planning gain, with a further £62,500 of planning gain which will go towards Phase Two of the project.

A zip wire has already been installed at the top end of the park, paid for with £12,000 from Tesco Bags of Help. The Tesco scheme has also given another £4,000 grant to provide a wooden tractor in the play area.

Yorventure gave a grant of £48,700 to the project, and several local businesses and members of the community have also been sponsoring or making donations towards the new play area, including local companies Holt Doctors Ltd, J N Bentley, Mewies Solicitors, Peter Watson Ltd and Skipton Self Drive Hire, Keelham Farm Shop and Walker Foster Solicitors.

Nick Rickerby, director of RKB Electrical Ltd, has just made a donation of £500 and Skipton Craven Rotary have donated £813, both to pay for benches in the area.

Skipton Ukulele Club have also been fundraising for the Friends of Aireville Park and have raised almost £1,000 for the scheme.

Businesses and residents can still sponsor a bench, donate a tree for a loved one, or fund a piece of play equipment.

Businesses can also choose to have a plaque or memorial tree charm and business logos on the sponsors’ board as a permanent recognition of the support.

Full details are on Craven District Council’s dedicated webpage for the park playground project: Aireville Park Play and on the Friends of Aireville Park website.

Please email Bruce Dinsmore (bdinsmore@cravendc.gov.uk) to enquire about either donating or sponsoring the scheme.

How to Sell Online

A Guide to Turning your High Street Store into a Multi-Channel Business

Blog by Dan Whytock

 

Being a bricks and mortar retailer is tough. With almost six thousand UK high street shops closing last year and online retail sales souring, it can feel like you’re fighting a losing battle when it comes to saving the high street.

But, with more consumers than ever before choosing to browse and shop online, high-street-only retailers are missing a trick by not merging their businesses with the online world. As the saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them.”

Consumers nowadays want a quick, easy and hassle-free shopping experience at their own convenience, so a visit to the high street often just isn’t worth it for them.

To combat the high street blues, many independent retailers across the UK are now opting to list their businesses through online marketplaces, opening themselves up to a whole new customer base and more income.

If you’re an independent retailer looking to start selling online, but have no idea how to start an online business, this easy guide will help you to get started.

From finding the right online selling site to learning how to market your business, you’ll soon be able to transition from a in-store-only retailer to a multi-channel retailer.

Benefits of selling online

There are many reasons why independent high-street retailers choose not to sell their products online; whether it be down to lack of time, lack of understanding or simply not knowing where to start. There are lots of benefits to selling both online and in-store, not to mention the fact it’s what your customers want – and, whether you like it or not, the customer is always right.

Available to a wider range of customers

Becoming part of an online marketplace will instantly open your business up to thousands of new customers. Selling products online means you are now no longer just a local business owner, you are a nationwide seller. You could have hundreds of people visiting your online shop at any one time – lots more than you’d be able to fit in your physical shop!

With the added bonus that people can shop online when they want, your business will no longer just be a 9-5 store, but a 24 hour store, attracting people that perhaps can’t get to the high street during normal opening times.

Customers can browse before going in-store

As a retailer, you will be more than aware of the term ‘window-shopping’. Customers love to browse before they buy, see what else is out there and then purchase. The physical art of browsing the high street is time consuming and can be disappointing for customers if they don’t find the item they are looking for – especially if they feel they have wasted time that could have been better spent elsewhere.

By showcasing your products online, you allow customers the option to browse online in their own free time – something individuals tend not to have too much of these days. If customers find something they like, they can then either buy online with ease, or opt to purchase in-store from your physical shop.

Customers can shop when they want

Once again, shopping all comes down to time – finishing work at 5pm and trying to get to the shop before it closes, rushing to the high street on a lunch break with very little time to spare, or making time in a busy weekend to visit the high street. We are all a lot busier, working often unsociable hours with endless life admin and we simply don’t have time to shop.

Providing customers with the option to shop your independent high street store online, at whatever time of the day or night that suits them, is something that will help you to compete with the bigger e-tailers. Lots of people prefer to shop local, but convenience means they go to bigger stores.

Increase turnover

As expected, having an online presence is a great way to increase your turnover – opening yourself up to more customers opens yourself up to more transactions, more money and, ultimately, more revenue. Online marketplace convert, Antony Derdak, found that since going online, his Merchant Menswear shop increased in turnover by 10 percent each month. Within minimal time and effort, being a part of an online marketplace makes it that easy to increase turnover.

Transitioning to Online

For independent retailers that depend on their bricks and mortar store as their only source of income, it can be hard to make the transition to selling online as a multi-channel retailer. Afterall, internet shopping is the main reason for the decrease in footfall across high street businesses. However, it looks as though online shopping is here to stay, so to make the best out of your independent store and keep the high street alive, we need to integrate the two.

As mentioned earlier in this guide to going online, there are lots of benefits to starting your online business, but there are also few things you’ll need to bear in mind to get the best out of your online store…

Finding the right online selling site

Finding the right online selling platform for your business niche is paramount to success. Most marketplaces are relatively inexpensive and very easy to use, meaning even the least tech-savvy of shop owners can benefit from an effortless user experience.

Here are three popular online shopping marketplaces you can expect find online:

Shopify

Shopify is an eCommerce platform targeted at all types of retailers, no matter how big or small. Pricing plans start at $29 a month, plus credit card fees. The platform is extremely easy to use with a drag and drop store builder allowing retailers to personalise their webpage. A brilliant business hub, Shopify also allows retailers to integrate products within their own blogs and has the option to connect your Shopify account to other online marketplaces.

With Shopify, you can take a look at the analytics of your online store, with information on sales, orders and audience to help you tailor your products and marketing. Alongside this, the platform offers an electronic point of sale app which connects your website to any in-store sales. This is a brilliant way to align online and offline sales, giving you a complete overview of your sales and stock levels and gain consumer details.

Amazon Marketplace

Another popular online selling platform is Amazon Marketplace. Available to independent retailers, Amazon Marketplace Pro costs £25 a month and allows sellers to list products either in all EU marketplaces or within the UK only. It’s a great option for retailers who are just starting out online, as there is no website creation or design involved – you simply upload your products and start selling. One of the benefits of Amazon Marketplace is their ‘Fulfillment by Amazon’ option. This sees retailers sending their products to Amazon’s fulfilment centre and Amazon taking charge of the packaging, delivery, returns and customer service. With this feature, you have the chance to earn Amazon’s ‘Prime’ and ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ badges, making your products seem much more legitimate and opening yourself up to the platform’s most loyal of customers.

Down Your High Street

Down Your High Street is a free-to-join online marketplace for independent UK retailers with physical high street stores. A brilliant way to showcase products online, Down Your High Street does not charge a joining fee or membership fee, but charges a 5% commission fee on all sales accrued through the platform.

To maximise your online selling potential, you can even integrate your Shopify store within your DYHS page. With a hands-on team ready to help you get started and selling online as soon as possible, Down Your High Street Caters for all types of retailers – from those with no online presence to those with transactional websites.

Imagery is key

When shopping online, customers don’t have the luxury of seeing, holding or trying on the physical product. This means that the imagery you use to sell your products is extremely important. With clothing products, shoppers like to see how the item fits a model, and with furniture products, customers like to see a 360 view.

To increase the number of product clicks and amount of transactions, you must invest in great photography. It’s easy to take great quality pictures these days, all you need is the right equipment.

With most smartphones boasting high definition cameras nowadays, you can easily use your phone to take photographs. Alternatively, if you’re a little more tech-savvy you may want to purchase a quality DSLR camera. You can even invest in a portable photography studio kit or backdrop to make your images look even more professional.

However, if you don’t feel confident taking your own photos, hire a professional – it’s literally their job to make your products look fantastic. The better the imagery, the more customers your products will attract and the more like you are to sell them.

Marketing your online business

Now that you’ve got an idea of how to start selling online, you’ll need to learn how to begin marketing your new online business. There are many ways to advertise your business online, whether it be through a social media page, social media ads, Google ad campaigns or even Amazon ads.

Social Media

With 78% of online purchases influenced by social media, creating a few social profiles for your business is a no-brainer. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the main social media sites used by businesses today. Each of these platforms allows you to create a business account, view insights and demographics and create promoted posts (paid for ad campaigns).

Google Adwords

A quick way to get your business page listed in Google search results is to create a search ad campaign with Google Adwords. All you need to do is write your ad – this can be as simple as a business bio and link to your website – select a list of keywords that your target audience might search for in Google when looking for a retail business like yours, then set a daily budget. Google ads are pay per click, which means you will only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Keywords cost different amounts per click depending on their popularity, so it’s a good practice to choose a range of keywords so you can target a variety of consumers. 

If you are completely new to the world of online marketing, it is best to hire a professional to run your Adwords account – this will ensure your budget is spent in the correct way with maximum return on investment.

Create a Blog

Another great way to market your business is to create a blog. On your blog, you should write articles that target your ideal customers – whether this be about your business, about your retail sector or newsworthy articles based on current affairs in your industry. By providing your target audience with inspirational and educational content, you are presenting yourself as an expert in the field. Add links to your eCommerce to allow readers the option to shop with you.

In conclusion

Now that you’ve gained an insight into the benefits of selling online, you should be a little more clued up on how to merge your high street business with the online world.

Should you have found the suggestions in this article helpful, please feel free to refer back to the post as much as you need. You may also find it useful to continue carrying out your own research; with so many different online marketplaces and ways to advertise your high street business, it’s always best to do plenty of research before going ahead with a decision. After all, every business is different.

The UK high street is a part of our heritage and the rise in online shopping doesn’t have to be the downfall of it. Let’s instead continue to merge the high street with the online world, allowing online consumers to shop local and keep independent retailers in business.

For more information, tips and advice for independent retailers, the following organisations may be of interest:

Save The High Street

The Great British High Street

BIRA

Skipton BID addendum to the Blog

ShopAppy

ShopAppy encourages people to shop local in person and shop local online. It is an app and website available for local shops and services and works as a collective online shop window for every town. It is designed to drive footfall to your businesses and town centres and enables customers to order from their local businesses online with click and collect after hours. Click and collect is growing in popularity and has the advantage of bringing people into places, rather than staying at home. It also means people can order fresh food as well as gifts and services all in one place, with one single checkout and a choice of collection options including same day.

For businesses with their own websites, the platform can integrate enabling people to bulk upload their items. Later this month, ShopAppy will also enable people to book tables, appointments and events easily through the app.

The vision is to revitalise town centres and markets, using online to influence real visits and enabling local businesses to build sustainable customer bases. As well as the online convenience, ShopAppy provides an active shop local campaign, eshots to customers and advertising to drive more custom. It also provides support for businesses new to online. The cost ranges from £3 – £5 a week with no commission on sales. Less than 80p a day to not only be online but to be part of a movement promoting the importance of supporting local businesses, as one trader association put it “It’s a no brainer”.

Working towards a safer Skipton

There is no doubt that Skipton is not only one of the happiest places to live in the UK, it’s one of the safest too.

But like anywhere, unfortunately, crime does rear its ugly head from time to time.

The recent large-scale theft of a number of phones from a town centre shop is a reminder that offenders do operate in the town.

Sometimes they are locals, but more often then not, shops are targeted by crooks from out of town who see them as an easy target.

Whether it is shoplifting, passing fake currency, vandalism, or yobbish anti-social behaviour, there’s no reason why businesses or members of the public should have to put up with it.

That’s why the Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership financed and managed by Skipton BID is vital to business well-being.

And that’s why the addition of CCTV cameras, again funded by the BID, are so important in strengthening that well-being.

The Partnership provides radios and updates the mobile phone app allowing businesses across the town to stay in touch with each other and to be made aware of banned lists, mugshots, suspicious activity, offenders profiles, news, alerts, documents, upcoming events and ID-sought images.

Many retailers say it has made a huge difference to their losses to crime, and the police are fully behind the initiative.

What’s more, it doesn’t cost businesses a penny extra – it is all provided by the BID.

Just as the new cameras have been funded to the tune of £50,000 by the BID.

They will act as a deterrent to would be thieves, help catch those responsible for crimes, and aid in other police emergencies such as lost children or reports of suspicious behaviour.

CCTV cameras play a vital role in combating crime on our streets – unfortunately, local authorities cannot always provide them.

Without the BID, there would be no Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership and the CCTV cameras would not be returning.

And that would be a huge loss for the town and the businesses that operate there.

Remember that acting together, we are stronger, and vote YES to Skipton BID.

We always knew Skipton was “Best Bar None”

What is Best Bar None?

Best Bar None is an accreditation scheme with national awards supported by the Home Office and the drinks industry, which is aimed at promoting the responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises. In a nutshell Best Bar None is a national initiative aimed at raising the bar – quite literally!

Successful accreditation is a standard of excellence which is proven to have a significant impact on crime and anti-social behaviour, a fantastic outcome for staff and customers alike!

The great news is that Skipton BID believes that the more Best Bar None accredited premises there are in Skipton the better. Over the last 2 years it has set aside funds to support town businesses who would like to achieve this standard of excellence.

To date three Skipton licensed premises have been accredited Best Bar None status: The Venue Sports & Music Bar, VSQ Gin Bar and The Albion Pub.

Here’s what Steven Freakes (owner manager) and Leah Pompey (event manager) of The Venue Sports & Music Bar have to say about the scheme:

Steven:

“For us the Best Bar None scheme has effectively professionalised us and brought us into line with the way larger organisations conduct their businesses. It has certainly promoted and developed good practice. In a lot of areas we were already doing the right thing, we just needed to formalise procedures with a policy or a written record. It has been reassuring to find out that we were looking after our staff and customers correctly, there were just some areas that needed firming up a bit more.

For example, we’ve always had an accident book, but as a result of becoming accredited we now record all minor incidents in it too. This has actually helped the police identify individuals who, although just a nuisance whilst drinking here with us, have gone on to become involved in something more serious. Keeping accurate paper and CCTV records of smaller incidents like this has helped us foster better relations with the police and licensing bodies.

I was a little sceptical at first, but now I can say that it’s been a good thing for our business and its also good for Skipton, which is why we are carrying on and are currently working towards our second accreditation.”

Leah:

“We now have signage in all the toilets for organisations that people might need, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Domestic Violence Services, Talk to Frank and Ask for Angela. If anyone now came to the bar and said ‘Can I speak to Angela’ all of our staff would recognise this as meaning, “Please help me, I am in an uncomfortable situation. They would also know what to do to help to resolve that situation, such as getting the individual a taxi or taking them aside to a safe location.

I’ve learnt a lot about sexual exploitation which has been really eye opening for me. Knowing how to spot the signs, how to deal with it appropriately and also what organisations are out there which can help, has been a huge benefit.”

For more information about Best Bar None please visit: bbnuk.com

As a result of The Venue Sports & Music Bar’s continued efforts in the Best Bar None accreditation scheme they were awarded the Skipton BID sponsored Best Bar None Award at the Skipton Business Awards 2018 in March.

If you would you like to find out more about how your business could work towards becoming Best Bar None accredited, email info@skiptonbid.com or call 01756 799033

Simply Irresistible Skipton …and there’s more

Another great day filming with Mark from Catapult Films. #SimplyIrresistibleSkipton via You Tube and Social Media!

This short video showcases some of the health, beauty and wellbeing businesses which Skipton has to offer.  Taking care of you inside and out!

If you missed our first two films, just click on this link to view them Simply Irresistible Skipton

#YES2Skipton BID

Counting the Value of Sheep Day

photo by Judy Probst

As part of our commitment to making Skipton a fabulous place to live, work and visit, we fund several crowd-pleasing family friendly festivals and events such as the Waterway Festival, the International Puppet Festival, the Christmas Markets and Sheep Day.

Sheep Day, now in its 23rd year, was hosted on Sunday July 1, and once again attracted thousands of people into Skipton town centre.

In a glorious celebration of Skipton’s ‘sheep town’ heritage, Sheep Day has at its core the famous ‘sheep show’ – a showcase of different sheep breeds, the art of sheep shearing and even sheep dancing! Plus with dozens of stalls, alpacas to stroke and sheep dogs marshalling ducks and geese, it is hardly surprising that this fun, quirky day out has been voted one of the top five events in the UK by customers of National Express.

Here’s what two Skipton businesses had to say about Sheep Day:

Maria Birkett, owner of Eshoes, High Street

Skipton events always encourage new people to visit the town. We see so many new faces coming into the shop, both local and many from much further afield. We also notice that initial visits to the town for events like Sheep Day often result in people returning at a later date for a proper look around the town.

Buying shoes is a very individual service, so we chat to people to find out if they’ve been before and where they’ve come from and what they think, which gives us a good idea about how many newcomers events like Sheep Day attracts − and it is a lot. Sheep Day seems to be quite famous. This year we met customers from as far away as Newcastle and Liverpool who had made the two-hour trip especially for the event.

We wish there was an event every week as it creates such a lovely atmosphere in town and always makes for a busy trading day. Sheep Day, which is one of our favourites, is like a really busy Saturday for us, we take at least double what we’d take on a normal Sunday and we have to bring in more staff. The food is always really great too!

We see a lot of high street and town centre shops don’t open for these Sunday events, but they really should consider it, as the town is genuinely busy with people buying.

Naomi Dodgson, manager of Oxfam, Swadford Street

Any event which closes the high street to traffic significantly increases the footfall into our shop, partly because people park at the Coach Street or Cavendish Street car parks and walk past, and partly because there are so many more people in the town. The net result is always a huge uplift in takings and the recent Sheep Day was no different, with our takings being treble what they would be for a normal Sunday.

For any event which is coming up we always make sure we prepare a window display to match, so for Sheep Day we used our wonderful tapestry made by one of our volunteers, which includes sheep, the canal and some bicycles. We also added some woolly cupholders with sheep on, decoupage style sheep coasters and some felted sheep keyrings, all volunteer made and all of which sold really well. This week we have a cookery themed display in the window to coincide with the Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival.

 

If you’re a BID business and would like to receive the footfall figures for Skipton town centre – email info@skiptonbid.com or call 01756 799033.

More Festival Fun in Skipton

Celebrating Sheep Day held on 1st July.  It was Skipton’s 23rd annual Sheep Day event, with more than 15,000 in attendance on a very hot summer’s day (27ºC).

We do hope you enjoy this short film!

Simply Irresistible Skipton

Had a great couple of days filming some of the businesses in Skipton, with Mark from Catapult Films. The idea eventually, is to provide a flavour of all that Skipton has to offer, this our first project showcases some of the eating and drinking establishments.  As Skipton BID heads toward its third term, we will continue to promote our vibrant town through all media channels, and look to include more short-films embracing #SimplyIrresistibleSkipton via You Tube and Social Media!

Special thanks to Ben Crick for composing the music accompanying the films and Skipton Building Society Camerata for playing the score so wonderfully!

#VOTESkiptonBID

Counting Footfall – What’s the Benefit?

Being a BID business in a BID town provides your business with many benefits:

‘Skipton in Bloom’ at the Town Hall!
  • A full programme of funded events and initiatives which encourage people to visit, such as The Waterway Festival, Sheep Day and the Christmas Markets
  • The funding and organisation of initiatives which enhance and improve the look and feel of the town, such as Skipton in Bloom (love the new planters outside the Town Hall).
  • A suite of funded initiatives which support your business, like the Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP), the ‘about to be installed’ CCTV and access to accurate footfall data.

Two footfall counters, paid for and installed by Skipton BID, Skipton Town Council and Craven District Council in 2016, are positioned on the High Street and Swadford Street. Installed with state of the art sensors, they measure the number of people who pass by them and are able to adjust the data for a person with multiple passes. This data is then fed back to BID manager, Geraldine Thompson, on a weekly basis.

The figures aren’t published, but they are available on request. Since we now have more than a year’s worth of data, it is possible to compare footfall from the same week year to year, in addition to offering comparisons to the published figures for the North, Yorkshire and the UK. Breakdown by day and hour and mapping to the weather is also included.

Here’s what some Skipton businesses had to say about this resource:

Michelle Nye owner Chocolate & Truffles

“I find the figures really useful to have. It’s good to know it’s not just ‘you’ if you’ve had a poor day. Having access to the footfall figures helps me tune into the local and national footfall trends which usually reflect how the business is doing.

The figures also help me plan my work, for example earlier this year during a prolonged period of lower footfall, I could see from the figures that it was a national trend, so I took steps to look at other avenues of income, like getting more active on ShopAppy and boosting our online activity.

The figures can also show you when the busiest times of a particular day of the week are, which could in turn help you to work out when to increase or reduce your staff, or help you decide which is the best day to close.

Without the data it becomes guess work about what you think is happening. The figures are really important to me as they help me understand why the business is good or not so good, as Chocolate & Truffles’ good sales days tend to tie in with high footfall days and vice versa. I always go through the figures to see how they compare to our sales and find them very helpful.”

David Roberts owner Hettie’s Café Bistro

“The footfall counters are a useful tool for illustrating how the percentage changes in footfall relate to the percentage changes in turnover. I’ve worked it out for Hetties and can clearly see that the higher the footfall in Skipton, the better my business does, as I am sure would be the case for many businesses in the town.

The footfall data is a valuable business resource which if used properly would help more businesses to realise that we all have our part to play – along with Skipton BID – in marketing Skipton to increase the footfall into the town centre, and if we do that, we will all benefit.”

If you would like to receive the footfall figures – email info@skiptonbid.com or call 01756 799033.

Festival Fun in Skipton

Skipton Waterway Festival has been an annual event in Skipton for 17 years, with footfall this year (2018) increasing by more than 10,000 per day during the 3-day festival.  

The Waterway Festival happens on May Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday through Monday.  Originally organised by British Waterways and Pennine Cruisers, Skipton BID stepped in after British Waterways were no longer able to provide the main funding for this event, enabling Pennine Cruisers to continue with a very popular and cherished waterways event, that raises awareness of Skipton as a whole, the canal basin and the canal system.

Filmed, edited and produced by Mark Currie at Catapult Films, see catapultfilms.co.uk

For more information on boating hire, please visit penninecruisers.com