Letchworth BID manager Tom Hardy on what happens behind the scenes - and how much he enjoyed the chilli festival
PUBLISHED: 09:24 22 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:25 22 May 2017
A few months ago I was contacted by Chilli Fest UK, asking to run a Letchworth town centre event in May.
What started as a small gathering of chilli stalls quickly became a full-day event, and the Saturday before last saw hundreds of people flock to the town.
When we first posted the event on social media I was surprised at the amount of interest from the public.
The Letchworth BID (Love Letchworth) supported with the planning and marketing, and there were around 30 chilli-related stalls, with live music.
Although this was a first-year ‘test’ festival, I was so pleased to see the amount of interest this event generated.
It’s always great to see my home town busy, and hopefully visitors had a chance to look around the shops and support the businesses that support, fund and make these events possible.
Earlier on that morning I had the pleasure of opening another two new shops in the town centre.
A new children’s hairdressers, Nanny Julie’s, opened its doors in The Arcade – and later that morning, Alexander Lewis Estate agents opened in Arena Parade.
Both had the Letchworth BID ribbon-cutting treatment with my giant novelty scissors, a visit from North Herts District Council chairman John Booth and the Comet’s photographer.
I was also delighted to be joined by our events and project co-ordinator Patricia Saunders, who works hard behind the scenes co-ordinating the town centre events along with lots of other initiatives and projects.
Although many members of the public see Love Letchworth as simply a town centre events company, it’s important to note all the other schemes and projects we are running for businesses in the town.
Some of the projects we are working on as part of our five-year business plan (2014-19) are town centre bunting, discount hanging baskets, improvements to the loveletchworth.com and letchworthtrading.com websites, business networking meetings and improved parking payment mechanisms and access.
We’re also working on town-wide discount offers, business support programmes, the Loving Letchworth awards and a new town centre guide.
After a vote on the Letchworth BID business plan back in 2014, all the town centre businesses pay an annual levy and all the money collected is used to invest in the town and its businesses.
After the five years are up, all businesses will have the opportunity to vote on a new five-year business plan.
This year we are conducting business and on street surveys to start the consolations for the our new business plan.