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

Fighting Shop Theft and Business Crime

  • Is shoplifting a problem for your business?
  • Has your organisation been the victim of fraud through the receipt of fake bank notes?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes then read on, as the Skipton BID funded Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP) could help you tackle these issues.

Here are some testimonials from Skipton retailers, revealing why being a part of the BCRP scheme has made a significant difference to the profitability of their business:

Charlotte Ryder − New Look

“It’s been a huge benefit to New Look as the app, which comes as part of the scheme and which you can upload to your phone, enables you to quickly see if there’s any new faces to look out for. It also helps you check if you think you’ve spotted someone on the shop floor who is a known shoplifter. If you do identify someone from the app’s gallery on your premises, then you can alert other businesses via the app or the radio.

“Being part of the BCRP scheme has reduced our stock loss massively – we are now losing less than 1% of what we were losing before we got the radio and the app!”

Robert Schofield – Sports Direct

“The radio has really helped us to stay alert about potential theft, as soon as we hear that someone suspicious or known is in town we make sure we have a strong front of house presence. And, if we suspect anyone in our store we immediately alert everyone else in the scheme.

“We actually arrested someone who had stolen from another retailer in town – they didn’t come into Sports Direct, but because our staff were on high alert and were stood at the front of the shop, they recognised and detained them.

“If we get an alert we always go to the front of the shop to see if we can spot anyone, as a sighting can help you relay back to other members in the scheme how certain individuals are moving through the town and which stores they might be targeting.

“We only signed up six weeks ago but have already identified two people who are known shoplifters who we thought were customers! Without the information provided by the scheme we wouldn’t have recognised the threat they posed.

“The scheme would work even better if more businesses were part of it.”

Kevin Woods – W. Boyes & Co.

“We’ve actively caught several shoplifters over the last few months thanks to the intelligence sharing between other retailers in the scheme, and the tremendous back up BCRP gets from Community Liaison Officer, Judy Probst and PCSO Gillian Seed.

“If more shops and stores were part of the scheme then more intelligence could be shared which would make it even better!

“There’s also been quite a bit of fraud with fake bank notes and its helped a lot in identifying who has those too. The app and the website are both quick and easy to use and provide really useful and regular intelligence updates.”

Remember together we can make a difference – email bcrp@skiptonbid.com or call 01756 799033 for more information or to apply to join the scheme.

Tour de Yorkshire comes to Skipton

The town was very excited to have the Tour de Yorkshire (TDY) visit Skipton for the second year running.  We hope you enjoy this short video filmed on Sunday 6th May 2018, as Stage 4 of the TDY raced through Skipton!

Since 2014 when the Tour de France came through Skipton, our vibrant town has embraced with renewed passion all things cycling related.  In 2015 Skipton launched two sensational cycling events:

  • Le Petit Depart, follows part of the Tour de France route through the Yorkshire Dales, with two route options to choose from, it is held this year on Sunday 3rd June: and
  • Skipton Cycle Races, has three separate events, held this year on Wednesday 11th July, starting at 6pm with the under 12 cycle race.

For further information on each of these events please click on the link:

Le Petit Depart

Skipton Cycle Races

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

What has the BID ever done for us?

(With apologies to Monty Python)

REG: They’ve taken our money. And what has Skipton BID ever given us in return?!

XERXES: The Visit Skipton website.

REG: What?

XERXES: The Visit Skipton website – 20,000 unique users a month…

REG: Oh. Yeah, yeah. They did give us that. Uh, that’s true. Yeah.

COMMANDO #1: And they co-fund the Skipton Town Ambassadors.

LORETTA: Oh, yeah, the Ambassadors, Reg. Remember what the town used to be like without them?

REG: Yeah. All right. I’ll grant you the Visit Skipton website and the Town Ambassadors are two things that the BID has done.

MATTHIAS: And they give financial support for the Christmas Markets and the Christmas Lights Switch On.

REG: Well, yeah. Obviously they help fund the Christmas Markets and lights. I mean, the Christmas Markets go without saying, don’t they? But apart from Visit Skipton, the Town Ambassadors and the all the Christmas stuff…

COMMANDO #2: The International Puppet Festival.

XERXES: The Waterway Festival.

REG: Huh?

COMMANDO #3: Sheep Day.

REG: Yeah, yeah. All right. Fair enough.

COMMANDO #1: And Skipton in Bloom.

COMMANDOS: Oh, yes. Yeah…

FRANCIS: Yeah. Yeah, that’s something we’d really miss, Reg, if Skipton BID left. Huh? All the beautiful plantings around the town…

COMMANDO #2: The Cycle Races. Kids Comic Collective.

LORETTA: Business Crime Reduction Partnership and Best Bar None. It’s safer for shops and bars to do business now, Reg.

FRANCIS: Yeah, they certainly discourage retail crime and anti-social behaviour, helping the police catch criminals and so making Skipton a better place to live, to carry out business activities and visit. Let’s face it. That helps businesses a lot.

XERXES: They offer business support services like GrantFinder, ShopAppy and Footfall counters.

REG: All right, but apart from the Visit Skipton website, the Ambassadors, The Christmas Markets, the Waterway Festival, The International Puppet Festival, Sheep Day, Skipton in Bloom, Business Crime Reduction Partnership, Skipton Cycle Races, and all the business support services, what have the BID ever done for us?

XERXES: They offer grant funding for projects that support and promote the town.

REG: Oh. Funding for projects that support and promote the town? Shut up!

Could Your Business Benefit from GRANTfinder?

There are many benefits to being a Skipton BID business: a year-round schedule of supported town events, the Business Crime Reduction Partnership scheme (BCRP), and the town ambassadors. One of the lesser known and lesser used benefits is the Idox GRANTfinder resource, which is available to all BID businesses – free of charge − until the end of 2019.

What is GRANTfinder?

The GRANTfinder website is Europe’s leading service for grants information. Recognised as the largest and most comprehensively supported service of its type, it enables extensive insight into local, regional and national UK government and European funding sources, plus private initiatives, charitable trusts and corporate sponsorship opportunities.

By answering the prompted questions and inputting the correct data about your business into its easy to use portal, it very quickly identifies potential funding providers for projects, activities or business development initiatives.

Said Danielle Daglan, programming and venue development manager for Craven District Council: “GRANTfinder is a fantastic piece of software for companies looking for funding. For arts and heritage organisations, or for those businesses looking to access funding to help improve accessibility, or make their operation ‘greener’ or more environmentally friendly, then it is well worth investigating.

“Built in 1862, Skipton Town Hall has, from the outset, been a building dedicated to public use. My current role is to secure funding to support the work we’re doing in re-developing Skipton Town Hall into a cultural hub for the 21st century, and so I found GRANTfinder very illuminating.”

The Benefits of GRANTfinder:

One of the fundamental aims of Skipton BID, along with its ‘Visit Skipton’ initiative, is to provide access to tools which directly support the businesses within the town. GRANTfinder, the footfall data reports and BCRP form part of that provision.
The key areas that GRANTfinder can help identify funding for are:

  • Technological and environmental developments
  • Support in increasing the accessibility of businesses and services
  • Arts, culture and heritage organisations
  • Charitable, voluntary and social enterprise organisations

But there are plenty more opportunities, so don’t be afraid to come and have a look. We have already helped a number of businesses find a range of grants that are available for them to apply for.

Please contact Geraldine to discuss further or to schedule a meeting, at info@skiptonbid.com or call 01756 799033.

We are listening to your feedback

Participants taking part in February’s focus groups, as well as those engaged with on an individual or online basis, were asked to offer their feedback and ideas in relation to the following areas:

  • Visit Skipton: Events or initiatives which entice people to come and visit Skipton, such as the Waterway Festival
  • Environment: Initiatives which enhance and improve Skipton for visitors and locals, for example Skipton in Bloom
  • Business Support: Services and initiatives that directly support BID businesses, which currently include BCRP, footfall data and the IDOX Grantfinder

The consensus from most of the feedback, is that Skipton BID has achieved what it set out to; such as, successfully building a programme of regular high-profile events that attract people to the town. The Visit Skipton brand means that Skipton now has a strong online presence, and other business support initiatives have enabled further and better data to become available for local BID businesses.

Nevertheless, those spoken with were also keen to point out that Skipton BID mustn’t rest on its laurels, and must continue to seek out new ways of building on what it has achieved to date. And, with your support – this is some of what we are considering!



We are delighted to announce that following overwhelming feedback from our BID businesses, the reintroduction of CCTV into Skipton town centre will be going ahead. With Craven District Council’s (CDC) support it’s possible CCTV will also be able to go into the carparks.  Geraldine Thompson from Skipton BID and Rob Stoney, facilities manager at CDC, are due to meet with the last of the tenders, and should then be able to agree a rollout programme. Keep a lookout for updates about this exciting business support initiative through Skipton BID News and our monthly blog post.

Hop On Hop Off Bus

One idea which arose from the focus groups and which has already garnered some positive interest, is that of creating a ‘hop on hop off’ local bus service around the town centre, to further encourage tourists (and locals!) to visit the outlining shopping areas. It is possible that such an initiative may not be financially viable for a small BID such as ours, however we are keen to look at the options for such a service, and will keep you posted with how this develops.

Painted Window Trail

Another idea was to once again utilise the fabulous talents of local artist, Jenny Tribillon, to create a ‘painted shop window trail’, which would feature a painted window within each area of the town. A themed trail with trail sheets and a prize has proved popular in other market towns and if executed well has the potential to enhance footfall to outlying areas.

Promoting Skipton

It’s no accident that Skipton was voted the happiest place to live in the UK last year. That Skipton featured recently on This Morning television or that the BBC One Show was filming today in our vibrant town. [One Show featuring Skipton Market shown 28th Feb 7pm]. Skipton BID together with Skipton Town Council work very hard behind the scenes to keep Skipton on the map.

…but you want more, therefore to further promote Skipton, it is proposed that the BID create a series of short videos which promote the town. The completed videos will be posted on You Tube, our website and shared through our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

If you have further feedback about anything contained in this blog please do not hesitate to get in touch − email info@skiptonbid.com – we’d love to hear from you!

Creating a BID that meets the needs of your business

As the final year of our second term, 2018 is a very important year for Skipton BID. With a limited amount of time before our third term commences in April 2019, we want to be sure that our business plan for 2018/9 and beyond, reflects the needs of the majority of our BID businesses.

With more than 600 BID businesses across Skipton, a direct and individual approach to gather feedback is a logistical challenge given our modest resources.

Recognising that it is often easier to talk than email, we have arranged a series of Focus Groups where BID businesses can come along and meet with the manager and director of Skipton BID, Geraldine Thompson, to talk through concerns and ideas, so that we can deliver a programme of activity which enhances the viability and vitality of the town.

The first Focus Groups will take place on Thursday February 8th between 12–1pm and 1−2pm at Alexander’s Bar and Kitchen on the High Street.  The aim of these meetings will be to identify:

  • The funded events and initiatives that have worked well for the town at large – which must be kept
  • The events and initiatives which haven’t offered businesses value for money

The Focus Groups are open and available to all BID businesses to attend, and Geraldine will also be keen to hear new ideas about ways in which BID levy funds could be used differently to further help and support businesses within and across the town.

All BID funds must be spent in one of these three areas:

Visit Skipton:

  • Events or initiatives which entice people to come and visit Skipton.


  • Initiatives which enhance and improve Skipton for visitors and locals, for example Skipton in Bloom.

Business Support:

  • Initiatives which directly support BID businesses, such as Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP), footfall data and the IDOX GrantFinder.

Following the February 8th Focus Groups a draft 2019 BID business plan will be created and circulated to all businesses for approval.

To book your place at one of these Focus Groups please email info@skiptonbid.com. Complimentary refreshments will be available.

With your feedback we hope that we can shape Skipton BID to reflect the needs and aspirations of the town and your business.

If you are unable to attend the Focus Groups but have feedback you would like to share, please email info@skiptonbid.com.

Review of 2017

Skipton BID has enjoyed a busy proactive year, and as we move from 2017 to 2018 it’s important for us, like any business, to take stock and review what’s worked well so we can continue funding the events which enhance the town and attract the all-important visitors and tourists.

We’ve had many successes this year, with the most recent ones including the Christmas Markets, which once again attracted in excess of 20,000 visitors on each of the dedicated Sundays − a footfall significantly higher than on an average Skipton Sunday. Our Christmas Markets are consistently voted in the top ten of Christmas Markets across the UK and without the BID funding, Skipton Town Council would need to either reduce the event considerably or hope to attract alternate funding!
Since our first term, in 2009, Skipton BID has supported Skipton’s Christmas Lights, without our funding, Skipton Town Council would be unable to light up as many streets as there are lit today! Skipton BID is happy to continue to support Skipton’s Christmas Lights, which we hope everyone would acknowledge are a credit to the Town.

It has also been the third year that we have funded Skipton’s Christmas Lights switch-on and despite inclement weather there was a fantastic turnout both in Craven Court and outside the Town Hall. Craven Court supported the switch-on by offering the shopping centre as a hub for the event – please note Craven Court funded their own Christmas lights. We also received much positive feedback about the addition of Otley Street to the event, which saw Waddington’s funfair, Billy’s pancakes and the Horse Box Pizza enrich the range of businesses open late to the public. The simultaneous switch on of the Christmas tree outside the town hall to the ‘carolling’ of BID co-funded Skipton Brass was also very well received.

Setting up for the Switch-on – left to right – Emma Marsden, Craven Court Manager; Dave Parker, Skipton Town Council; Paw Patrol’s Chase; PCSO Gillian Seed; Paw Patrol’s Marshall; Judy Probst, Town Centre Ambassadors Supervisor; Geraldine Thompson, Skipton BID; and Joshua Daily, Town Centre Ambassador.

Other projects, events and initiatives we have supported this year include:

  • Best Bar None accreditation scheme
  • Bunting street decorations
  • Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP)
  • Car Park maps
  • Festival of Walks
  • Festive window painting
  • Footfall Counter initiative
  • GRANTfinder (an IDOX solution)
  • Sheep day
  • ShopAppy initiative
  • Skipton Brass
  • Skipton Business Awards
  • Skipton Cycle Races
  • Skipton in Bloom
  • Skipton’s International Puppet Festival
  • Skipton Musical Theatre Company
  • Skipton Town Ambassadors
  • STAND’s Beermat promotion
  • Venue Sports & Music Bar’s Scooter Multi-Meet
  • Waterway Festival
  • World War II display and re-enactment
  • Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival

2018 will include:

  • The Tour de Yorkshire – passing through the town on May 6th
  • Skipton Health and Wellbeing Fair

It is our aim that a cross section of these events should positively impact every BID business.

Looking forward

2018 is an important year for Skipton BID.  As we enter the final year of our second term, we believe it is more important than ever that we gather feedback about:

  • The funded events and initiatives that have worked well for the town at large – which we must keep
  • The events and initiatives that haven’t offered BID businesses value for money – and which we must consider losing

We can only gather feedback if we have an up-to-date email for each BID business – please ensure we have yours by emailing info@skiptonbid.com

During 2018 we aim to regularly and proactively engage with all our BID businesses via:

  • Skipton BID News – our new newsletter − which will be posted to all BID businesses during December, along with a complimentary calendar. To keep BID administration costs to a minimum, we aim to email the newsletter monthly to the businesses – so please ensure we have your address.
  • BID Focus Groups – the first of which will take place on Thursday February 8th at Alexander’s Bar & Kitchen. Two back-to-back meetings will take place, between 12 and 1pm and 1 and 2pm, with light refreshments provided at each.

Hosted by Skipton BID manager and director, Geraldine Thompson, these events offer all BID businesses the chance to come along and voice concerns, ask questions and offer feedback. Geraldine will also be keen to hear any new ideas about how BID funds could be used differently to further help businesses within the town.

All BID funds must be spent in one of these three areas:

  • Visit Skipton: events and initiatives that entice people to come and visit Skipton;
  • Environment: initiatives that enhance and improve Skipton for visitors and locals, for example Skipton in Bloom;
  • Business Support: initiatives which directly support BID businesses, such as BCRP’s radio and gallery scheme, footfall data and the IDOX Grantfinder.

To book your place at one of these Focus Groups please email info@skiptonbid.com

With your feedback we hope that we can shape Skipton BID 2018 and beyond to reflect the needs and aspirations of your business.  In the meantime we wish you a Happy New Year!

We’ve Come A Long Way!

In the last few years, the Skipton and wider Craven area has collected an impressive number of awards. From back in 2009 when Skipton’s High Street beat both London’s Portobello Road and its world-famous Kensington High Street to the title of ‘Best High Street’ the accolades have come thick and fast – Best Place to Live; Best Small Market; Best Place to Raise a Family; Most Courteous Town, the list goes on.

Most recently, of course, there has been another flurry of media attention as Craven was voted as the ‘Happiest Place to Live’ – that one even brought ITV’s This Morning Show running into town!

Dan Prince Photography

None of this comes as a surprise to those of us who live and work here – not when you take a moment to reflect on the stunning history of the town, and the breath-taking scenery we have on our doorstep.

Our Market, like it or loath it, is at the heart of Skipton as a tourist destination and brings thousands of people into town throughout the year – but there are countless other attractions we’re all familiar with plus a fantastic range of events and festivals, most of them free, and many funded by Skipton BID.

Skipton’s location, in a beautiful setting at the ‘gateway’ to the Yorkshire Dales National Park undoubtedly gives us a head start – but the vibrancy of the town is not accidental. In recent years agencies from across the town have worked together more closely than ever before, and one of the driving forces behind this is the Skipton BID.

When it launched in 2009, Skipton BID was one of the first to go live in the UK – and it would be fair to say that the learning curve was steep, particularly as there were only a few other BIDs to compare with. There are now 318 active BIDs nationwide, with many more currently in development. Skipton BID has advised and shared experiences – good and bad – with many fledgling BIDs and our advice is often sought on what to do, and what not to do!

We’ve had a lot to learn along the way, especially in our early days. But now, eight years on, and in the midst of our second term, we are very proud have been able to establish many great things for Skipton:

  • The BID supports a year round schedule of family friendly events which attract huge numbers of visitors to the town and its businesses. They include: Sheep Day, The Waterways Festival, The Skipton Puppet Festival and the hugely important Skipton Christmas Markets
  • The BID provides the majority of funding for Skipton in Bloom – a voluntary group which looks after floral displays across the Town Centre.
  • With Skipton Town Council, the BID funds our impressive Christmas Lights – now in place throughout the Town Centre.
  • The BID funds the Visit Skipton website – a one-stop-shop for information about the town and its businesses (with free listings for all BID levy payers) and makes a substantial contribution to the cost of promoting and marketing Skipton regionally and nationally.
  • The BID funds our Town Centre Ambassadors – our highly trained ‘meeters and greeters’ who are the face of our Visit Skipton brand and help make the Town a safe, clean and friendly place.
  • The BID is a lead player in Skipton’s Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP) – enabling town businesses to respond to theft and anti-social behaviour. The radio system linked to this initiative is fully funded by the BID and has helped prevent numerous cases of potential shoplifting.
  • The BID subscribes to IDOX GRANTfinder − a freely accessible resource available to all BID businesses to research grants and funding that might be available and appropriate to them.
  • The BID operates the prestigious Best Bar None national award scheme – aimed at promoting responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises.

There are many other examples of BID-funded initiatives – but one thing is certain, without the BID the majority of these schemes would struggle to secure the required funding and many could potentially be lost forever.

With new BIDs launching across the country, including in many other local towns and cities – Keighley, Otley and Leeds are just a few examples and Bradford is currently in the consultation stages – one thing is for sure, others see the importance of being able to maintain initiatives which could otherwise be lost, and that is something that Skipton needs to bear in mind.

As a group, the BID Board knows that not everyone will agree with every funding decision made. We know that some levy payers, at times, may question whether the BID provides a direct benefit to their own specific business. However, what is beyond doubt and is recognised by the 318 BIDs across the UK, is that businesses of all types coming together, as a unit, can make a massive difference to the vibrancy and vitality of a town – and that has to be something worth holding onto.

If we don’t, other towns will – and that could potentially make Skipton a lot less happy!

For more information about how Skipton BID works please visit: SkiptonBID.com

The Future of Your BID

We are hoping that you have seen and heard a bit more from us recently, as we have been working hard to increase and improve the ways we communicate with our BID businesses, as well as the wider Skipton community.

New Newsletter!

One big new communication initiative is Skipton BID’s new monthly newsletter, commencing shortly.  The first edition will be posted out to all BID businesses to ensure everyone receives a copy, but moving forward we would like to email as many BID businesses as possible to help keep the costs to a minimum.  Please help us help you by emailing info@skiptonbid.com with your up to date email address if you have one.

The new monthly newsletter will contain an engaging mix of current BID news, photos, information about Skipton footfall, and listings for forthcoming BID supported events.  We’d love to hear your stories about how Skipton BID has benefitted your business − if you have any stories or pictures which you’d like to share please email them to info@skiptonbid.com .

New Focus Groups!

Over recent weeks we have also run two adverts on the front inside cover of The Craven Herald.  The aim of these adverts was to remind BID businesses and local people what Skipton BID is, and the type of things we are doing to help the town become a better place to live, work and visit.  Let’s not forget, Skipton was recently voted as one of the happiest places to live in the UK!

These adverts also told you about our forthcoming Skipton BID focus groups, which we are hosting as a way of connecting with more BID businesses and to hear your views and ideas.

The focus groups will offer you an opportunity to shape the initiatives Skipton BID supports.   This is your BID, make sure your voice is heard!  The first focus group will be held on Thursday February 8th 2018 (venue and time to be confirmed).  If you are a BID business and you would like to attend – please save the date – and email info@skiptonbid.com to reserve your place.