Our Aberdare BID winter 2021
The look and feel of town has seen a transformation since the installation of large planters with bright flowers and attractive spiral bushes. We continue to receive such positive comments about them and particularly recently when seasonal colour planting took place just before Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.
In addition, there was a real buzz throughout town where traders took part in fiver fest.
Find out more about the projects for improvement for Aberdare:
Look & Feel
Planters, welcome signs and empty units
Our team of ‘planters carers’ volunteers is growing and we owe great thanks to those who go round each week, checking on them and re-planting, dead-heading, etc. We also have a team of dedicated levy members who kindly keep the plants watered every day.
We also continue to work with South Wales Police with the support from local traders who submit CCTV footage to SWP101 of vandalism to the planters.
We had hoped that our ‘welcome to Aberdare’ signs would be installed by now, however we have been notified by RCTCBC that ‘the council’s signing team are extremely busy at the moment and unfortunately they must prioritise the jobs that they undertake based on the their impact to the general public and road safety…’. This is disappointing, however we will continue to work with the council to move things along as soon as possible.
It is refreshing to hear wonderful comments regarding the art installation on Cardiff Street and that it brightened up people’s walk to work as they saw the installation develop over time.
On a positive note, the number of empty units has decreased over the year as more businesses start to open up in town and so our project to put up bright coloured window coverings is now on a smaller scale. Some of the more notable, larger empty units such as the old Black Lion and The Boot do not have windows and so cannot be included in the project, however we continue to lobby RCTCBC and Welsh Government to engage with owners of such vacant properties that require maintenance, and/or repair.
Marketing & Events
Promotion of Aberdare, Fiver Fest, video promotion, loyalty schemes and Christmas events
Promotion of Aberdare town
Our Aberdare BID continues to promote its levy member businesses via social media. We want to help our local traders to promote their products, services and business so that we can showcase Aberdare and all it offers to locals, visitors and tourists. We carry out walk rounds of town each week to chat to our levy members and traders to find out what is important to them and ask for their ideas and suggestions to help improve Aberdare town as a whole.
We encourage traders and business owners to use hashtags #ouraberdarebid and #Aberdare in their content as this will also help increase awareness of the shops and businesses in town and can help towards increase footfall. Another great free way to get your business seen and for people to see where you are on the map is to use Google – see local business, Sgor Marketing’s post on how to claim your Google My Business listing!
Totally Locally – Fiver Fest 2021
Fiver Fest in October 2021 really helped increase our awareness as a town that has many great independent retailers, cafes, pubs, restaurants and businesses. Totally Locally recent held their ‘Fivies’ awards for those who took part in the national event. It would be great if Aberdare can win an award next time round!
Feedback from levy members, traders and locals shows that taking part in Fiver Fest was a great success. Some traders noted that they saw an increase of new customers they hadn’t seen before and others told us how our participation of the event was creating a buzz on social media, even by those living further afield. We want to know if you’d like Aberdare to take part in the next Fiver Fest event, and if so what would you like to see your favourite shops and businesses offering?
Video promotion of Aberdare independent retailers and businesses
Local digital marketing and branding company, Tantrwm Digital Media kindly gifted the BID with some video production services to showcase a variety of Aberdare’s independent shops and businesses. Working with a handful of ‘champions’ across the town centre, Tantrwm’s kickstart video production placement will be going round Aberdare carrying out interviews and taking footage of the town and surrounding areas and attractions for us to use to promote our lovely town.
We are looking into various loyalty schemes available in order to provide our levy members with the best value options for customers. We are also trialing Aberdare branded postcards for independent retailers to hand out with purchases – what a novelty to send a loved one a message in the post…retro! A booklet listing our levy members’ businesses could also work well – what loyalty schemes keep you returning to your favourite shop, café, pub or business?
After discussions with RCTCBC regarding planning events in line with current Covid guidelines and restrictions, we took the decision to make plans for next year to put on a Christmas event with ‘wow’ factor. In addition, we will work with RCTCBC to put up better Christmas lighting and other decorations for Xmas 2022.
For Christmas 2021, we are working with St Elvan’s Church to help support and fund their Christmas events – including their Santa’s Grotto, and lighting and decorations in and around the church.
Next year, we will also invite traders to take part in a Christmas window display competition. We would like to incorporate this window display into an engaging Christmas trail around the Our Aberdare BID levy zone for people of all ages to enjoy.
Other local events and info include; Cynon Linc’s Santa’s Grotto and other Christmas events, Cynon Valley Museum for locally made Christmas cards, and the council’s meet Santa event in Aberdare Library.
With free parking throughout Aberdare town from 01 – 31 December AFTER 10:00, you can also help your local independent traders by shopping locally at Christmas time as well as enjoying all the festivities on offer.
Information & Communication
Our Aberdare BID communication, reporting crime, fly tipping, voluntary levy member sign up, funding latest, working with WG and RCTCBC
Our Aberdare BID communication
Keeping our levy members informed about Our Aberdare BID’s projects for improvement and matters that are important to them is key. If you’re an Our Aberdare BID levy member payer and you’re not receiving our emails, please let Dawn know or please sign up. We also continue to provide information via social media as well as our kind volunteer Carolyn who helps to share or levy member social media posts. We encourage traders and business owners to use hashtags #ouraberdarebid and #Aberdare in their content as this will also help increase awareness of the shops and businesses in town and can help towards increase footfall.
Also, if you tag the Our Aberdare BID page on your posts then we will receive notification and can share your post ASAP.
As well as our weekly walk-rounds in town where we pop in and speak to levy members, we can arrange meetings if there is anything in particular levy members would like to discuss. These can be small groups or one to one and the time can be used general Q&A, to give feedback on projects for improvement, information sharing, ideas for future projects to benefit the whole town, etc.
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. There is also a ‘report it’ section on SWP’s website where you can report crimes, issues and incidents.
We also attend Town Centre Forums that SWP, RCTCBC and RCT & Merthyr Business Crime Reduction Partnership (RCT&M BCRP) attend and we challenge the current policing provision in our town on behalf of our levy members. We will also soon be sending out information to levy members regarding registration with RCT&M BCRP.
If you’ve reported anything to SWP recently and want to give feedback on your experience then you can complete their online survey.
During our weekly walk-rounds in town, we take pictures of any fly tipping we see and report it directly to RCTCBC. If you see any areas in town that require rubbish to be cleared away then please do take pictures and email into the council – just taking a minute or two to report it will mean that the council can clear it away which will improve the look and feel of town.
If you are a trader in the BID levy zone and would like to become a member, then you can join by completing the Our Aberdare BID’s voluntary levy member sign up form.
Great news! We have been successful with our partnership application with Wales Cooperative Centre to fund the Aberdare business incubator ‘hub’. UK Government’s Levelling Up, Community Renewal Fund – more information about this will follow soon.
Working with WG and RCTCBC
Our Aberdare BID’s regularly meets with Cynon MS, Vikki Howells. We use these meetings to lobby on issues that matter to our levy members and the regeneration of Aberdare town. As mentioned in our previous emails to you, we are lobbying for a level playing field in out of town free parking versus in town paid parking. We are also challenging planning approval for a second Lidl that is being built on the Tirfounder Fields, Riverside site as we feel approval for this site does not fit into Welsh Government’s “Town Centres First” approach and in particular, where Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Climate Change’s states “Our Town Centre First principle, embedded in Wales’ national development plan Future Wales, means that town and city centre sites should be the first consideration for all decisions on the location of workplaces and services.” as well as the the recent Audit Wales’ recent review that “Call for all levels of government to step up to help make town centres sustainable.”.
We also continue to work with RCTCBC in relation to dilapidated buildings owned by private landlords, especially as Welsh Government keen for local authorities to use powers available to them to instruct property owners to repair and serve Section 215 notices that Planning Enforcement Officers issue, where possible.
Working with Cynon Valley Museum, Cynon Linc and St Elvan’s
Our Aberdare BID now also meets with other community hubs within the Our Aberdare BID levy zone, so that we can share relevant information and become unified in projects for the benefit of the whole community and regeneration of town.
Access & Parking
ACCESS & PARKING
As part of being a ‘stronger voice’ for our 260+ paying BID levy members, we help to make Aberdare traders’ voices heard on matters that are important to them and the success of our town.
We have submitted a parking proposal on behalf of Welsh BID towns to Welsh Government’s Ministerial Action Group to level the playing field of out of town free parking versus in town paid parking. We continue to raise this issue at regular meetings with Cynon MS, Vikki Howells.
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.
The BID’s first annual general meeting takes place Tues 07 Dec 2021 at 09:00 at Cynon Linc, where board members will be appointed/re-appointed.