Business

Bristol City Centre BID salutes firms that went the extra mile during lockdown

An organisation working to make Bristol a better place for those who work, study, and live in the city has hailed the local firms that went the ‘extra mile’ during lockdown.

The Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District also revealed how it continued to deliver its core services over the challenging time while also promoting all the transformations Bristol businesses had undergone.

Head of City Centre BID, Vicky Lee, explained: “Every business has been affected by the pandemic over the last 18 months.

“We’ve seen some remarkable examples of businesses innovating and developing to respond to the needs of their customers and clients.

“So we take our hats off to the extraordinary resilience shown by each and every individual – true spirit and strength have shone through this completely unexpected and challenging time.

“If you live in Bristol, you know that the city has a strong and resilient character and the people that live, work and study here are magnetised by that feeling.”

As such, the City Centre BID is surely the perfect sponsor for the new Business in the Face of Adversity special award at the Bristol Live Business Awards 2021.

Rising to the challenge

The City Centre BID is funded through a levy on businesses and organisations within its area. The team is motivated by its love for the city and all that it offers.

Vicky said: “We are very fortunate to work delivering improvements to the city driven by the needs of businesses.

“Like all firms, we adapted what we do and how we do it with the varying impacts of the pandemic. Working from home became normal and thousands of others adapted and responded to the challenges that brought.

“Those businesses that couldn’t do that needed to find new ways to keep their brands and businesses alive and their staff employed wherever possible.

“Examples included the launch of many restaurants online, with delivery services, cooking and cocktails at home. Our retail shops had to adapt to online-only, with greater demand than ever and didn’t they all rise to the challenge?”

Showcasing Bristol

From the outset of the pandemic, the City Centre BID remained focused on supporting its levy payers, delivering core services while also promoting all the transformations Bristol businesses had undergone.

In March 2020, in collaboration with Bristol City Council, Broadmead BID and Visit Bristol, it started work on its ‘BristolTogether’ recovery campaign.

Vicky said: “The campaign promoted the City Centre BID area as safe and welcoming with a series of place-making initiatives.

“The first in June last year was ‘Hearts in Parks’ – 374 socially distanced hearts in Queen Square, College Green and Castle Park.

“This was followed in August by our ‘Follow your Heart’ trails, boasting over 1,000 rainbow-coloured hearts to explore across the city centre.

“Then, last December, there was the ‘Bristol Advent’ures’ festive arts project, illuminating 24 iconic locations across the city.

“All these memorable events attracted extensive coverage in the media and showcased Bristol in a positive light at this very challenging time.”

Safe reopening

By March this year, and following three national lockdowns, the City Centre BID made detailed plans with the city council and other partners to support the safe reopening of the city centre and enhance the experience already being planned by businesses.

Vicky said: “We recognised the need to attract people back to the city, but also that they needed to feel confident and safe.

“Some would be more cautious than others, but most would want to reconnect with the Bristol experiences they had missed at home.

“We summed this up as ‘love the Bristol you have missed’ and got to work on our #LoveBristol campaign, inviting everyone to ‘Love Bristol’ as the roadmap dates rolled out.”

Positive response

The socially distanced hearts helped attract people back to the city’s green spaces

In April, as non-essential retail, hairdressers, spas and outdoor hospitality opened, the City Centre BID reinstated the socially distanced hearts back into Bristol’s parks and in Broadmead.

Vicky said: “The response was really positive with many of the city’s green spaces being used and enjoyed.

“In May, to support the restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, theatres, museums, cinemas, gyms and hotels that were opening, we launched the next phase of the #LoveBristol campaign with ‘Love Songs to the City’, where 20 love song lyrics were hung around the city.

Bristol City Centre BID salutes firms that went the extra mile during lockdown
The Bristol City Centre BID installed giant disco balls and illuminated song lyrics in a number of locations

“To celebrate the re-opening of the night-time economy in July, we launched the latest phase of the #LoveBristol campaign to add a little sparkle to the city especially for the businesses that were opening for the first time in 16 months.

“We installed a series of giant disco balls in a number of locations within our later night-time economy businesses.

“We also illuminated our love songs and got to work capturing through various media channels this very key moment in time.”

The work continues

Life may be beginning to return to normal but that certainly doesn’t mean the work of the Bristol City Centre BID is over.

Vicky said: “Our #LoveBristol campaign is a continuing initiative that sees the city working together to support retailers, hospitality, businesses and the community to recover from the pandemic.

“We’re also still working to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour, as well as creating a cleaner, greener city, with improved wayfinding and parking.

“In short, the Bristol City Centre BID continues to spearhead innovative solutions to help and support Bristol businesses – so watch this space!”

Bristol City Centre BID salutes firms that went the extra mile during lockdown

Find out more?

For further information about the Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District and how it’s responding to its levy payers’ needs, see the website, as well as the Broadmead BID and Visit Bristol sites.

Nominations for the Bristol Live Business Awards close on Monday, September 27. The glittering awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, December 15. For more details and to nominate, see the website.

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