May Day has for generations been a date of celebration. It was the ancient festival of Spring greeted with singing, outdoor feasts and dancing around the maypole. For reasons of COVID-19, this year’s celebrations were a little more muted.
Yet, government chose the date to celebrate and show support for the BID industry. Ministers confirmed what the BID industry had known all along; that it is more important now than ever before.
After several weeks of discussions, British BIDs was able to announce the creation of a new £6.1 million BID Resilience Fund. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) commented that BIDs had proven their “crucial role” during the COVID-19 crisis, offering hands-on support to those businesses affected, including advice services, increased security to protect businesses that have closed, and providing key intelligence to local and central government on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on their local economies.
The money will be with local authorities imminently and Bb will act to support BIDs in claiming their share, starting with a series of webinars this week. If you want to learn more by joining the sessions, you can email email@example.com or call us on 0845 112 0118.
But it was another section of the government announcement that caught the eye of some:
“BIDs bring developers and communities together to provide local leadership, drive regeneration and deliver projects and additional local services.”
As government and local authorities slowly adjust their focus onto the managed and safe lifting of restrictions in commercial districts, our 320-strong BID industry must remember that it is about much more than ‘safer, cleaner and greener’. It is a network of place leaders who, not only manage locations, but act to inspire and implement real change at the local level. Therefore, in the coming weeks, BIDs must be at the very heart of the discussions about post COVID-19, rather than just responding to decisions made by others.
The newly released Bb BID Barometer evidenced the real value of this network. As at 31st March 2020 there were a record 328 UK BIDs, including 131,570 businesses and investing over £130,000,000 a year. No one is doubting that the next few months will be challenging, but BIDs are a force for good and the value of our industry is there for all to see.