What is the BID?
The BID is – in essence – a local fundraising scheme. Money is collected by the council and then re-invested within the area to deliver a better looking and safer environment as well as a series of events and activities throughout the year with associated marketing campaigns to draw in more shoppers and visitors.
Of the 600+ businesses in the Hastings BID area around 450 are above the £5,000 rateable value threshold that triggers a payment, and the average annual contribution is around £300. Many businesses pay as little as £120 per year, whilst a small number of larger ones pay several thousand each.
In total the BID levy provides some £190,000 per year after collection costs, and on top of this the BID company (Love Hastings Ltd) generates approximately £30,000 extra in grants and other income.
Where does the money go?
The BID’s cash budget is broadly allocated for the next financial year as follows:
- Christmas lights: £15,000
- Summer planting £15,000
- Public art projects £15,000
- Events £35,000
- Marketing £13,000
- Market research £3,000
- Security patrols £15,000
- ShopWatch / BarWatch subsidy £6,500
- Office rent, professional fees, and overheads £12,500
- Sundry costs £3,500
The BID also directly employs three staff who are overseen by a voluntary board of directors drawn from the local business community
The BID manager fullfills the former role of ‘town centre manager’ as well as planning and co-ordinating the BID’s day to day operations, seeking new funding opportunities, and working with partner agencies such as the council and the police to ensure adequate resources are available to keep the area properly maintained and safe. This role also involves co-ordination of the local BarWatch and ShopWatch schemes.
Alongside the BID manager the company employs an events and marketing co-ordinator who looks after town centre bookings, organises and oversees large scale events run by the BID (such as the Christmas lights switch on night) and works with other event organisers to ensure they are following guidelines and are properly licensed and insured. This job also includes managing the website and social media feeds for the BID and creating all of the marketing materials used to promote the area.
The BID also employs a business ambassador who is the ‘face’ of the town and spends most of his time patroling the area and ensuring that the local environment is kept clean and safe. He is responsible for notifying the appropriate agencies of any problems and ensuring these are fixed as quickly as possible. He also works closely with members of ShopWatch and BarWatch to keep shoplifting and anti-social behaviour to a minimum.