Our Aberdare BID levy member update late summer 2021

Thank you for your wonderful feedback on our planters that have been placed throughout Aberdare town and to those levy members who are watering and looking after the nearby flowers and foliage. One comment in particular really made us smile: ‘I could feel a smile coming on my face, and it wasn’t until I looked to the end of the street and my eyes took in all the planters ahead of me in Market Street that I realised it was all the lovely flowers that was making me beam. It really does make my walk back to the bus station enjoyable!’

So our Look & Feel projects are now coming to fruition and here’s an update across all our pledges:

  1. Look & Feel
  2. Marketing & Events
  3. Information & Communication
  4. Access & Parking

Look & Feel

Planters, empty units, mural and welcome signs

Planters

The planters with vibrant flowers throughout the Aberdare BID levy zone are almost all in place and the positive impact they have had is fabulous.

Again, much thanks to the business owners and staff who have kindly agreed to keep the flowers watered with our Our Aberdare BID branded watering cans that were kindly donated by Wilko branch manager Lisa Monks as part of their ‘helping hands’ community fund (#lovewilko).

We are still looking for volunteers to help keep the fixed planters in Duke Street car park watered – can you help? We can provide watering equipment if needed – please get in touch with Dawn.

Empty units – art installation

Great thanks to local artists and photographers who have been working on the art installation and to the owner of the old Poundstretcher unit who has kindly given us use of the property. The art installation will be going in early September and will depict the architecture and countryside of Aberdare and it’s twin towns Montélimar and Ravensburg.

Empty Units – window coverings

We are in communication with local estate agent Apex to see if we can gain approval from landlords with empty properties on Canon Street and Commercial Street to put up window coverings in their units whilst they are vacant.

Empty and closed units

Great news that Candy Hut UK is now open, a new barber in the old Emmaus shop is on it’s way and the British Red Cross is repairing their shop front – all in Cardiff Sreet. A relatively new shop in Market Street has also opened – Sparkling Designs for You. Also, clothing store ‘Outlet’ will be opening in the next few weeks in the Old Burton’s on Canon Street. In addition, we are yet to find out who will be moving into the old Profile unit on Cardiff Street. We have also heard that Delico Deli in Commercial Street will be re-opening soon and it’s looking great!

Further info of a vegan café opening in Commercial Street is eagerly awaited and we understand that there has been interest in the old Nat West building on Victoria Square since it’s recent refurbishment by the owner which is positive.

RCTCBC funded Art Mural – end of Commercial Street & Cenotaph bollards

We are waiting to hear from RCTCBC what funding they have agreed for a mural to the side wall of Gamebox at the end of Commercial Street. We would like ideas from local artists as to how they feel this can be decorated. This is a great opportunity to make an eye-catching feature to pull people to town and increase footfall!

RCTCBC responded really quickly in our report that some bollard footings had started crumbling away and these have now been fixed and looking good again.

Welcome signs

We recently attended a very productive meeting with RCTCBC and Highways regarding the ‘Welcome to Aberdare’ signs to be installed. Following on from site visits last week, Highways have confirmed that the new welcome signs will be installed by the end of September/start of October.

The signs will be sited on the A4059 before the roundabout coming into Aberdare town and on the bypass adjacent to Tesco, ahead of the roundabout into town.

Marketing & Events

Promotion of Aberdare, training workshops, fiver fest & forthcoming events

Promotion of Aberdare town

Our Aberdare BID continues to promote it’s levy member businesses via social media, and is also making contact with local/commercial agents, and property owners in relation to the appearance of shops and business premises to further improve the look and feel of Aberdare town. In addition, we are working with local marketing expert Helen Davies who is formulating a marketing plan to ensure that all aspects of the BID’s projects for improvement are promoted and communicated effectively.

Flyers

Flyers promoting Aberdare town are being distributed to local residents at the start of September 2021. The flyers contain a map of town with notable landmarks, along with surrounding points of interest such as Aberdare Park – including the Splash Pad, Dare Valley Country Park – including Dare Valley Gravity bike pump tracks, Zip World Tower, Ty Neweydd Hotel, Penderyn Distillery, Waterfall Country and Brecon Beacons National Park.

The flyers contain a QR code that links straight to our business directory that shows just under 200 of our levy members’ businesses.

Training workshops

We want to provide you with training workshops to help promote your business. These workshops need to be aimed at the right level for our levy members and so that they are a good use of time, effective AND provide value.

Therefore, we are looking for a few levy members to provide some feedback as to what help you need to market your business online. Please email Dawn if you would like to take part.

Totally Local – Fiver Fest

Our Aberdare BID is now registered to take part in the next Fiver Fest event that takes place Saturday 9 – Saturday 23 October 2021.

The event enables businesses to provide an offer for £5 that can be promoted both online and in printed materials. Our Aberdare BID will provide you with posters for you to display in shop windows/til points, etc promoting your offer.

This is a great opportunity to further promote our town’s shops and businesses.

Litter picking events in partnership with Keep Wales Tidy

In advance of scheduling some litter picking events, Maria, Project Officer at Keep Wales Tidy kindly carried out a walk-round of the BID levy zone with us. It highlighted how clean and tidy Aberdare town and it’s surrounding streets actually are, with very minimal rubbish, PPE or dog mess on the pavements. In addition we saw bins being used by several members of the younger community.

Areas where rubbish has accumulated is on private or council owned ‘waste ground’/bushes and so Maria has kindly offered to report this ‘fly tipping’ to RCTCBC. Also, Maria will ask the council to carry out a survey of the rubbish picked at street level as this will help us identify where litter picks are best to be carried out. We will keep you posted – in the meantime, please let us know of any litter/fly tip problem areas in town.

Winter/Christmas event

Although there are many, and ever-changing Covid regulations currently involved in organising events, a winter event would be a welcome celebration in Aberdare town. Therefore, we are looking for volunteers to help plan a Christmas event, starting this September 2021. Please contact Dawn if you have time to spare to take part.

Caradog 150th celebration July 2022

A steering group made up of volunteers from various local organisations is now leading the organisation of next year’s 150th Caradog choral celebration.

Our Aberdare BID will look to arrange it’s own events in town during the Caradog anniversary festivities and if you would like to be involved in the organisation of these events, then please contact Dawn.

Information & Communication

Our Aberdare BID communication, kickstart placements, voluntary levy member sign up, funding and working with WG & RCTCBC

Our Aberdare BID communication

Keeping our levy members informed about Our Aberdare BID’s projects for improvement is key. If you see our updates on social media, however you are not receiving regular email updates then please do let us know. Our levy member contact database has grown significantly, however we still do not have everyone’s contact details so please sign up if you have not done so already.

In addition, there is an Our Aberdare BID Facebook group solely for BID levy members so that information can be shared quickly in addition to you receiving monthly newsletters. Please click to join the group so you can keep informed and share any info you feel is relevant to other levy members, or will be of use for the BID all round. We also ask for your social media posts to be shared here so that we can share them on the Our Aberdare BID Facebook page – likes for this page has increased over 450% in 6 months and continues to grow, so let us help you reach a wider audience.

Also, if you have any good news to share, pop it on the Facebook Group page for all to see, and/or let me know for inclusion in our newsletters.

If you need to report any matters of concern then did you know that you can tweet South Wales police for non-emergency issues? You can still call 101, however, we found that there was a really quick response via Twitter. Plus, the more that is reported via 101, the more the Police will attend as they have the statistics to show attendance/presence is needed.

In addition, if you would like to have regular levy member meetings then I can arrange these every 1-3 months. The time can be used for Q&A, to give feedback on projects for improvement, information sharing, etc. A poll on the levy member Facebook group has been posted in the first instance to obtain interest.

Kickstart placements

We’re really pleased to announce that the kickstart placements ,we applied to the DWP for in June 2021 are now being advertised in Job Centres and through Job Coaches. If you know of any 16-24 year olds in receipt of Universal Credit and are in long-term unemployment, that are looking for part time work, then we have vacancies are for a ‘marketing support’ and ‘grant funding support’ – both are 6 month placements.

Applicants must apply via their Job Coach/Job Centre.

Voluntary levy member sign up

Our Aberdare BID’s voluntary levy member sign up form is now available. If you know of anyone that has a business within the BID levy zone and they are interested in becoming a levy member, please let them know. A new voluntary levy member gave this reason as to why they signed up:

“Our Aberdare BID has successfully managed to maintain contact with small businesses in Aberdare during lockdown and has provided essential help and guidance on all manner of things.

…particularly knowledgeable about the local business network and encourages collaboration between businesses to ensure that the Aberdare economy thrives.

I am particularly interested in becoming a part of the Levy group as I know that the networking possibilities are huge and collaboration is what we should all be about. I am eager to benefit from the wealth of experience and skills this town and its businesses have to offer.”.

Funding latest

In addition to our first round of funding from Pen y Cymoedd being released for the procurement of planters throughout town, we have also been awarded £250 from Interlink RCT’s micro grant for the printing of marketing materials to help promote Aberdare town. This funding could be used to attract shoppers, visitors and tourists during the Fiver Fest event in October 2021.

There has been a further delay in the approval process for the UK Government’s Levelling Up, Community Renewal Fund and as such, we are yet to hear if we have been successful in our partnership application with Wales Cooperative Centre to fund the Aberdare business incubator ‘hub’. As soon as we hear more we will let you know.

Last week, RCTCBC’s prosperity and regeneration team invited representatives from Your Pontypridd BID, Love Treorchy BID and Our Aberdare BID to a meeting regarding Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns Fund. The specific part of this fund is to help develop large empty units for ‘Meanwhile Projects’.

This means making use of large empty premises in Aberdare town centre that can be quickly sectioned into smaller units for pop up, temporary businesses to test out a ‘bricks and mortar’ setting.

The funding can enable test-trading opportunities emerging and/or home based businesses that will complement and/or enhance existing shops and businesses within Aberdare town.

‘The fund is revenue based and can provide up to 100% intervention for eligible costs, however the funding must be spent within the 2021-22 financial year, meaning any projects will need to be completed and their impact evaluated by 31 March 2022.’

The deadline for applications is 8 September 2021 and so much work is being done to ensure that  appropriate properties and the right types of businesses can be identified.

CLICK FOR FUNDING & INFORMATION TO SUPPORT YOUR BUSINESS

Working with WG and RCTCBC

Our Aberdare BID’s next meeting with Cynon MS, Vikki Howells takes place early September 2021. We use this opportunity to see how we can lobby on issues that matter to our levy members and the regeneration of Aberdare town. At our last meeting, Vikki suggested posing the subject of paid town parking vs supermarket free parking at the Senedd. We will let you know when we have more information on this.

In addition to representatives from RCTCBC’s prosperity & regeneration team attending Our Aberdare BID board meetings, we also have quarterly strategic meetings in place to enable the BID and the council to work together on issues and making decisions aside of our projects for improvement. Latest funding opportunities such as Transforming Towns and Audit Wales’ recent review are important matters for discussion.

Access & Parking

ACCESS & PARKING

We are working on a petition for better parking, however in the meantime it will be good to know how you feel the change of free parking from 10:00 to from 15:00 has been and how it’s impacted your business.

Also, are there any parking/traffic issues in particular that you feel could be addressed?

Our Aberdare BID is currently made up of 6 board members (2 of which are directors of Our Aberdare Limited), and one part time BID manager. All board members give up their free time to help make decisions on projects at meetings held approximately every 6 weeks.

Our annual general meeting will be held near the end of 2021 where board members will be appointed/re-appointed.

Our Aberdare business improvement district BID footfall customers projects TEAM PEN Y CYMOEDD VISION FUND AWARD £25K

If you would like to become involved in any of our projects, please contact Dawn.

If you would like to receive regular updates please sign up.

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