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A Magic Wand... To improve your Business or Start a New One!

Jan 2021

For real, you are invited to attend a Pop Up Business School - and for free!

Suitable if you want to start a new business or if you are an existing business and want inspiration.

Book you space now and improve your 2021.

If you want to start something new, this course could be worth while. Especially if you are facing redundancy, already unemployed or considering a new career?
Always wanted to run your own business but not not known where to start? Or are you an established business wanting inspiration?
This course aims to provide you with skills and knowledge to start/improve your business.
15 - 19 February 2021, 10am - 3pm
• Learn how to start grass-roots businesses doing something you love.
• Topics include marketing, sales, customers, web and social media presence, legal, key steps to success.
Take action NOW!
Further information and booking here
Liam Sibley,
07841 589680
Provided by PopUp Business School
Funded by Stratford-on-Avon District Council Venture House
#SupportSmallBusiness #stratforduponavon #BusinessSchool #warwickshire #BestWarwickshire Venture House

Happy New Year

Jan 2021

Wishing you a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year.

The challenges are significant but we will find a way though.

Thank you for respecting government guidance and staying home with a few exceptions  such as... essential shopping, work and exercise with one other.

#stratforduponavon #lovestratforduponavon


Stratford Canal Basin 2021

Merry Christmas

Dec 2020

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Many thanks for your support for all the businesses in Stratford.


#stratforduponavon #lovestratforduponavon #shopeatbuylocal #warksmas

3 Tiers lead to Tears

Dec 2020

Government Announcement of Tiers leaves Stratford in Tears

Following the Government' s review of Tier designations today, Joe Baconnet, BID Director of Stratforward BID said; “We are disappointed that the tier designation for Warwickshire hasn't changed, although not totally surprised given the increasing number of Covid cases locally and nationally in recent days.  We really feel for all our BID members, not just our hospitality and leisure members who now have to remain closed, but also for our retail and personal care members who are suffering as a result of such a huge part of our town offer having to remain shut in this crucial trading period.

 "It is now vital that the Government sets out a clear plan for the next few months for business, including a greatly enhanced financial support package for hospitality and leisure in particular.  This is not a demand for a handout, but a request that the Government invests in normally viable businesses that will be needed to assist in the economic recovery of the whole country going forward. That investment will pay back in spades as businesses reboot and start adding to the public purse rather than relying on it. 

 "This is particularly important for Stratford where our local economy is so reliant on these sectors.  It is critical that Government financial support comes quickly or we could see the recovery for us taking much longer than in other places. The Government has access to more than £2bn rates relief paid back by large retailers in recent weeks and this money could be used for an immediate support package along the lines of the Bounce Back Better Manifesto being called for across the business community.

"In March 2020, Rishi Sunak, The Chancellor of the Exchequer [18 March 2020], ‘We will support jobs. We will support incomes. We will support businesses. We will help you protect loved ones. We will do whatever it takes.' - the Government needs to act on this pledge now. “

Note to editors:

UKHospitality has already warned that the Tier 3 system will result in 94% of hospitality businesses becoming unviable by March 2021. In Tier 2 it is 75% and even at Tier 1 25%.

We agree that sector specific measures require sector specific support, and the Bounce Back Better Manifesto outlines a range of packages which will provide a vital lifeline for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses alike


The four key asks in the Manifesto are:


Local Authorities lack the administrative and payments infrastructure required to facilitate monthly financial support model proposed by Government for eligible businesses in Tier 2 and Tier 3.

We ask Government to provide a one-off ‘Bounce Back’ grant of up to £15,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in Tier 2 and Tier 3 across England and Wales with a rateable value of up to and including £150,000. This would support 137,000 businesses with vital funds delivered via local authorities who are equipped to distribute it . This would cost a maximum of £2.05bn. The large national retail chains have repaid their business rates relief to the tune of £2bn already. The money already exists. 


For the furlough scheme investment to date of £47m to be fully effective, business support must reflect short and long term challenges.

While employees receive 80% of their salary through the extension of the furlough scheme, businesses are still paying out for National Insurance, placing greater strain on survival. Some of our businesses are paying out double on NI what their Tier 3 government grants are. This is not sustainable and will result in job losses. 

We ask Government to remove the burden of National Insurance from employers whose staff are on furlough, saving the average business £2,000 per month until 31st March 2021.


The ‘payment holiday’ for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value less than £51,000 earlier this year was an extraordinary and critical measure saving each business up to £25,000, a total tax cut worth over £1bn.

We ask Government to extend the 100% business rates holiday into 2021/2022 for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector. Every pound saved is a pound to help businesses stay trading and retain staff.


The cut in VAT from 20% to 5% is a major boost for the hospitality sector enabling businesses to pass on a £4.1 billion saving onto consumers. With the vaccine becoming a reality, our Bed and Breakfasts, hotels , restaurants, pubs and bars could be a vital catalyst to local economic recovery.

Research by CGA for UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association and the British Institute of Inn keeping found support on VAT and business rates are top of hospitality's essential business support needs. Four in 10 affected businesses have stated that the Government needs to extend its VAT cut to remain viable.

We ask the Government to extend the VAT reduction from 1 April 2021 up to and including 31 March 2022.

Small Business This Saturday!

Dec 2020

What is Small Business Saturday?

.....a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages us to 'shop local' and support small businesses in our communities.

Its on the first Saturday in December each year, but the campaign aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses.

On Small Business Saturday, people go out and support all types of small businesses, online and in store. Many small businesses take part in the day by hosting events and offering discounts.

The next Small Business Saturday takes place on December 5th, 2020! Lets show the love to local businesses! They are there for us, lets be there for them. 


please sign up! Get listed. Get seen! They are spending money promoting small businesses like you and so many people want to support you. Please sign up and update or add your listing. 

Good people of Stratford

please shop local. :-) 

Welcome Back! Shops, Hair, Beauty and some Leisure

Dec 2020

With the warmest of hearts, we welcome you back!

Stratford's fabulous shops, hair and beauty and even some leisure is reopening today and will be applying measures to be covid safe.

Wonderful to have them open again and a lovely atmosphere in town.

To help maintain social distancing, High Street will again be closed to traffic from 11am to 6pm.  Parking is as per normal, outside of these hours.

All car parks are open. Including the free hours parking at Bridgefoot.

Keep it local this Christmas!


Tier 3 Lobbying! Write to your MP

Nov 2020

If you run or own a business please write to Nadhim Zahawi and ask for support as we are in Tier 3! Send it to 

We have written to Nadhim and also circulated our letter widely.  We are raising awareness of the problems busineses are facing and need you to help.

Many thanks.


Letter to Nadhim Zahawi MP , House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

30th November 2020

Dear Nadhim,

Covid Measures from 2nd December 2020

I am writing on behalf of the BID to express our huge shock and overwhelming concern about the designation of Warwickshire and Stratford upon Avon as Tier 3 from December 2nd . Many of us are still struggling to come to terms with the fact that we have moved from Tier 1 before lockdown to Tier3 at the end of lockdown. We are asking that you continue your efforts to support local businesses in the coming weeks.

Over one quarter of Stratforward’s members are businesses who will be directly impacted by the revised Tier designation. We fear that the lack of widespread activity will have a knock-on impact to other businesses across the town centre. The make-up of the town as a tourism and leisure destination will lead Stratford to suffer more than most.

Our businesses have consistently done what has been asked of them, made sacrifices and changed their business models to respond to the economic and public health needs. December represents the last month of the ‘golden quarter’ for retail and hospitality and this Tier designation may tip the balance for many against survival.

 The BID, on behalf of its members, is requesting that you ask Government to:

  • Reassess the calculations that placed Warwickshire in Tier 3;
  • Revise the Tier designation to be based on a functional geography ie: South Warwickshire;
  • Substantially increase the amount of funding available for businesses to weather the storm;
  • Consider an early review of the Tiers on the 9th December rather than the 16th (two weeks from the announcement date); &
  • Consider the operational business impacts that the announcement of a Tier change after the 16th would have for businesses. It is unreasonable to give a couple of days notice about re-opening.

We believe that these measures would enable businesses to survive, although despite these measures, Tier 2 would remain a significant challenge for business viability. The fear expressed by many of our businesses is it will not be worth opening as they will continue to lose money. If enhanced levels of funding were available, then many of our businesses could simply choose to ‘hibernate’ rather than to trade at a loss.

You will be aware of the #BounceBackBetter manifesto being co-ordinated via ATCM, British BIDs, BID Foundation and Croyden BID which effectively articulates the measures needed to enable our town centres to sustain themselves short term and to provide the support until we enter the recovery  phase Saturday’s Daily Telegraph reported that the restrictions will be costing £900m a day so it appears that alternative measures need to be looked at urgently.

The wider long term economic impacts of widespread business failures in affected sectors will be felt across a huge range of industries and sectors: finance, business suppliers, in the housing marketing, in government tax take, plus increased unemployment benefit payments. The loss of sectors like this could be catastrophic and as Roger Scott from Lloyds Bank pointed out yesterday, the banks are holding a huge amount of Government backed debt. Government should be looking at the whole life cost of the pandemic on businesses and take measures that will pay back quicker and more effectively.

I know you are as concerned as our businesses and I hope that with your colleagues in Parliament and partner agencies in Warwickshire you will be able to secure a deal that allows our town centres to continue as viable economic entities.

Yours sincerely


Joe Baconnet

Stratforward BID Ltd





  • Jeremy Wright MP,
  • Matt Western MP,
  • Andy Street, WMCA
  • Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader, Warwickshire County Council
  • Cllr Tony Jefferson, Leader Stratford District Council
  • Sarah Summers, Stratford Town Council
  • Louise Bennett, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce
  • Nick Abell, Coventry and Warwickshire LEP
  • Lee Osbourne, Federation of Small Businesses
  • Helen Peters, Chief Executive, Shakespeare’s England
  • John Stacey, Blue Coast Capital
  • Ojay McDonald, ATCM
  • Chris Turner, British BIDs
  • Catherine Mitton, The BID Foundation

Which Windows are in the RSC Stratford Christmas Window Trail?

Nov 2020

The Royal Shakespeare Company have today announced a new festive ‘Advent Trail’ comprising of twenty-four unique and surprising window displays.  Created in partnership with local shops, community groups and independent businesses based in Stratford-upon-Avon town centre.

Sponsored by Bell Court and with thanks to Stratforward BID, the ‘Advent Window Trail’ will run from Tuesday 1 – Thursday 24 December.

A new window display will be revealed each day of Advent, creating an immersive route around the town in the countdown to Christmas. Each window display will respond, in its own way, to the themes of the four seasonal blessings of Joy, Health, Love and Peace. Participating businesses will each be allocated a day in December in which to reveal their festive displays and light their windows.

As well as responding to the themes of Joy, Health, Love and Peace, participating businesses will each be asked to hide a gingerbread figure in their window display, creating an interactive game for families to enjoy.

Participating businesses include Castle Fine Art, Gemini Women, Sea Salt, Bell Court and the Bell Court tenants, Roly’s Fudge Pantry, Yorks Café, Vin Neuf Wine Merchants, Shakespeare’s Birthplace Gift Shop, Vinegar Hill, For Something Different, The Flower Shop, Stratford Antiques Centre, CG Optical,  Escape Arts, Stratford College, Stratford Town Trust, Greys Opticians, Daisy Chain Gift Company, Sniff & Bark,  Royal Shakespeare Company (Waterside), RSC Nursery at the Clore Learning Centre (Waterside), Cosy Chic Pet Boutique, All That Glitters, The Fourteas and Nashwhite.

Geraldine Collinge, RSC Director of Events and Exhibitions said:“As businesses across Stratford continue to adapt and respond to the challenges of COVID-19, we wanted to provide business owners, residents and visitors with the opportunity to celebrate all that is great about our town, and to feel connected to one another during this difficult time. Each window display featured in the Advent Trail will be uniquely curated by local business owners and community groups with support from the RSC’s Events and Exhibitions team.

“Visitors will have the chance to explore the town and engage with host premises as they make their way around the trail. We hope that this collaboration with Bell Court will bring some much-needed festive joy into the lives of Stratford residents whilst, at the same time, shining a light on the Stratford business community in this time of limited public movement.”

Holly Woodhead, Asset Manager on behalf Bell Court said: “We are delighted to collaborate with the RSC on this Advent Trail and hope that it will bring Stratford residents and businesses together this Christmas. The walking trail will showcase the different businesses in Stratford and will be a celebration of this historic market town, as well as a celebration of the festive period. There will be a number of window displays throughout Bell Court, designed by Stratford College, Seasalt, and Escape Arts. We hope this artwork will provide festive cheer to the Advent Trail participants.”

Joseph Baconnet, Stratforward BID Director, said; “The Christmas Advent window trail will create something positive for the town to enjoy.  The RSC is helping to put the spotlight on some of our local businesses and charities who all need our support. With the RSC’s national and international reach, this gives the businesses taking part a boost to their profile at a key time of the year. 

The ongoing impact of the pandemic on business is challenging to say the least and this trail will give people another positive reason to come into Stratford and to enjoy the window displays, stunning Christmas lights and all that businesses have to offer. We hope the gingerbread trail will attract families into town and provide a family activity. 

Christmas is a time for sharing and we love that the RSC is reaching out to the town and sharing their influence and profile. We are committed to working together and keen to support the RSCs fantastic initiative. Long may it continue.”

Participants and members of the public are invited to share their photographs of the Advent Trail using the hashtag #StratfordAdventTrail

A full schedule for the Advent Trail featuring a list of participating businesses and locations can be found at  


For further information, please contact:

Kate Evans 01789 412622 or 07920 244434

For press images, please register free of charge at

BOOKING INFORMATION: 01789 331111 or 



Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Winter Wonderland and the Advent Window Trail is sponsored by Bell Court


The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world.  We produce an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers. 

We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. We encourage everyone to enjoy a lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and live theatre.  We reach 530,000 children and young people annually through our education work, transforming their experiences in the classroom, in performance and online.

Everyone at the RSC - from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians - plays a part in creating the world you see on stage. 

We recognise the climate emergency and work hard to embed environmental sustainability into our operations, creative work and business practice and have made a commitment to reduce continually our Carbon Footprint.  We have measures already in place from green electricity to replace energy consuming equipment with high efficiency, using low carbon equipment, and delivering programmes to raise environmental awareness across the RSC. We acknowledge that sharing our work with audiences across the world will involve travel and that we need to mitigate the impact of that on our carbon footprint.

Registered charity no. 212481

Christmas Lights On! Christmas Brochure out!

Nov 2020

It's feeling fantastically festive today as Stratford's Christmas Lights are on and the Christmas Brochure is hitting the streets.

Get inspiration on buying gifts locally and see the What's On listing between now and Christmas - yes there are things on! 

Click on the arrow below to turn the pages of the brochure. 


#lovestratforduponavon #ShopinStratford #eatdrinkshoplocal 

Union St, Guild St, Warwick Rd Update

Nov 2020

What's happening in Union Street, Guild Street and Warwick Road?

Yes this is an action shot of James at local family independent Vin Neuf! 

See some info here with great places open for you either in person or many are online.

Wine? 👍🏻 Dry cleaning? 👍🏻 Sell your house? 👍🏻 Mend your car 👍🏻

Have you supported any online or in person, yet? They are grateful when you do.

Union Street

* Cazbar - Closed
* Dogs Trust Shop - closed for all enquiries
* Hamptons Estate Agents - Open for appointment only Mon to Fri 9am -6pm. Saturday 9am to 4pm phone 01789 200900 for Sales 01789 292394 for Lettings.
* Harmony Health and Beauty Clinic 01789 263695 closed but do call for enquiries
* Matthew Curtis Hair Design Closed
* Room 09 Closed 
* Shakespaw Cat Cafe book online for when we re-open.
* The Tanning Shop Closed
* TSB Bank open 01789 293823 - Open Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri 9.30am – 12.30pm 1.30pm – 4.30pm. Wed 10am – 12.30pm 1.30pm – 4.30pm. Saturday/Sunday Closed.
* Vaughan Reynolds Estate Agent 01789 292659 - Appointment only Mon – Fri 9am – 5.30pm Saturday 9.30am – 1pm.
* Vin Neuf Wine Merchant 01789 261747- Open Tues - Sat 9:30am until 4pm

Warwick Road

* Murphy Salisbury Chartered Accountants Office closed to visitors. Call 01789 299076
* Red Lion Pub 01789 266858 - Closed
* The Villare Hotel 01789269213 – Closed

Guild Street

* Fountain Cleaners 01789 204693 Open Mon - Fri 10am until 4pm, Sat 10am until 2pm

* Kwik Fit open 01789 415855 Mon – Fri 8.30am to 6pm, Saturday 8.30 until 5pm, Sunday 10am until 4pm

* The Corner House 01789 296574 Closed.

* The One Elm 01789 404919 Closed