It’s a YES

Skipton Levy Payers have said YES to renewing the town’s Business Improvement District (BID) for a third term.

The announcement of the result of the ballot of businesses in the town shows they have voted overwhelmingly to back the BID

The news means £800,000 of funding will be released to spend on projects and events to enhance Skipton and help it continue to thrive.

Bid manager Geraldine Thompson said: “This is a brilliant result for the BID, but more importantly, a brilliant result for Skipton.

“We can now continue with the work we have already done over the past ten years to ensure our town is one of the best to live, work, do business in, and visit.”

The Electoral Reform Service today published the result, which shows 82.6 per cent of those BID levy payers who took part in the ballot voted in favour of renewing the BID.

The businesses voting in favour represented 91.36 per cent of the total rateable value of those taking part.

Geraldine paid tribute to everyone who has helped with the successful YES vote campaign over the past few months.

“All the businesses, volunteer groups, organisations, and individuals who have given their support to us has been overwhelming,” she said.

“It has shown just how many different areas we have had an impact in during our first ten years. We’re now looking forward to connecting with even more people over the next five years.

“I’d also like to thank the Craven Herald for its tremendous support – the paper has really understood how important the BID is for everyone.”

She said with the help of the Herald, the BID had worked extremely hard to get across its message -and to make people fully aware of the work it has done since it was set up in 2009.

In that time, the BID has set up and runs the Visit Skipton website, operates the Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership, restored CCTV cameras to the town, provides the majority of funding for Skipton In Bloom, helps businesses seeking grants, helps fund the Town Ambassadors, and operates the Best Bar None scheme for licensed premises.

It also provides funding for Skipton Christmas Lights and the switch-on ceremony, as well as many of the festivals and events that bring thousands of people into Skipton every year, including the Christmas Markets, the Waterway Festival, the Skipton International Puppet Festival and Sheep Day.

The £800,000 unlocked by the YES vote will go into three key areas – Visit Skipton, Business Support, and Attractive and Clean laid out in the BID business plan.

Work will now get underway to wind up the second BID and ensure all the admin is in place for the third term.

That will be followed by work beginning on ensuring the existing events and initiatives continue and are improved.

And there are brand new projects in the pipeline, including a business toolbox, which will be set up with a large degree of input from businesses themselves, and moves to team up with other partners to tackle the eyesores of the two railway bridges on the main roads into town.

Final Call to Vote

A final appeal is being made to all businesses who haven’t yet voted in the Skipton Business Improvement District (BID) renewal ballot to make sure they make their YES vote count before next week’s deadline.

The BID board has warned that failure to get a YES vote in the renewal ballot will have a huge negative impact on the town.

Businesses and organisations across Skipton say the BID is vital to keep Skipton as a thriving and successful town for everybody.

And that can only happen if the levy payers vote YES in the ballot, which finishes next Thursday (February 7) at 5pm.

BID manager and board member Geraldine Thompson said: “We have ambitious plans to build on the great work we have done over the past ten years – but we can only do that if we get a yes vote.”

Skipton was one of the first towns in the north to set up a BID in 2009, and it has invested £1.5m in the town since then.

A YES vote would see a further £800,000 unlocked to invest in three key areas – Visit Skipton, Business Support, and Attractive and Clean.

Since it started ten years ago, the BID has set up and runs the Visit Skipton website, operates the Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership, restored CCTV cameras to the town, provides the majority of funding for Skipton In Bloom, helps businesses seeking grants, helps fund the town ambassadors, and operates the Best Bar None scheme for licensed premises.

It also provides funding for Skipton Christmas Lights and the switch-on ceremony, as well as many of the festivals and events that bring thousands of people into Skipton every year, including the Christmas Markets, the Waterways Festival, the Skipton International Puppet Festival, Sheep Day, and the Skipton Cycle Races.

Without the BID, the future of many of these events and the continued funding of the ongoing investment in the town would be at risk.

Skipton In Bloom group say it would severely impact the work they can do around the town.

The people behind the Waterways Festival and the Skipton International Puppet Festival have both said these events would not happen without BID support.

And most recently, BID support has been vital for the success of the biggest ever Christmas Lights Switch on event the town has seen, as well as the continued presence of the lights themselves around the town.

Kerry Wheelwright, events and tourism manager for Skipton Town Council, said after the switch-on:  “Without the funding support from the BID, neither this event nor the lights themselves would be possible.” 

Businesses including Skipton Building Society, Skipton Castle, the Rendezvous Hotel, Computershare, Tesco, and many, many others have given their support to the BID and urged other levy payers to vote YES.

And organisations including Skipton Town Council, Craven District Council, Skipton in Bloom, Craven College, and Skipton Chamber of Trade have given their support to a YES vote.

Keelham Farm, which opened its large farm shop and restaurant on Gargrave Road in 2015, has added its support to the BID.

Co-owner Victoria Robertshaw said: “Skipton’s reputation as a thriving rural market town with strong links to the farming community goes back for generations which made it the right fit for Keelham. 

“Skipton BID has worked hard to support retailers, making sure that customers and visitors enjoy shopping here and to make the town a destination that visitors will return to. 

“At Keelham, we’re keen to support the work of Skipton BID to help the local business community and the whole town to continue to thrive for years to come.”

Geraldine urged anyone who has not voted to think about what could be lost to the town, and make sure they vote YES.

“Every vote could make a difference. Look at what could be lost to the town. The funding the BID provides will not come from anywhere else,” she said.

“Let’s not see all the hard work we have done in building up the town together for everyone who lives in the town or works here, or shops or trades or visits here be allowed to go to waste.

“We’ve achieved so much together as a community – and a YES vote for the BID will allow us to continue to keep that community spirit working for the good of Skipton. We are much stronger as a town when we work together.”

**Anyone who has not had a ballot form and believes they should have had one, or who has had one but has lost or damaged it, still has time to make their vote count.**

If you contact Geraldine Thompson by email at info@skiptonbid.com, call 01756 799033 or via the Skipton BID Facebook page or Twitter account, and she will be able to advice you as to what to do.

Votes must reach the offices of the Electoral Reform Services in London by 5pm on Thursday 7 February. 

The result will be announced via social media and our Blog on Friday 8 February.

Skipton in Bloom needs a YES Vote

The loss of Skipton Business Improvement District would have a major impact on the appearance of the town, says the Skipton In Bloom (SIB) group.

SIB has transformed Skipton since it was formed 14 years ago, making sure the streets are attractive and welcoming in all weathers.

But the group has warned that its work will be severely restricted if the BID is not renewed in the ongoing ballot.

The group says that the majority of the floral displays would disappear without the funding it receives from the BID.

Skipton in Bloom’s treasurer David Bradbury and vice-chairman Sue Warburton say that the BID support is vital for the group and the work it does.

Skipton in Bloom was formed in 2005 as a community group, becoming a registered charity in 2016. The group’s members represent Craven College, the Stepping Stones II Project, the Rotary Club of Skipton, Skipton Gardeners Club, Skipton Town Council and the BID, together with a dedicated team of local residents and volunteers.

Dave and Sue said: “The original group was formed to make Skipton more attractive for all who visit, live and work in the town, but it also aims to stimulate horticultural interest with local schools, groups and individuals and to encourage local pride.

“When we started in 2005, much of the work was done by a small group of volunteers who took care of the planting and hanging of baskets themselves.” 

They say the work has expanded dramatically over the years. 

“It has become necessary to appoint and work alongside local contractors in order to keep all the containers, baskets and barrels planted up twice a year and watered during the summer months.

“On-going maintenance of the Diamond Jubilee Community Garden on Newmarket Garden and the Cenotaph Garden at the top of the High Street is carried out on volunteer work days, and a rolling programme of bulb planting, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Skipton, continues to enhance the spring displays. SIB also look after the barrels in front of the Town Hall on behalf of Craven District Council.”

The group has a huge impact to the way the town looks, say Dave and Sue.

“As a town which thrives on its appeal to tourists and visitors, it is important that Skipton appears bright and welcoming.  Working closely with our planting contractors, we aim for plant combinations which will provide as much of a ‘wow’ factor as possible.

“In a year celebrating an anniversary or event, appropriate colour schemes are chosen wherever possible to endorse the theme.

“The town’s heritage is also considered in all our projects.  Hanging basket trees complement existing street furniture, local stone used to construct new seating and our narrowboat planters were designed specifically to reflect the town’s industrial past.

“Our floral displays are concentrated at the town entrances and in high footfall areas for maximum impact. In the Bus Station, Canal Basin, and Coach Street car park in particular, a large number of barrier planters, barrels and hanging baskets welcome everyone who visits, lives and works in the town.” 

They say the funding from the BID has been provided since the BID started in 2009 and has made a huge difference to the work Skipton In Bloom can do.

“Skipton BID has supported SIB since 2009 and the continued funding has led to a phenomenal increase in the number of floral displays around the town in both the summer and winter months,” said Dave and Sue.  

“Skipton BID has funded purchases of new planters, seasonal planting and watering schedules – all of which have had a major impact on how the town looks.   

“In just the last twelve months, BID funding has enabled SIB to purchase and install barrier and lamppost planters in the Canal Basin/Coach Street car park area, increase the number of hanging basket displays in Victoria Square and place newtiered hexagonal planters at either side of Town Hall main entrance.  

“The 2018 summer heatwave provided a challenge to our floral displays, but thanks to Skipton BID funding, we were able to increase the frequency of watering schedules.

“If the BID was not renewed, then quite simply the majority of the floral displays would disappear and the town would lose its bright and welcoming appearance,” they said. 

“Skipton BID are SIB’s main source of funding and, if that was no longer available to us, it would significantly limit the work we were able to do.”  

Both agree the BID is vital for the whole town, and urged businesses to vote YES.

 “We need to build on all the hard work that has taken place over the last ten years, not see it go to waste,” they said.

Craven College supports the BID

Craven College is a staunch supporter of Skipton Business Improvement District. Its principal and executive officer Andrew Cropley is a board member. Here, with the help of the president of Craven College Students’ Union Lucy Goodfellow, he tells us why he believes it is vital for the BID to continue.

I came to Skipton and Craven College late last October.  I was struck by the very warm welcome and the sense of pride in the town that exudes from everyone I meet who lives, works or studies here.  I walk into work whenever I can.  Despite it being dark, it always feels safe and the hearty welcome I receive from joggers and dog walkers always cheers me before I reach my office. However, when I was asked to write about the importance of the BID, as it, hopefully, moves into its third term, I felt ill-equipped to do so, given the short time I’ve been here, so I asked Lucy, who has grown up in Skipton and speaks with students across the College frequently, to help me out.  

Craven College is a general Further Education College, providing a wide range of technical and vocational courses to over 3,000 people each year.  Our main site is on the Aireville Campus on Gargrave Road.  We also provision at the Auction Mart Site and at our High Street venue, as well as Aviation Management and Operations from our centre at Leeds Bradford Airport and courses for young people with significant learning difficulties or disabilities from the Evolve centre in Ripon, as well as in Skipton.  

Without doubt, a major asset of Craven College is that it is in Skipton, a town with a reputation as being vibrant, successful and safe.  Many of our students travel by train or bus into the town and walk to the college through Aireville Park.  Being able to do this without worry is really important, not just to our students but to their parents, and enjoying the fresh air in an immaculately maintained space sets them up well for their day.  Many of them return, when the weather is good, to enjoy their lunch in the open.  As such, the work that the BID does to keep the town safe is critical.  

Not just this but seeing that, in these austere times, the town is still able to invest in facilities for young people in Aireville Park sends a really powerful message.   

Lucy articulates this perfectly: “As a local myself, I cannot express enough how special Skipton is to me. To live in and to work in. The community spirit is wonderful and having many events available to me is lovely. These events do not just promote Skipton in a positive light, they engage the visitors in the joy that is experienced by locals every day. 

“After working in a shop in the centre of Skipton for two years, I can say the customers also understand how special the town is, to be able to live near it and have so much available to them. When we have tourists come in, they always emphasise how lovely their experience has been. I believe that BID is responsible for a lot of this, and has been of the utmost importance in creating the community spirit that we all love.  Being an ‘everyone knows everyone’ type community is what makes Skipton a special place.”

The College is here to support our students to take a major step towards a career.  To do this effectively, it is vital that local businesses work with managers, teachers and students. Many businesses support our students by offering work placements, whilst others will employ an apprentice, which is a fantastic experience for both parties.  The BID opens many of these doors. 

Our students benefit from the events and activities supported through the BID, as well as some of the facilities.  Along with Michael Myers, one of our Horticultural teachers, our students play an important role in “Skipton in Bloom”, and benefit greatly from the experience. 

The all-weather sports pitch has been particularly valuable; it has supported our sports curriculum enabling our students to train and compete whatever the weather and maintain consistency of educational standards, as well as offering potential for extra-curricular opportunities.  

We have good links with Craven Arts, supported by the BID, and I hope we can make even more of this going forward.  I also hope we can bring the college’s own facilities to the table to the benefit of the wider community.  Certainly, our brand-new Equine Centre, which is planned to open this autumn could provide a unique venue to enhance some of the festivals, as well as providing great opportunities for those with an interest in horses.

Lucy believes the BID is vitally important for students across the area, providing them with opportunities to get involved in the community. The events supported and sponsored by the BID are great for the younger people who are either involved in or are visiting the event.

She said: “The Christmas Markets and Skipton Cycle Races are the events that I believe are most popular with students. I feel that it is vital that as a college, we emphasise these events, so our students can fully feel a part of not just of the college community, but of the Skipton community as well.”

Of course, the quality and vibrancy of the town doesn’t just impact on our students.  Skipton itself is significant asset when recruiting staff– and a major contributing factor in so few of them leaving us!  Some of our team – notably, Joan Murray in Creative Arts , who plays a role in the Puppet Festival – are involved in the various events supported by the BID.  Many others have described how much they enjoyed the events leading up to Christmas and are looking forward to this year’s activities.

Lucy says: “It is vitally important that we continue to have a thriving and secure town for future generations that will be growing up within the area. As a community we must ensure that our younger generation feel safe when venturing around, and that their parents also feel safe letting them go out on their own. It is very important that the BID continues to ensure this is the case, enabling the town to be a happy and welcoming environment to experience and spend time in.” 

Even in my few weeks as Principal at Craven College, I have drawn great benefit from being a member of the BID Board.  Its members really do have the best interests of the town and the community at heart.  

I admire their approach, which is to make sure that the town provides a place people want to spend time, whether visitors or locals. Where they always feel safe and frequently feel inspired.  Where they come together to have fun, to learn or to admire.  Where they relax and enjoy a true sense of community. 

 It has helped me to build my network in Skipton and to understand the business dynamic; what challenges businesses are facing and how the college might play a part in supporting them.  Our sector-based employer forums for Digital Skills, Hospitality & Catering and Land Based skills are all effective in ensuring we support these important parts of the local economy effectively, but the BID board brings an invaluable holistic perspective.  It also helps me make sure that the College is integrated into decision-making at the Board but also within the other stakeholders represented around that table, including local authorities and major employers.

It is hard to contemplate the impact of losing the BID.  The loss of direct investment and inevitable impact on important events and services would have immediate effect. The multiplying effect of the BID’s support to community groups would inevitably bring a dampening effect, where it would be much less effective for community groups to come together to enhance the lives of the whole town and, therefore, such developments would simply stop – to everyone’s detriment.

If you have a vote and haven’t used it yet, please do so.  Vote YES and make sure that the vibrant community is taken even further by BID Skipton for another five years.

‘Support the BID’ says food & drink businesses

Skipton has an incredible range of places to eat and drink, and there is no doubt that the work done by the Business Improvement District (BID) has helped encourage that, say leading figures within the hospitality scene in the town.

The footfall brought in for events the BID supports, the work done by the Visit Skipton brand to encourage visitors to the town, and the BID initiatives to keep the streets of Skipton both safe and, all play their part in encouraging the thriving scene.

With voting on the BID renewal ballot due to start next week – ballot papers should have arrived with levy-payers this week – a number of the town’s many restaurants, pubs, tea rooms, and coffee shops have pledged their support for the BID.

And for BID manager Geraldine Thompson, the incredible choice of food and drink on offer in the town is yet another reason to vote YES.

“The work we’ve done over the last ten years has undoubtedly helped create a climate that has encouraged this large growth of places to enjoy one of the widest choices of great eateries and places to sit and have a drink around,” she said.

“That’s not just great for those businesses, but it means that the people who live and work here have a real choice of quality places to enjoy a meal or enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine.

“That has an impact of quality of life and encourages people to want to live here, which improves the potential market and the talent pool for every business in the town.”

Katie Davison of Bizzie Lizzies, which has two large fish and chip restaurants and takeaways in the town, on Swadford Street and at the High Street Car Park on Jerry Croft, agrees that the events have a huge impact on their business.

“If we weren’t to have that it would be a loss to Skipton and to us. We would have to maybe look at employing fewer staff, so it’s crucial for us and Skipton to carry it on,” she said.

And Andy Goodall, manager of the Woolly Sheep pub on Sheep Street, described the possibility of losing the BID as a ‘nightmare scenario’.

“A big part of what makes Skipton special is down to the work of the BID and the events they help to put on,” said Andy.

“We can see what a difference the events make in our footfall. The biggest thing we saw recently was the lights switch on which was great for us.”

He agreed there was a thriving eating out market in Skipton, with lots of competition springing up.

“But the more good places there are to eat and drink the more visitors come to Skipton,” he said.

“Part of the reason Skipton is thriving when other towns aren’t doing so well is because of the BID,” said Andy.

“I would urge everyone to back the BID. It would be a nightmare scenario to lose it.”

Katie said it was good for people to have lots of different options. 

“Everybody needs choice and Skipton is such a lovely town, you can just walk up the High Street and nip in for a coffee or go and buy something off the market or nip into a shop,” she said.

“The events that happen in Skipton bring those extra people so that we are all busy, not just one restaurant. The BID helps the whole of Skipton, not just individual businesses.

“People need to look at the bigger picture. The events  that happen might not seem to directly affect them that weekend, but if we are not getting people into town, if people aren’t encouraged to live here or spend the weekend here, then the people who live in the town who may go to a mechanics or may go to a hairdressers might not have the money to get their car repaired, or won’t be able to afford the luxury of getting their hair done.

“Having these events means businesses have to employ more people in the town, and that then generates more business for everybody.”

Mark Byron of Le Caveau on High Street agreed.

“Skipton BID is worth every penny of the small cost of the levy; the work they have done bringing locals and visitors alike into Skipton is remarkable – we see this when speaking to customers who are here for such events as Sheep Day or the Christmas Markets,” he said. 

“We have seen a small amount of crime in the town recently and hopefully with the installation of the new CCTV which has been made possible by the BID if we are unlucky enough to have something happen we have that piece of mind that the incident will have been on camera. I for one will be supporting the Skipton BID’s next term.”

Wes Bond of Bean Loved on Otley Street said: “We are fully behind the BID. The events are great for us, particularly the Christmas Lights switch on this year, which was one of the busiest days we’ve ever had.”

He said that although the events might happen without the BID, the support and financial backing it gave made a huge difference to the scale of them. 

“Since the BID started, these events have been improving year on year,” he said. “The BID is putting Skipton on the map and making it a real destination for people.”

Mother and daughter team Janet and Helene Simpson run Helene’s Tea Rooms on Coach Street, and are firm believers in the BID.

“It lets people know we are here and what’s going on. We really need to keep bringing the tourists in,” said Janet.

Helen Nixon and Gillian Hodgson opened up Greenwood Bistro on Victoria Street just four-and-a-half months ago.

Helen said: “We are very much in favour of the BID. I don’t think there are any negatives about it.

“Why would anyone vote against something that improves things for everyone?”

Why the Councils are backing the BID

The importance of Skipton Business Improvement District (BID) and the work it does is fully recognised by local authorities in the town.

It works closely with both Skipton Town Council and Craven District Council and both organisations are fully behind the renewal campaign for a third five-year term for the BID.

The BID has invested £1.5m into the town over the last ten years, and a third term would unlock a further £800,000 pot for the next five years.

Both Skipton Town Council and Craven District Council  are urging levy-paying businesses to vote YES in the ballot which is due to get underway shortly, with ballot papers due to go out next week.

Chris Clark, leader of Skipton Town Council, said the BID had the full support of the authority.

“Having worked in close partnership with the BID over the last ten years, the council knows first hand the positive impact it continues to make on the economic wellbeing of our town,” he said.

“BID funding, in conjunction with the town council’s own contributions and resources, has enabled the development of a range of initiatives and improvements which have helped weather difficult times better than most.

“The Christmas Lights Switch On last month is a fantastic example of what we can do in partnership with the BID. And we have to be clear, an event on that scale could not happen without the BID’s support.

“Other events would also be affected, such as Sheep Day, the Christmas Markets, and the Waterway Festival.”

He said BID support had made a number of very important projects possible over the last ten years.

“Without the BID, we would not have CCTV cameras back on the streets of Skipton, or the work it has done to make the town feel safe with the Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership. Skipton In Bloom would not have had the funding it needs to keep our streets looking so attractive,” said Cllr Clark. 

“We would have far fewer visitors without the work the BID does with the Visit Skipton brand. And it has also provided funding for the Town Ambassadors scheme.

“There is nowhere else the money will come from to keep these initiatives going in their current form. We need the BID to ensure all this is allowed to continue.

“It is vital that Skipton BID is renewed. It has a huge part to play in the continued success of the town.”

Craven District Council is also fully behind the BID, with the authority’s senior leadership giving its backing to a YES vote.

The council’s leader, Councillor Richard Foster, said: “Craven District Council’s Policy Committee has agreed to support the Skipton BID renewal proposals. 

“We believe the BID is of benefit to Skipton and this has a knock-on effect on the rest of the district too.

“Business Improvement Districts are increasingly seen as an essential tool for towns to compete in today’s economy.

“A successful BID vote would contribute to achieving the council’s priorities of Enterprising Craven and Resilient Communities – helping to stimulate business growth, improve the economic vitality of the district, enable active communities and improve residents’ quality of life.

“We have worked with Skipton BID on a number of collaborative projects over the years and believe that we are stronger when we all pull together as a community.”

Skipton county councillor Andy Solloway is also fully behind the BID.

“I’m happy to give my support for a positive result for the Skipton BID,” he said. 

“As the County Councillor for Skipton West Division which takes in the town centre, a continuation of this scheme will enable more exciting, real things to be done to further improve Skipton, benefiting residents, traders and visitors. 

“The BID has gone from strength to strength from what I’ve heard; let’s keep this up.”

Skipton BID manager Geraldine Thompson said she was very grateful for the continued support and help given by the councils.

“We work very closely with the local authorities, and we will obviously continue to do so if we get a third term,” she said.

“This co-operative approach is a very successful one, and allows us to put on great events and to give the support we give to the schemes we operate.

“Without the BID, though, it is very unlikely, particularly given their current financial constraints, that the councils would be able to carry on with these events and projects in the same way.”

Skipton Building Society Vote YES

The Skipton Building Society has been part of the fabric of the town for 165 years. Employing 1,500 at its headquarters at The Bailey the society is one of the biggest contributors to Skipton Business Improvement District. And it will have no hesitation in voting YES in the renewal ballot and continuing to support an organisation it believes is invaluable to the town.

Here, SBS chief executive David Cutter explains why the society is committed to the BID – and why every business on the ballot should vote YES.

“Skipton Building Society has held a strong presence in the town since 1853, so it only seemed natural for SBS to show its support and become one of the earliest supporters of Skipton BID when its first term commenced almost 10 years ago,” says David.

“Skipton will always be home to Skipton Building Society as its purpose and passion was born on the very cobbles of Sheep Street, and as one of the local businesses that has grown with the town, we want to continue to see the town prosper. Skipton BID is absolutely key in making that happen.

“Over the past few years, we have seen many improvements in the area – much of which is due to the contributions of the BID. Simple fixes, such as creating a cleaner and welcoming town, is down to the work of Skipton BID with some of the funding contribution going towards the cost of cleaning after the increasing number of events, and even painting the windows of empty shops so visitors are not welcomed by forgotten or neglected buildings. Skipton in Bloom is also working tirelessly to present a town of colour with new floral displays.

“Thanks to these simple initiatives the town is a brighter place, which no doubt contributed to Skipton being voted the ‘best place to live’ in a recent ‘happiness survey’. Naturally, this has a positive impact on the local businesses who are contributing to the BID.  At SBS, around half of our 1,500 employees who work at The Bailey live in the Craven area and if the environment they live in is a positive one, this, in turn, helps to attract and retain talent, which is essential for the long term sustainability of any business. 

“If we really want successful businesses it is paramount we prioritise the wellbeing of local people and a first step to this is improving the environment they are in, which Skipton BID is already well on the way to doing. 

“But not only does the environment help to improve the spirits of Skipton’s residents, being a part of a strong knit community also helps to improve state of mind, which is incredibly important with one of the rising modern day issues being mental health. Skipton BID really has played a significant role in pulling the community together with local events becoming bigger and better than ever before. Look at the Christmas Markets that took place over the first two weekends of December. Over both Sundays, the High Street played host to more than 60,000 people, with locals and visitors alike coming together to support local businesses as we welcomed the festive season. Community is exactly what Christmas is all about.

“At SBS we believe its important as a mutual to support and give back to the community. For example, each year we run our Grassroots Giving programme which provides over 160 groups with funding. These groups are chosen by local communities, so the fact that we can support the community through Skipton BID further affirms why we will vote ‘Yes

“The security of Skipton is also important. Thanks to the funding provided by the BID’s, CCTV cameras have been reintroduced to the high street for the first time in over 10 years, helping in the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour, which Skipton is not immune to. With the help of the Crime Reduction Partnership, radios have been provided to shops on the High Street, meaning they can keep in contact. For example, if one shop falls victim to shoplifting, the owners can raise the alarm and warn others, and the Police.

“There are many reasons why Skipton Building Society continues to support the Skipton BID and why others should follow suit, but we are not alone in our belief in the BID. When Skipton BID was first formed there were around 100 such initiatives across the country; now we are one of 300 BIDS which are thriving.

“Our neighbours are also seeing the benefit with Keighley, Otley, Harrogate and Ripon all forming their own BIDS, hoping to reap the benefits which Skipton already enjoys. We need to make sure Skipton does not fall behind and continues to rise and prosper.” 

Skipton Chamber of Trade supports the BID

Skipton Chamber of Trade and Commerce are fully behind the BID, and have no doubt that the levy is money well spent by its members.

Wendy Lee Griffin, Chamber co-ordinator, described Skipton BID as one of the leading examples of an organisation of its kind in the UK.

“Over the last ten years, its been fantastic to see how the business community funds have contributed to events and projects which have enhanced Skipton’s place in the nation’s heart,” she said.

“The Chamber loves to hear from visitors about how they came to a Skipton events and then returned, bringing more people with them.

“Skipton is repeatedly mentioned in the media as one of the happiest places to work and live, and it is a testament to the community spirit and support of the Skipton business community. Let’s continue the good work and vote for a BID third term.”

Wendy Lee Griffin

Skipton BID has long supported the Skipton Business Awards, providing foundation funding for the Skipton Chamber of Trade and Commerce event when it began in 2016.

Next year, it will be the headline sponsor for the awards.

Awards co-ordinator Wendy Lee Griffin said: “Thanks to the confirmation of headline sponsorship by the BID, the awards are secured for yet another year. 

“They provide a brilliant opportunity for companies in the area to showcase their quality products and services, offered both locally and around the world and we are really pleased that the BID is keen to invest again in championing local businesses this way.”

…more Business Support

A new raft of support measures for businesses in the town will be rolled out as part of Skipton BID’s third term.

The BID toolbox is designed to offer a wide portfolio of tools and training opportunities to all levy payers, and is a key part of the Business Plan for the third term.

Business Support – along with Attractive and Clean and Visit Skipton – is one of the three objectives that form the key planks of the BID Business Plan.

Skipton BID manager Geraldine Thompson stressed that this was an area that was going to be developed substantially in the third term.

“Over the last ten years, we have worked very hard at making Skipton a safer and more secure place to run a business and to live in and visit,” she said.

“Going forward, we will continue to do that – we’ve already committed to the installation of CCTV and we’ll continue to develop and improve the work we are doing with the Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership – but we also want to strengthen the other services we offer businesses.”

That already includes support with a grant finder programme and other business help and advice, as well as access to a huge support network of other members of Skipton BID – and members of all the other BIDs across the country.

“Going forward, we are going to develop our new ‘Toolbox’ of services and initiatives which will be available to levy payers either at no cost or at very favourable rates,” said Geraldine.

“That will offer a portfolio of free and heavily discounted business training opportunities and a range of subsidised business support tools – as well as things like grant-finding software, we’ll also offer access to HR advice and staffing and business support schemes.

“The BID will continue to contribute to the funding of footfall counters and other data capture services, and we will look to develop a ‘mystery shopper’ scheme to assist retail and other businesses.

“We will continue to support and develop schemes aimed at encouraging the use of local providers, and look at promotional trails and sector-related printed and online materials.”

 “As well as the CCTV system in the town centre and the Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership, with the BID funding and promoting the ‘ShopWatch’ radio scheme, the BID will also continue to give financial support to the S.T.A.N.D (Stopping Trouble and Night-time Disorder) scheme for licensed premises, and will continue to fund and develop the Town Centre Ambassador Scheme.

“We will also continue to fund and promote the ‘Best Bar None’ scheme for licensed premises and fund and promote additional security advice and assistance to levy payers.”

In total, the BID plans £250,000 worth of investment in the Business Support strand of the Business Plan over the next five-year term.

Happiest place in Yorkshire and Humberside

Skipton has been named as the happiest place in Yorkshire and Humberside in a new national survey.

The town is rated above Harrogate and York in the Rightmove happiness index, which looks at many factors including a sense of community and feeling of safety.

While few in the town will be surprised at the accolade, those behind Skipton BID believe that its work over the last ten years has played a significant part in improving the sense of wellbeing and quality of life that such surveys recognise.

Skipton has often been in the limelight for its high placing in such surveys, and last year was named the happiest place to live in Britain by the Office of National Statistics.

That title saw national television and press coverage, and even made headlines in the New York Times.

Amanda May

Amanda May, Branch Manager of Dale Eddison estate agents in the town, said Skipton has won accolade after accolade including being named the happiest place to live in Britain by the Office of National Statistics last year, being voted as the best place to retire in 2012, and named the best place to live by The Sunday Times in 2014.

And she said the work of the BID played a big part in helping to create the sense of community and vibrancy that makes the town such a special place.

“Here at Dale Eddison we talk to many people, locally and from away, who tell us why they’ve chosen Skipton, and we consistently hear that they warm to the sense of community and vibrancy felt here, not just in the town but in the surrounding area too,” she said.

“And for us, Skipton BID plays an enormous role in achieving that, which is why we wholeheartedly support the scheme. The BID brings events and support to the town’s businesses which permeate way beyond the High Street, into people’s homes and sense of enjoyment achieved from living here, and that makes for a happy, special and thriving environment.”

And one of the town’s biggest employers, Computershare Loan Services, also gave their backing to the work of the BID.

Chief Executive Officer Andrew Jones said: ”Skipton is well-placed to attract high-calibre employees, and provides a great business location for workers and visitors alike, given its train links and surrounding countryside.

“We are impressed by the work Skipton BID undertakes to support businesses such as ours in the town.”

BID Manager Geraldine Thompson says there is no doubt that Skipton is one of the best places in the country to live – but she stresses that it is something that has to be worked on.

“It was brilliant to see the whole town come together recently for the Christmas Lights switch on event, and that was a fantastic example of the sense of community Skipton has,” she said.

“But that event was only possible thanks to the commitment and hard work of many, many, people and individuals, including ourselves at the BID, Skipton Town Council, The Rotary Club of Skipton Craven, Pennine Cruisers Santa’s Grotto, Dacres Skipton, Stray FM and all the many people who gave up their time to get involved.”

She said the many other events throughout the year, including Sheep Day, Skipton Waterway Festival and the Skipton International Puppet Festival, were heavily supported by the BID – and would likely to be either reduced in scale or lost completely if the BID went.

Rightmove’s annual Happy at Home Index, which asks residents how happy they are where they live, is based on 12 happiness factors, and looks at 219 areas across Great Britain.
As well as being top in Yorkshire and Humberside, Skipton came out 15th overall for the whole country.

The happiness factors people include a sense of community spirit; feeling safe; sports and recreational activities; artistic and cultural activities; nature and green spaces; and amenities such as shops and restaurants.

In terms of safety, the BID played a key role in setting up and running the Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership and has recently funded the installation of CCTV cameras in the town.

Sgt Paul Evans of Skipton Police has said of the BID: “It’s been huge and really have made a big difference in helping us reduce crime and disorder in Skipton.”

The many events the BID supports, along with grants given to local organisations including Friends of Aireville Park for work on the brand new play area, The Coulthurst Craven Sports Centre for their all weather pitch, Team Ketchup for their Kids Comic Collective, Craven Development Education Centre and many more, contribute to both the artistic and cultural activities section and the recreational activities.

And the work funded by the support given to Skipton in Bloom undoubtedly contributes hugely to green spaces and amenities category.

“Skipton is a brilliant place to live and work. The people who live here already know that, and it’s growing reputation is one of the reasons people want to visit and come and live here,” said Geraldine.

“But we have to keep working on maintaining that quality of life. We want to be given the chance to invest £800,000 of BID levy money on improving the town still further over the next five years.

“And hopefully by the end of that period, we won’t just be regarded as the best place to live in Yorkshire, but as the best place to live in the whole country.”

Why I support the BID

David Roberts, of Hettie’s Café Bistro on High Street, is a keen supporter of the work of the BID.

“I’m unequivocal about my backing for the BID. It is not just for the people on the on the High Street retailer; typical footfall analysis shows how all businesses are affected by the percentage change in footfall, be that up or down wherever the business location.

“Without the BID there would be no centralised funding for the marketing of Skipton. The BID ensures that there is a meaningful, well-funded and coordinated voice feeding into the local authorities.

David Roberts owner of Hettie’s Café Bistro

“The BID’s work plays a large part in drawing people into the town. The cost of the levy is very, very cost effective.

“The work it does helps to make the town a much more pleasant environment, and that has got to have a positive impact on the quality of life of everyone who lives, works, visits and shops here.”