In amongst it, we are battling against the cost of living and the need to recover from the recent years of struggle.
For me, December is an opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed, the trials and tribulations, in the hope that as we move forward into 2023, our plans will be well positioned to deliver against your needs both in the short and long term.
While we began to see some signs of recovery at the beginning of the year, the impact of rising living costs has overshadowed optimism, lowering consumer confidence and spending levels as we all look to cut back on our spending in the run-up to Christmas and beyond.
While there is no doubt that we all face difficult circumstances, we must work together to find solutions to support all sectors of our economy, whether it is protecting and representing businesses or offering a level of kindness and caring to our society.
The simple offer of kindness and caring at Christmas is in our gift to provide. In its simplest form, it costs nothing. A smile, a chat, or an ear to listen can be so important as the festive season fast approaches.
I don’t know about you, but I love to laugh. I love to make others laugh. I love smiling and chatting, and any act of kindness, no matter how small, brings me joy in the hope that I have brightened someone’s day.
This Christmas, we have launched our Random Acts of Kindness campaign. Simply put, ‘kindness is free, let’s pass it on’. We are collaborating with businesses throughout the town centre to provide surprises that we hope will bring people joy and happiness during the festive season.
The campaign launched on Saturday 26th November 2022, with several free adult tickets to enter Flip Out Croydon. To lift spirits on Sunday, Art and Craft CR0 offered free drinks courtesy of the Random Acts of Kindness Campaign. Simple gestures that have a big impact. The campaign will continue until Christmas Eve.
We have partnered with Centrale Shopping Centre to offer a special £1 per visit car parking offer every Sunday from November 27th to November 18th, 2022. Our shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes, like those in many other towns and cities across the country, have been hit hard by the country’s economic downturn. Some have unfortunately closed their doors. While we want to make parking more affordable for people, we also want to attract the footfall our businesses desperately need this Christmas in the hope that we can retain our current offer in to 2023.
While we would all like to see fewer vacant units and more offers on our streets, we must work together to keep what we have. From BOXPARK Croydon through to Marks & Spencer, H&M, House of Fraser (including Hugo Boss, MAC, All Saints and many more), River Island, Pandora, New Look, Waterstones, The Entertainer, Zara, Primark, Next (not forgetting Bath and Bodyworks), Monsoon and Accessorize, Superdry, JD Sports, Mr. Fox, Wendy’s, Bagatti’s, Ludoquist, Slug and Lettuce, Art and Craft CR0, Spread Eagle, Green Dragon, Matthews Yard, Nando’s and the soon to arrive Popeyes! The point is simple. While things could always be better, they could also be much worse.
Once you have parked the car, jumped off the tram, train, bus or had a rest after your walk in, why not head over to the Whitgift Centre for a skate on the Roller Rink? You can book in for the Gingerbread workshops or visit Santa’s Grotto.
Those of you who will know me, will know that I am impatient. I am ambitious for Croydon. I want growth and improvement. In reflection, this year has seen some incredibly positive moments. I have two standouts.
The first is the introduction of the Croydon BID Street Ranger team. We made a very clear commitment as part of our operational plan to focus on the safety and security and look and feel of the town centre. We have now completed the recruitment of the Street Ranger team and are starting to see real, tangible results, supporting businesses on the ground with issues relating to crime and anti-social behaviour.
The second and unbelievably fun were the inflatables on buildings across the town centre. Eyes, sticking out of a tree, grim fingers at LSBU and the lizard at the Ruskin Square Car park were just some of the highlights. The wonderful reaction from businesses and residents coupled with the national media coverage just bought a feel-good vibe to the town centre.
Croydon BID has also changed. Our team has grown to enable us to deliver against your needs. Our new team of Street Rangers have come in alongside Kayleigh Paget who is all things marketing, Daniel Becker our Operations Executive and Sinead Johnston who oversees the smooth running of our office. The team has always shown its commitment to the cause and will continue to do so as we grapple with some of the pressures in 2023.
We are determined to make a difference, to improve the quality of our town centre, and to provide you and your business with the assistance you require to operate to your full potential.
In January 2023, we will be launching the Croydon BID Economic Recovery Strategy which will sit alongside our Business Plan 2022-2027. Our Economic Recovery Strategy will outline a roadmap of collective partnership working designed to deliver for the town centre across the next four years as we look to reimagine and reshape our prospects for the future together.