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.
“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.”