Did you know there are currently 636 businesses and organisations in the Kingston First BID area!
Every month we shine a spotlight on one of our lovely member businesses, but now is your chance to get to know us a little better. First a bit about us, and then a bit about BID’s in general and how it all works.
The Kingston First Team
You might not know that Kingston First is the oldest BID in the country, set up in January 2005, and now there are over 330 town teams that operate across the UK.
We currently have 12 members of staff, working on different projects and priorities. We are all dedicated to making Kingston the best it can be for businesses and visitors alike!
Our Chief Executive is Kirsten, and Shareena is Director of Communications and Corporate Development. Together with the Kingston First Board they set the strategic direction of Kingston First, lead on our public realm and larger projects, and ensure the team is well supported.
Emma, Fred, Hannah and Julia look after business communications and services such as:
- First Mile recycling
- Keep It Kingston app
- Procurement advice
- Insight trends
- Market research
- Newsletters and website
- Networking events
- Vacant units
- And our Office admin
Many of these services save you money, enable you to make connections within the business community, keep you informed with what is happening in the town centre and beyond, and provide insights that help you make strategic decisions about your business. You can book a meeting to discuss any of these with Emma here.
Kelly and Rob look after place operations, including:
- Town cleaning and greening
- Street art
- Managing the permanent market in the Ancient Market Place
- Town centre safety
- Christmas lights
- Organising visiting markets including the Christmas market
A clean, attractive and safe town is a key priority for us and you, ensuring that visitors and employees have a positive experience of Kingston. Our Christmas market and lights, and visiting markets drive footfall and dwell benefiting us all. Contact Kelly here to discuss.
Sarah and Elsie look after our successful visitor marketing, including:
- PR and Media campaigns to promote Kingston as a destination
- Events, trails and activities that drive footfall and dwell time
- The kingstonuponthames.info website and InKingston social channels, where we promote businesses and events in the town centre
With a reach of over 300,000 local and engaged consumers, there is no better place to promote your business. Email Sarah to find out more.
Scott and Giani do a sterling job of looking after all things finance behind the scenes.
As mentioned, there are currently 636 businesses and organisations in the Kingston First BID area!
That’s a lot of businesses, so the best way we can help you is if you read our newsletters, which contain all our news and lots of opportunities for you to get involved, or contact us so we can have a chat about the ways we can help. The more engaged you are with us, the more we can help you, so get in touch now!
What is a BID?
Voted for, supported by and working with local businesses, a Business Improvement District (BID) is a not-for-profit company governed by local volunteers from the surrounding business community, with the sole purpose of improving their local area as a place to work, visit and live.
This might include improving the public realm through urban greening, topping up the cleaning provided by the council, putting on events to drive footfall, marketing businesses and the town centre, organising networking events, and providing value for money services. Take a look at the work we did last year, and what’s coming up, in our annual report.
How is Kingston First voted in?
Every 5 years there is a ballot, where all businesses and organisations have a vote. Kingston First’s next ballot is in June 2024, and if successful we will start our fifth term in January 2025.
In the last ballot 92% of businesses voted in favour of renewing, but a minimum of 50% is required for the BID to renew.
If Kingston First is renewed all businesses within the BID area contribute via a levy which is a % of the properties rateable value. Most BID’s charge between 1% and 4% of rateable value, but Kingston First is conscious of businesses operating costs, and aims to keep the levy under 2%.
How our priorities decided
We consult with businesses all year round in our day to day interactions, plus through our yearly member research. Before the ballot we offer lots of opportunities for businesses to contribute their views, which help form our business plan for our next 5 year term.
Our next events are:
- Networking drinks and canapes, meet the team and give your views: 16th November 6-8pm at Fusebox
- Breakfast and workshop to give your views: 21st November 9-11am at Curzon
- Lunch and workshop to give your views: 30th November 12-2pm at The Rose Theatre
Keep an eye on our newsletter and website for other ways to get involved and shape the future of Kingston, or give us a call anytime!