Newsletter Sign up
Mobile Menu

STRATFORD BID UNVEILS REVIEW RESULTS

23
Jul 2018

 

STRATFORD BID UNVEILS REVIEW RESULTS AS BUSINESSES HAVE THEIR SAY

Stratford's Business Improvement District (BID) does a good job but it will need to change like any business to adapt to the economic realities facing our high streets and town centres.  These were the key messages to come out of a six-month review into the work of Stratforward in the run up to its quest to be revoted in for a third term later this year.

Stratforward is one of more than 280 BIDs in the UK - a business-led private/public sector organisation charged with helping a designated area to maximise its business potential. In Stratford, the BID is coming to the end of its second five-year term and the 430 businesses who make up the membership are set to vote for a third term in September. A ‘yes’ vote will see it continue for a further five years. A ‘no’ vote will see it disbanded.

The review has comprised a major consultation exercise with a written questionnaire and individual meetings as well as a series of surveys focused on events in the town to assess impact on trade. The results of the review were unveiled at two final consultation meeting with members yesterday (Tuesday) at Hotel du Vin in Stratford.

The consultation exercise, which began in February, asked businesses for their feedback on four key areas of Stratforward's work: hosting, events/promotion, savings and representation/advocacy. Eight in ten (82%) respondents said marketing and events were the two most important aspects of Stratforward's work for their businesses - key to attracting footfall and customers into the town to spend.

Three quarters (76%) thought Stratforward’s Town Hosts are vital to the continued success of the town. The three-man team that pounds the streets 363 days of the year: answer questions from locals and visitors; act as the 'eyes and ears' of the emergency services on the ground dealing with first aid and security/anti social behaviour incidents daily; run Bardwatch as part of the Warwickshire Retail Crime Initiative which links into the towns CCTV and radio link system, involving over 100 businesses in keeping the town safe; run the educational ambassador tours for front-line staff from businesses, and help control buskers and instances of begging in the town. 

Sixty three per cent of businesses highlighted saving schemes for their staff run by Stratforward as important. The BID operates several discounted parking schemes for staff and a business-to-business discount initiative that can save individual staff hundreds of pounds a year.

Around six in ten businesses (57%) said business savings schemes operated by the BID were important. Some businesses save thousands of pounds a year thanks to the joint procurement scheme Stratforward operates for things like utilities and merchant services. Finally, just under half (45%) said Stratforward’s role in representing businesses’ voice with stakeholders such as councils, business organisations and tourist bodies is important.

Looking ahead to BID3, the vast majority of businesses that responded (87%) thought Stratforward's main job needed to be to promote the town. Hosting and representing the voice of businesses were the next two most important tasks, with around two thirds (66% and (64% respectively) highlighting this. Just over half (52%) of respondents said savings were key to them.

Additional survey work related to the first three major town events of the year - Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations, The Stratford Festival of Motoring and The River Festival - to look at both positive and negative impacts of events on business.

Around eight in ten businesses (82%) who responded to the survey on Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations, run by a committee headed by the town and district councils, thought they gave a positive impression of Stratford. However, one in ten businesses (10.19%) felt the opposite. Asked about their views on impact on footfall to the town, just over half of respondents (53%) agreed the event had a positive impact on footfall to the town. Just under one in five disagreed (18%).

Businesses were then asked for feedback on the Stratford Festival of Motoring, which saw some BID members enjoy record-breaking days over the early May Bank Holiday weekend. Around eight in ten respondents (81%) to the survey on the Stratforward-organised event thought it gave a positive impression of the town. Just 6% disagreed. Similarly, 87% said they felt it had a positive impact on footfall with just 6% disagreeing. Over half of businesses (53%) felt they had gained new customers as a result of the festival.

Businesses were also asked for their views on Stratforward's recent award-winning River Festival, which always attracts record numbers of people to Stratford for a weekend of free music, fun and food.

Eight in ten businesses (81%) felt the festival gave a positive impression of Stratford, with just 15% disagreeing. Over two thirds (69%) agreed the event had a positive effect on footfall to the town while 10% said it did not. Six in ten (60%) felt some kind of benefit from the festival, with 10% saying it had ‘massively’ benefited them, 18% saying it had benefited them a ‘lot’ and 32% a ‘little’. A quarter (24%) felt the festival had a negative effect on their business, while 16% said there was no benefit.

Over a third (36%) said the festival had resulted in an increase in sales, while 36% said their sales were the same. Nearly three in ten (28%) felt their sales were worse or much worse. And despite some concerns and suggestions for how to improve the festival, half of respondents (53%) said they would be likely to get involved in the event in the future - a third of whom (35.9%) would ‘definitely’ take part.

Speaking at yesterday’s meeting, Stratforward Director Joe Baconnet said: “This review exercise has given us an invaluable insight into how businesses feel about the work of Stratforward and the events organised by us, and others, aimed at promoting and showcasing the town.

“Overall, there is a lot of positive feedback on the work the BID carries out on a day-to-day basis in the name of our members. It is obvious that much of the work done by Stratforward on promotion and events, hosting, saving money for members and acting as the voice of business in the town is appreciated by members.

"However, in these most challenging of times for the High Street - highlighted yet again in recent days by the Grimsey Review - it is obvious that the organisation needs to change to reflect the changing needs of these new times. BID3, if voted for by members in September, will have to be different to reflect the current climate.

"The bottom line is that we need to work more closely with members and stakeholders and adapt to the new conditions to get more people to come into town to spend in our shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs and use the professional services we offer like banks, solicitors and estate agents - and not just on event days.

"In Stratford we’re lucky to have a global reputation and a strong selection of businesses across a range of sectors, so while it’s tough out there, it’s not impossible. It just means that in today’s challenging trading times it is more important than ever that we all work together to ensure we don’t just survive - but thrive.”

The results of the review and feedback from both member meetings will be used to help create a Business Plan for BID3. This plan is expected to published in mid-August when the official notification of ballot issued by Electoral Reform Services is sent out to members. Ballots for the revote will be issued on August 31st and the ballot will end on September 27th. The result of the ballot will be made public on September 28th. A ‘yes’ vote will see BID3 start a 5 year term on April 1st, 2019.  A ‘no’ vote will see the BID disbanded and all work cease.

Red Hot River Festival is a Sizzling Success

03
Jul 2018

Stratford's River Festival is a Sizzling Success!

Revellers descended on a sweltering Stratford for two days of music, food and fun as the River Festival returned for its tenth year at the weekend.

The festival proved a red-hot hit with visitors and locals, with tens of thousands of people enjoying the entertainment laid on as temperatures soared to nearly 30c. Initial figures indicate that visitor numbers roughly matched last year’s record-breaking attendance of around 60,000 for the two-day extravaganza of free family fun.

Highlights included: the 100-plus boats on the River Avon; the 30-plus hours of live music and entertainment on the Bandstand and Acoustic Stages; the bustling craft market showcasing many local businesses; the ever-popular Family & Charity Area which featured activities from organisations including Escape Arts, The Shakespeare Hospice and Stratford Town Trust; a whole host of great food and drink, much of it provided by local businesses; and of course, the fantastic fireworks display on Saturday night.

Despite the volume of people, many of whom spilled into the town centre to visit local restaurants, bars and businesses, the 2018 event retained the River Festival’s reputation as a safe and family-friendly event, with not one arrest across the weekend.

The festival also proved its eco-friendly credentials, following in the footsteps of Glastonbury’s aim to go green, with paper straws on offer at several bars and the debut of ‘The Steelie’ - an alternative to plastic beer cups - at The One Elm’s bar. And thanks to a team of 50 volunteers, who included local litter picking group ‘Rubbish Friends’, the Renewal Church, boaters staying at the festival and Stratforward board members, more rubbish was recycled than ever before at this year’s event.

This year also saw the first Pirates vs Mermaids event in Stratford’s newest shopping and leisure development, Bell Court, encouraging visitors to cross the river and take in Stratford town centre and everything it has to offer.

BID director Joe Baconnet said: “What a weekend. We were thrilled to have such great weather. One of the most common comments was what a great atmosphere there was down on the riverside and it was great to see people moving across the river to enjoy some of the fantastic local businesses in the town centre. Each year both Stratforward and our members are coming up with new ideas to make sure everyone benefits from such an influx of people to Stratford. This year’s Pirates vs Mermaids festival showed it’s possible to encourage people into the town centre so businesses can take advantage of potential customers who are likely to return to our fabulous town.”

The Pirates vs Mermaids event was organised by Bell Court along with business owners in the leisure development, including family attraction Magic Alley which sold a special rum-flavour butter beer created exclusively for the weekend. It also included a fancy dress competition, live music, and a showing of swashbuckling classic Pirates of the Caribbean at Everyman cinema. Dave Matthews, owner of Magic Alley, said: “Stratford offers such a unique selection of festivals and events that there is something for everyone. The River Festival, which is the crowning glory of the festivals, spans the town and draws on the heritage of its full name, Stratford-upon-Avon.”

Down on riverside, it was all hands on deck for The One Elm, which ran one of the festival bars while The Encore took the helm of the other.  The Encore served around 5,000 drinks, including Pimm’s, Prosecco and spirits, to thirsty punters while The One Elm’s General manager Mat Faulkner said they poured around 12,000 pints of beer, lager and cider to thirsty punters, as well as dishing out nearly 5,000 burgers. The pub also debuted the environmentally-friendly ‘Steelie’ cup as an alternative to plastic cups.

“We’ve been looking for an alternative for plastic cups for some time,” said Mat. “We were literally visited by these guys on Wednesday and they managed to get us 100 cups with both our logo and Purity Brewery’s, to test run at the River Festival. They went down really well and we’ll be having these instead of plastic next year.” Mat, who even drafted in his family to help, said: “We still have to run the pub at the same time and it was really busy. We sold 32 barrels of lager in four hours on Saturday which is just shy of 2,000 pints. I had to get Sunday’s delivery on Saturday night.”

 

Visitors chose from an array of food to cater for all tastes, including stalls from local butcher Barry the Butcher, Carluccio’s, Bella Italia, The One Elm and The Townhouse, Hathaway Tea Rooms and Roly’s Fudge Pantry.

Rick Allen, the owner of Hathaway Tea Rooms, said it had been a fantastic weekend both at the festival site and at the High Street tea rooms. "We were packed on Saturday,” he said. “We took as much in our tearoom as we did at the festival which is unusual. I think it was so busy at the festival that people migrated up into town."

Dave Baldrey, the owner of Greenhill Street’s Fizz and Fin, enjoyed lengthy queues at their River Festival stand, selling around 2,000 portions of fish and chips. He said: “It’s been brilliant. Nothing else brings these many people to Stratford, it’s a brilliant event.”

Alongside food and drink, visitors enjoyed the chance to browse stalls from some of Stratford’s own businesses including The Minories boutique clothing shop Shabby Chic Sister, Greenhill Street’s Karl Stallard Furniture, Sheep Street hairdresser Nashwhite, Meer Street’s For Something Different and Bright Ideas, based on Henley Street.

Karl Stallard, from Karl Stallard furniture, said it was a way of getting the business in front of thousands of potential customers. “It’s successful for us as a retailer in town because not everybody knows we’re there,” he said. “We’re on the edge of town so it helps get our name out there. It’s a promotion for the business as it puts us in front of lots of people.”

Jo Sainsbury, the proprietor of Bright Ideas, added: “It’s been another amazing River Festival. The visitors really enjoy it and even if they don’t go into the town, they plan to come back to Stratford. Ten years in and it’s getting better all the time.”

 

The festival is organised by Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) on behalf of 430 town centre shops, cafes, restaurants and other businesses. It has won multiple awards including the Pride of Stratford Tourism Initiative of the Year Award in both 2016 and 2018 and Stratford's Best Festival by Stratford-upon-Avon Online in 2016 and 2017 - as voted by members of the public. 

 

 

River Festival 1 - Crowds enjoying the River Festival in Saturday afternoon's sunshine.

River Festival 2 - David Baldrey and Amy Haydney from Fizz and Fin did a roaring trade.

River Festival 3 - The One Elm's Mat Faulkner, manager, Ollie Coulson, Maddie Guarino and Nick Hunt pictured with their Purity ‘Steelies’.

River Festival 4 - Magic Alley’s Dave Matthews taking part in the Pirates vs Mermaids Festival at Bell Court.

2. This year was the tenth Stratford River Festival. The event is one of a number of popular festivals organised by Stratforward’s award-winning events team each year. The River Festival has won multiple awards including the Pride of Stratford Tourism Initiative of the Year Award in both 2016 and 2018 and Stratford's Best Festival by Stratford-upon-Avon Online in 2016 and 2017 - as voted by members of the public.

3. Stratforward is Stratford’s Business Improvement District (BID) which represents 430 shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and businesses in Stratford town centre. Members involved in the 2018 River Festival included: Magic Alley, The One Elm, The Encore, The Townhouse, Timeless Tales, Fizz and Fin, Barry the Butcher, Carluccio’s, Bella Italia, Hathaway Tea Rooms, Roly’s Fudge Pantry, Shabby Chic Sister, For Something Different, Bright Ideas, Nashwhite, Nando’s, Escape Arts, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Stratford Town Trust, Farringdon and Forbes, Karl Stallard, Avon Boating, The Shakespeare Hospice, Sue Ryder.

4. The Pirates vs Mermaids event was organised by Bell Court and the businesses there to help spread the impact of the River Festival around town.

Stratford River Festival http://www.stratforward.co.uk/events/stratford-river-festival/ https://www.facebook.com/StratfordRiverFestival/

 

New Buskers Policy

28
Jun 2018

NEW BUSKER’S POLICY SET TO HIT THE RIGHT NOTE WITH STRATFORD BUSINESSES

A new Busker’s Policy for Stratford-upon-Avon has been launched aimed at enhancing the visitor experience to the town and making it easier to deal with those street entertainers who do not play by the rules.

The revised policy has been drawn up by Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) working alongside the Musicians Union following increasing levels of concerns, mainly relating to sound levels due to amplification, from businesses, visitors, residents and fellow buskers.

Stratforward BID Director Joe Baconnet said: “This does not mean that buskers are not welcome in Stratford, far from it. Our street entertainers are famous across the globe and loved by the millions of visitors who flock here every year. In recent times a small minority have seemingly disregarded the previous policy and caused problems for visitors and local businesses as well as fellow buskers who do adhere to them.

He added: “This new policy is all about us working together to enhance the visitor experience to the town and avoid confrontational situations. It aims to empower everyone to solve problems quickly and easily on the street, and to ensure performers are treated fairly and can make a positive contribution to the life of Stratford.

“While the majority of buskers are a wonderful addition to Stratford’s street, this policy will make it easier to enforce against the small minority who cause a persistent, negative impact on businesses or the public."

The new policy gives step-by-step instructions on how to deal with complaints, and uses the Community Protection Notice (CPN) procedure to ensure complaints can be enforced if required. While it encourages cooperation to resolve any issues, breaches of the policy and continued, persistent non-compliance can be enforced through these CPNs which will be enforced by Stratford District Council. Part of anti-social behaviour legislation, a Community Protection Notice (CPN) is aimed to prevent unreasonable behaviour that is having a negative impact on the local community's quality of life - particularly around noise.

The new Busker’s Policy was drawn up by Stratforward, which works on behalf of nearly 430 businesses in Stratford town centre, after they highlighted busking as an area they would like more support in.

The document is aimed to make sure businesses, visitors and buskers in Stratford-upon-Avon get a positive experience from the street entertainment.

Accompanied by a map to illustrate the designated busk pitches throughout Stratford, the policy includes advice to buskers on the following:-

  • Performance advice
  • Safety and access advice
  • Guidance on amplification
  • Noise sensitive locations
  • The Buskers Voluntary Registration Scheme

Mr Baconnet said: “The effective enforcement powers - an approach advocated by the Musician’s Union - are available as a last resort to deal with any individual persistently causing a negative impact by acting unreasonably.

“The idea is that busking should be a positive experience for all, but we know in a small minority cases that some buskers do not consider their impact on others.

“We try and ensure this policy is followed by every busker, but we rely on the goodwill and professionalism of all our performers, as well as that of residents, businesses and visitors in the town to ensure that things run smoothly and for everyone’s benefit.”

The new Busker’s Policy remains in place throughout the year and is available online at www.stratforward.co.uk. The policy is subject to change, and in the event of any changes, an up-to-date copy will be available online.

10th River Festival

25
Jun 2018

SHIVER ME TIMBERS!

STRATFORD RIVER FESTIVAL RETURNS FOR TENTH YEAR WITH NEW TOWN CENTRE PIRATE-THEMED EVENT

It’s all hands on deck in Stratford this weekend as the town’s award-winning River Festival returns for a tenth year.

The free family event returns this weekend (Saturday, June 30th and Sunday, July 1st), with pirate-inspired action spreading across the town thanks to the very first Pirates vs Mermaids event in Stratford’s newest shopping and leisure development, Bell Court.

The Stratford River Festival is one of the region’s leading free festivals. Last year it brought a record 57,000 people to Stratford to join in with music, food, drink and a waterborne exhibition of boats on the town’s waterways.

Top-draw bands will entertain crowds on Riverside while there will be slightly more than grog and biscuits on offer thanks to an array of food and drink stalls - many local Stratford businesses.

This year the party spreads to the town centre with the inaugural Pirates vs Mermaids event in Bell Court, including a fancy dress competition, live music, a showing of swashbuckling classic Pirates of the Caribbean at Everyman cinema and a special rum-flavoured butter beer at local family attraction Magic Alley, created exclusively for the weekend.

On the riverside, live music will entertain on The Bandstand and Acoustic Stages including the Simon Kemp Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, dance group Folk Friendzy, the Ashby Big Band and Stratford Music Centre.

The festival will be opened by the Mayor of Stratford and a highlight will be an epic fireworks display at 10.30pm on Saturday night.

Throughout the weekend, families will be able to view a spectacular static narrowboat display as well as taking part in fun activities in the Family & Charity Zone which features an array of stands from organisations including Escape Arts, the Shakespeare Hospice and Stratford Town Trust.

A bustling craft market will offer everything from jewellery to gifts and homemade preserves from local businesses including For Something Different and Bright Ideas.

This year’s festival bars are run by The Encore, which is offering Pimm’s, wine, Champagne, spirits and cocktails, and The One Elm, which will have gallons of cider, lager and real ales to keep revellers refreshed.

Visitors can choose from an array of food, including stalls from local butcher Barry the Butcher, Carluccio’s, The One Elm and The Townhouse, Hathaway Tea Rooms and Roly’s Fudge Pantry.

Stratforward BID director Joe Baconnet said: “We may be landlubbers here in Stratford, but we every year we celebrate the water we have got with the award-winning River Festival. The festival always brings thousands of people to check out our great live music, food and drink, narrowboat display and family-friendly activities.

“Over the past decade the festival has grown each year, and 2018 is no exception. For the tenth year we’re making sure the party spreads through the town centre to make sure visitors get the chance to take in the businesses that fund this fabulous event, whether they’re independent shops, high street names or restaurants and bars.

“The inaugural Pirates vs. Mermaids event in Bell Court should make this year’s River Festival bigger than ever and we look forward to saying, ‘ahoy, me hearties’ to even more locals and visitors to our wonderful town on one of the busiest weekends of the year in Stratford.”

The festival is organised by Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) on behalf of 430 town centre shops, cafes, restaurants and other businesses. It has won multiple awards including the Pride of Stratford Tourism Initiative of the Year Award in both 2016 and 2018 and Stratford's Best Festival by Stratford-upon-Avon Online in 2016 and 2017 - as voted by members of the public. 

Ship Ahoy! Pirates and Mermaids

19
Jun 2018

Come and join the Bell Court Pirates Vs Mermaids Weekend!

A host of pirates and mermaids will be landing at Bell Court as part of Stratford River Festival on Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July.   You will be invited to transform into ferocious buccaneers and mystical sirens and take part in a fancy dress competition, that will be judged by the Pirate Queen and her consort, with a treasure chest of prizes up for grabs!

To ensure people really look the part, there will be free face painting available between 10 am and 4 pm for anyone wanting to become a pirate or mermaid for the day.

There will also be live music, a pirate story-telling corner, photo opportunities with the visiting mermaids and a flash mob from Rozie T Dance.

Plus, Stratford Everyman will be showing the swash-buckling classic, Pirates of the Caribbean at 5 pm on Sunday 1st July.

Toby Saggers, Asset Manager at UK & European, owners of Bell Court, said: “This month we’re celebrating the one year anniversary of Bell Court opening to the public and what better way to mark the occasion than with our first Pirates Vs Mermaids event as part of this year’s River Festival? The River Festival is one of the most popular events in Stratford-upon-Avon and we’re very excited to be adding another element to the weekend at Bell Court.”

Visitors to the Bell Court event will also be able to indulge in rum flavoured butter beer at Magic Alley which has been created exclusively for the weekend, whilst enjoying mermaid and pirate themed food and drink, along with special offers at the many bars and restaurants.  

Dave Matthews from Magic Alley said: “It’s not every day that we get to welcome pirate royalty to Stratford-upon-Avon but I’m sure Pirates Vs Mermaids at Bell Court will be truly fit for a Queen. It’s a great way to bring the community together, through music, story-telling, street entertainment and some great food and drink. I’m sure we’re going to be very impressed with people’s costumes too.”

Anyone entering the fancy dress competition will be in with a chance of winning a £25 gift card from All Bar One, a full platter from Nando’s, wine tasting for two people at Veeno, a family ticket for Magic Alley and two tickets for Everyman cinema.

Pirates Vs Mermaids has been organised by Bell Court owners, UK & European Investments, Magic Alley and the Stratforward BID.  Joe Baconnet, Director of Stratforward BID, said: “This Pirates Vs Mermaids event will be a great new addition to the annual River Festival which welcomes more than 70,000 people to the town every year.”

A new retail and leisure destination, accessed via High Street, Rother Street, Ely Street and High Street, Bell Court is home to numerous bars and restaurants including Nando’s, ASK Italian, All Bar One, Veeno and Miller and Carter, as well as home and lifestyle boutique, Farringdon and Forbes, floral café, Bardia’s, Everyman Cinema and new family attraction, Magic Alley.

Further information about Bell Court, including other upcoming events, can be found at bellcourtstratford.com, or on the Facebook (BellCourtStratford), Twitter (BellCourtLife) and Instagram (BellCourtStratford) pages. More information about the River Festival can be found at http://www.stratforward.co.uk/events/stratford-river-festival/

Weekend Park and Stride in Stratford

24
May 2018

Stratford's Weekend Park & Stride Scheme - enjoy cheap weekend parking at the new hospital multi-storey!

A unique Park and Stride scheme launches in Stratford-upon-Avon this weekend thanks to a ground-breaking deal between Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) and the team that run Stratford Hospital's car park. 

People who work in Stratford, and visitors, will benefit from cheap weekend and Bank Holiday car parking, thanks to the new partnership that allows them to park on the town’s brand new £22million hospital site, just yards from the railway station, and only five minutes walk from the town centre. People can park in the 205-space secure multi-storey car park for just £2.50 a day. The scheme will operate on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays and starts this weekend - just in time for half term.

Joe Baconnet, Director of Stratforward BID, said: “This is a win-win for everyone involved. Staff who work in businesses in Stratford struggle to find centrally-located parking and even if they do it is often felt to be unaffordable. This is particularly the case for staff who only work at weekends when Stratford is usually at its busiest.  Add this to our existing arrangement with NCP for their car park in Rother Street, where registered staff can park for £3.70 a day, and the Stratford Park and Ride scheme and we now have a variety of discounted offerings available to them. Over the year these schemes can save an individual hundreds of pounds.”

He added: “Hopefully the knock-on effect of town centre staff using this car park at weekends, will be that more town centre car parking spaces will be available for visitors, so generating more income for individual businesses. It should also help reduce waiting times and queues for town centre car parks, in turn reducing congestion which will hopefully reduce emissions and help the environment. The other major plus is that this will see monies going directly into the coffers of a local health-related business. There is also a more obvious health benefit - by parking here, people will take a stroll into town, and we all know that even the shortest amount of physical exercise is beneficial to our wellbeing. At a time of increasing change in the high street, pressure on people’s finances and concern about the nation's health, we cannot think of a better way to bring a positive outcome all round.”

The scheme is the result of a deal between Stratforward and SWFT Clinical Services Ltd, which owns and manages Stratford Hospital. Samantha Macdonald, Marketing Manager at SWFT Clinical Services Ltd, said: “This is extremely good news. Obviously Stratford Hospital is very much in the heart of Stratford, and with it being a centrally located facility we are always very keen to support the wider community. Our downtime is often the busiest time for visitors and town centre staff so it makes sense to utilise our facilities for the benefit of everyone involved.”

John Coyne, Managing Director at SWFT Clinical Services, added: “Parking is at a premium in the town and more and more people are having to park further away so we think this is a great solution. When you look at the proximity to the main town it’s not far at all.  While the hospital does have some 24-hour services, the times that the deal is available coincides with periods the car park would be under-used. We have always approached car parking rates as competitively as possible. Clearly sometimes car parking chargers garners a negative response – but with this approach all parties can benefit.”

The Stratford Hospital car park is accessible from Arden Street. It is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is covered by CCTV.

Notes

1. Image is of  Stratforward BID director Joe Baconnet and Samantha Macdonald, Marketing Manager at SWFT Clinical Services Ltd.
2. Stratforward BID Director Joe Baconnet is available for interview. Please contact the number below to arrange.
3. Stratforward is Stratford’s Business Improvement District (BID) which represents nearly 430 shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and businesses in Stratford town centre. Stratforward’s role is to encourage people in to Stratford-upon-Avon, to stay long, spend more and leave happy, benefiting its member businesses and the town as a whole.
4. SWFT Clinical Services Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust. The company operates the outpatient pharmacy for the Trust based at Warwick Hospital, a private patient day surgery clinic in Stratford-upon-Avon and most recently has developed a facilities and estates management service, under which it manages the Stratford-upon-Avon hospital on behalf of South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust. The company’s primary purpose is to develop income for the Trust through commercial activities and all profits made by its trading activities are either reinvested in the business or returned to the Trust for reinvestment in health care services.

Record Breaking!

08
May 2018

RECORD-BREAKING DAYS FOR STRATFORD BUSINESSES THANKS TO FESTIVAL OF MOTORING

Stratford businesses enjoyed record-breaking days as tens of thousands of people flocked to the town for the Festival of Motoring.

The festival, which took place on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, brought more than 45,000 visitors to Stratford in scorching temperatures to eye up an array of cars and check out the town’s retailers, restaurants and bars. Roly’s Fudge Pantry on High Street enjoyed its best three days of the year over the weekend, while Hooray’s British Gelato Kitchen had a record-breaking day on Monday.

Andy Irvine, the owner of Roly’s, said: “We had our best three days certainly of the year and the last 12 months. The festival is well organised and it brings people into town - full credit to Stratforward.”  Sara Young, co-founder of Hooray’s, said: “Monday was our record-breaker, but on Sunday we had the van out as well which was great and gave us a lot of publicity. It was amazing, at one stage we had two queues going on.”

Other businesses enjoyed a busy weekend thanks to the influx of visitors to the town taking advantage of a sun-drenched Bank Holiday weekend, with shops, bars and restaurants on Sheep Street, Bridge Street and Wood Street all reporting great sales figures.  Chris Allpress, the owner of Knights Fine Jewellery on Wood Street, said: “It’s been busy, footfall in Stratford has been very good and also into the shop and the festival brought a wonderful clientele.”

   

And Ash Baker, owner of The Steamhouse, said both their High Street shop and its stall outside did a roaring trade, selling 400 doughnuts across the weekend, as well as plenty of iced and cold drinks.

This year’s festival - one of several events organised by the award-winning events team at Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) - featured 300 motor vehicles parked up on Stratford’s streets each day following organised runs in the countryside.

Local businesses embraced the Italian Job theme on Wood Street, with The Townhouse offering special Italian cured boards and Prosecco and The One Elm an outdoor Peroni Bar and two-for-one on Aperol Spritz.
Mat Faulkner, General Manager at The One Elm, said: "It went fantastically well. We had our Peroni bar in the car park which was awesome - ironically, we were so busy in the pub that we couldn't have it open as much as we wanted, but it went down brilliantly and was a real spectacle. The whole weekend was brilliant - the fact that you literally couldn't walk through town because there were so many people shows how great it was. The weather helped but a lot of people came for the Motoring Festival - it's a fantastic event, any event that Stratforward does is always a winner in my eyes and great for the town."

Stratford Picturehouse put on a showing of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Saturday followed by a Motoring Reel Big Quiz on Monday evening while Everyman Cinema showed The Italian Job on Sunday. Castle Fine Art displayed four motor-themed original paintings by contemporary artist Robert Oxley and Whitewall gallery also put on an automotive art exhibition.

Stratforward BID Director Joe Baconnet said: “We are delighted to have had so much positive feedback about the Festival of Motoring from so many of our businesses. It was lovely to see the town so busy so early on in the season and with such a great atmosphere. This is the reason we exist and the reason we do events - to get people into the town and through the doors of our businesses to benefit everyone in Stratford.”

Vehicles on display at the festival included a ‘My Dad Had One of Those’ display, luxury cars and displays from automotive clubs including Auto Adrenalin and Aston Martin. There were also commercial car displays from festival sponsor Listers, Guy Salmon, Nissan Westway, DV8 Works, the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, Dallas Burston Polo Club and the British Motor Museum.

Awards were handed out to Ian Mccormack, from Neath, who won the Mayor’s Choice with his Pink Cadillac and Graham McDonald, from Tenbury Wells, who won Stratforward’s Choice award with his Cadillac Sedan Deville. Ian Draper, from Potters Green, Coventry, won the Listers Group Choice with a Ford Grabber Mustang, while Ian Fuller from Rugby won the Broadway Treasure Hunt in his Marcos Mantula. 

   

Awards handed out to participants included a prize for the winner of the treasure hunt,   a Stratforward-sponsored award chosen by patron Quentin Willson, a Mayor’s award for her favourite vehicle and an award chosen by Listers.

Parents and children enjoyed a special family area at Rother Market including hands-on demonstrations, go-karts, bouncy castle, emergency vehicles, an engineering pod from Stratford Sea Cadets and more; live music at Bell Court and on Bridge Street; and a Wacky Races workshop with community arts organisation Escape Arts.

Visitors also enjoyed Stratford’s own version of popular TV show Carpool Karaoke in a competition organised with Listers, recording their own rendition of Dean Martin classic ‘That’s Amore’ on their mobile device inside one of Listers’ cars.

Stratford Mayor Cllr Victoria Alcock said: “I love things like this that bring people to the town who wouldn’t necessarily venture in. It’s people who might not ordinarily come for a Bank Holiday but come for the cars then they see how wonderful our town is and will probably come back.”

      
NOTES 

  • This was the sixth Stratford Festival of Motoring and is one of a number of popular festivals organised by Stratforward’s award-winning events team each year. Others include the Stratford River Festival in July and Stratford Town Centre Food Festival in September.
  • Stratforward is Stratford’s Business Improvement District (BID) which represents nearly 450 shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and businesses in Stratford town centre.
  • Listers sponsored the 2018 Stratford Festival of Motoring. With its 39-year strong history, Listers Group Ltd is one of the UK’s largest family owned automotive businesses and leading retail groups. Listers is a proud partner of 15 premium manufacturers including Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Honda, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes, MINI, SEAT, Skoda, Smart, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volvo. The Group now boasts over 50 sites strategically located across the south west, Midlands and east of England. For further information, contact Toni Dunk at Listers on 07793 314832or email Toni.Dunk@Listers.co.uk

Famous Italian Job Minis on show

01
May 2018

FAMOUS ‘ITALIAN JOB’ MINIS TO JOIN HUNDREDS OF CARS ON SHOW AT STRATFORD FESTIVAL OF MOTORING THIS WEEKEND

Three famous ‘Italian Job’ Minis will be among hundreds of cars that roar into town for this weekend’s Stratford Festival of Motoring on Sunday, May 6th and Bank Holiday Monday, May 7th. 
The replicas - which have appeared on TV alongside big names including David Hasselhoff and Guy Martin - are just one reminder visitors will see of iconic 1969 film The Italian Job, which will be the theme of one of the streets in Stratford town centre during the festival.  


The Minis are the pride and joy of mechanic Greg Jenkins, from Hereford, who bought them to use them as wedding cars. “I studied the film and watched it a couple of hundred times to make them as authentic as possible. To set them aside from a normal Mini, they’ve got roll cages like the ones in the film, as well as bonnet stripes and we’ve put some imitation gold bars on the back parcel shelf.” Greg’s Minis have featured on TV several times.  The red one is currently on TV on an ad for Farmfoods with David Hasselhoff.”

One of several free-festivals organised by the award-winning events team at Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID), the event will see participants take runs in the surrounding countryside - one with a treasure hunt and another encouraging them to rekindle their old-school navigation skills - before returning to the town’s historic streets to park up.

The festival is also giving people the chance to star in Stratford’s own version of popular TV show Carpool Karaoke in a competition organised in conjunction with festival sponsor Listers, a long-running supporter of the event.  Participants in the challenge will be able to record their own rendition of classic Italian tune ‘That’s Amore’ - in keeping with the Italian Job theme - on their mobile device inside one of Listers’ cars on display at the festival. They just need to post their karaoke video on social media, tagging Listers, the Stratford Festival of Motoring, and festival organiser Stratforward to be in with the chance of winning the use of a brand new car for a whole weekend.


Vehicles on display at the festival will include fast cars; open-top vehicles;  ‘My Dad Had One of Those’ display; luxury cars; quirky vehicles like campers, pickups and vans; and displays from automotive clubs including Auto Adrenalin and Aston Martin. There will also be commercial car displays from Listers, Guy Salmon, Nissan Westway, DV8 Works, the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, Dallas Burston Polo Club and the British Motor Museum.

A festival trophy presentation will take place on Monday at 2 pm, including a prize for the winner of the treasure hunt, a Stratforward-sponsored award chosen by patron Quentin Willson, a Mayor’s award for her favourite vehicle and an award chosen by festival sponsor Listers.

There’s plenty on offer for families, including a special family area at Rother Market including hands-on demonstrations, go-karts, bouncy castle, emergency vehicles and more; live music at Bell Court and on Bridge Street; and a Wacky Races workshop with community arts organisation Escape Arts.

The Vintage Mobile Cinema will be showing two film montages of vintage footage celebrating the Mini, Stratford and Shakespeare. Stratford Picturehouse is showing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at noon on Saturday followed by a Motoring Reel Big Quiz on Monday evening while Everyman Cinema is showing The Italian Job on Sunday at 5pm.

A Stratford Specsavers Photography Competition will give people the chance to win great prizes by sharing their festival photos using #SpecsaversSUA. Automotive artist Reverend Adam Gompertz will be sketching around town and Castle Fine Art will be displaying four motor-themed original paintings by contemporary artist Robert Oxley. There will also be an automotive art exhibition at Whitewall gallery.

Local eateries are getting into the festival spirit, with The Townhouse offering special Italian cured boards and Prosecco, and The One Elm an outdoor Peroni Bar and two-for-one on Aperol Spritz.

Stratforward Events Manager Ruth Wood said: “The Festival of Motoring always brings tens of thousands of people to Stratford to check out some of the great cars we have on show and enjoy the spectacle of hundreds of vehicles parked up on Stratford’s historic streets.

“It’s a great event that brings families into Stratford for free Bank Holiday fun and allows us to show off all the award-winning restaurants, bars, shops, spectacular attractions and businesses Stratford has to offer. It is these businesses that fund the festival so please support them.”

NOTES 

1. PLEASE FIND ATTACHED IMAGES FOR MEDIA USE. Please note, the minis in image 1 are not the minis owned by Greg Jenkins. Image 2 caption (L-R): Stratforward BID Director Joe Baconnet; Adriana Geary, Shakespeare Hospice corporate and community fundraiser; and Dejorn Goldsmith, Listers Honda sales executive.
2. MEDIA ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND THE STRATFORD FESTIVAL OF MOTORING ON SUNDAY OR MONDAY. PLEASE CALL STRATFORWARD’s EVENTS TEAM ON 01789 299011 or email info@stratforward.co.uk TO ARRANGE
3. Festival hours are 10 am to 5 pm on Sunday and 10 am to 4 pm on Monday. Cars will be arriving into town from 9 am to 12 noon.
4. This will be the sixth Stratford Festival of Motoring and is one of a number of popular festivals organised by Stratforward’s award-winning events team each year. Others include the Stratford River Festival in July and Stratford Town Centre Food Festival in September.
5. Stratforward is Stratford’s Business Improvement District (BID) which represents nearly 450 shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and businesses in Stratford town centre.
6. Listers is the sponsor of the 2018 Stratford Festival of Motoring. With its 39-year strong history, Listers Group Ltd is one of the UK’s largest family owned automotive businesses and leading retail groups. Listers is a proud partner of 15 premium manufacturers including Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Honda, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes, MINI, SEAT, Skoda, Smart, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volvo. The Group now boasts over 50 sites strategically located across the south west, midlands and east of England. For further information, contact Toni Dunk at Listers on 07793 314832or email Toni.Dunk@Listers.co.uk

7. Social Media - use #StratfordMotorFest and tag us for retweets etc.
Twitter - @StratfordFOM and @Stratforward
Facebook - StratforduponAvonFestivalofMotoring/
Instagram - @stratforward

Visitors To Stratford Festival Of Motoring Take Centre Stage With Motor Fest Car-Aoke

16
Apr 2018

Forget X Factor or The Voice - wannabe stars have the chance to take centre stage at the Stratford Festival of Motoring’s very own Car-aoke.

Visitors to the festival, which returns on Sunday, May 6th and Bank Holiday Monday, May 7th, will be able to star in Stratford’s own version of popular TV show Carpool Karaoke and be in with the chance of winning the use of a brand new car for a whole weekend.

Festival sponsor Listers - a long-running support of the popular event - will be providing the stage for fame-hungry fans in the form of one of their cars on display at the festival.

Participants in the challenge will be able to record their own rendition of classic Italian tune ‘That’s Amore’ - in keeping with this year’s theme of The Italian Job - on their mobile device inside the car.

They just need to post their karaoke video on social media, tagging Listers, the Stratford Festival of Motoring, and festival organiser Stratforward.

All entries will be judged by Stratford’s own judging panel, including representatives from Listers, Stratforward and The Shakespeare Hospice - Listers’ chosen charity of the year.

The winner will be treated to the use of a Listers car for a weekend, chosen by arrangement with Listers.

Toni Dunk, Group Marketing Manager at Listers, said: “Stratford Festival of Motoring is a great local event and something we’ve been proud to support for several years. Listers may be a household name and one of the biggest family-run car dealerships in the UK, but our roots are important to us - that’s why we support events like this and have chosen The Shakespeare Hospice as our chosen charity of the year.

“We’ve all seen James Corden and his guests on Carpool Karaoke and we thought it would be great to create our very own version right here in Stratford. We can’t wait to see local talent getting involved.”

Stratford Festival of Motoring is a regular highlight of the calendar not only in Stratford-upon-Avon but across the Midlands and beyond.

One of several free festivals organised by the award-winning events team at Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID), the 2018 festival follows the same successful formula as the past five years.

Participants will take runs in the countryside surrounding Stratford-upon-Avon before returning to the town’s historic streets to park up, treating visitors to a showcase of around 300 impressive motor vehicles each day.

This year’s event is themed on Wood Street is the iconic 1969 film The Italian Job and among the array of motor vehicles past and present visitors can expect some reminders of the comedy caper, from Minis to Italian supercars.

There will also be plenty of entertainment on offer from interactive demonstrations to a dedicated family area, as well as the usual impressive selection of shops, restaurants, bars and retailers on offer in Stratford.

Ruth Wood, Events Manager at Stratforward, said: “We’re always looking for ways to get people involved in our ever-popular Festival of Motoring - Listers’ karaoke challenge is the perfect way to take part and be in with a chance of winning a great prize.

“This is just one of the great reasons to come to this year’s event. Alongside this, there are some great vehicles on show from Listers as well as 300 cars from our participants - including a few nods to The Italian Job - plus demonstrations and entertainment, all against the backdrop of historic Stratford.”

Listers Gets Back To It's Roots By Backing Local Motor Festival

03
Apr 2018

Listers, England’s largest privately-owned motor group, is getting back to its roots by backing Stratford Festival of Motoring for the third time.

The company, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, is the main sponsor of the festival, which returns on Sunday, May 6th and Bank Holiday Monday, May 7th, bringing motor enthusiasts from across the country.

This year’s event, has a theme on Wood Street on the iconic 1969 film The Italian Job, will see participants take runs in the countryside around Stratford-upon-Avon before returning to the town’s historic streets to park up, treating visitors to a showcase of around 300 impressive motor vehicles lining Stratford’s historic streets.

Listers has sponsored the event since 2016, supporting it in showcasing Stratford to tens of thousands of visitors to the town for the two-day festival.

The company will be showcasing its own impressive ranges at the festival, with cars from five of its 15 brands on show, including Audi, Toyota, Lexus, Volkswagen and Honda.

Listers, a major employer in the Midlands and beyond, will also be showcasing its Motability service as well as its offers to fleets and businesses.

Sponsoring the festival isn’t the only way the company is backing the local community - after choosing Stratford charity the Shakespeare Hospice as its charity of the year.

Toni Dunk, Group Marketing Manager at Listers, said: “We might be one of the UK’s biggest privately owned groups but Listers’ roots are important and we love getting involved in local events and supporting local businesses and the local community.

“Businesses are facing uncertain times and we want local firms to know we’re here to support them, whether that’s through leased cars, commercial vehicles, our Motability scheme or fleet services for small and large businesses. Supporting events like Stratford Festival of Motoring helps bring visitors to the region and in turn backs local businesses, while choosing the Shakespeare Hospice as our charity of the year means we can dedicate a year’s fundraising to this great cause.”

Stratford Festival of Motoring is a regular highlight of the calendar not only in Stratford but across the Midlands and beyond.

One of several free festivals organised by the award-winning events team at Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID), the 2018 festival follows the same successful formula as the past five years.

There will also be plenty of entertainment on offer from interactive demonstrations to a dedicated family area, as well as the usual impressive selection of shops, restaurants, bars and retailers on offer in Stratford.

Joseph Baconnet, Director of Stratforward BID, said: “Stratforward is all about promoting Stratford-upon-Avon and its businesses on regional, national and global stages. Backing from locally-based, national firms like Listers is invaluable in helping us do this and we’re grateful to them for their support.

“This year’s Festival of Motoring is shaping up to be a great event and we look forward to welcoming the crowds to Stratford over the two days. If you’d like any more info please go to www.stratfordfestivalofmotoring.co.uk or keep your eyes on social media.”