Monday, 25 November 2013

Biddy Prepares for Christmas

  • Pudding made. Check. 
  • Cake made. Check. 
  • .......And that’s about as far as I’ve got. 

I am certainly not one of those organised souls with presents bought and wrapped by Halloween.

However, the Christmas plans in Newbury have clearly been underway for some time as there is a multitude of exciting events about to start. 

First off is late-night shopping in the town on Thursdays from 28 November – ideal for me as once we hit December, I like to shop midweek and avoid the Saturday crush. And to make the weekend of 28–30 November even more special, the Racecourse Newbury will be in Northbrook Street with entertainment for the little ones and something liquid for the grown ups – and a chance to win tickets for the Hennessy Festival.

Saturday 30 November is extra special this year – not only is Santa Claus coming to town to switch on the lights but what I am even more excited about is the prospect of the Christmas Market in Newbury, opening in Victoria Park on the same day. I’ve been to the Christmas Market at Winchester several times and loved it, so to have one in Newbury will be an absolute joy. I can almost smell the gingerbread and mulled wine ... now that really is a good way to get into the Christmas spirit! Beyond that I’m not going to give the game away ... if you haven’t been to a Christmas Market before, it really is something you need to go and experience for yourself.

Other late-night shopping Thursdays promise lots to look forward to as well: several shops will be offering special incentives and discounts on 5 December, and others will provide a luxury gift-wrapping service; on 12 December, championed by Newbury Building Society, there is going to be a ‘festive sing-out’ when choirs will be performing around the town centre, and everyone can join in; and on 19 December there will be ice sculptors in town, which is sure to be a really unusual and seasonally chilly spectacle on the last late-night Thursday – just perfect in the lead up to big day.

A couple of added bonuses – the pedestrianized areas will be pedestrianized longer on late-night Thursdays, up until 8pm, so you can stroll and enjoy the shops without having to worry about traffic. And there will free parking at several of the carparks from 5–8pm too (Parkway, Camp Hopson, Kennet Centre and Northbrook multi-storey). Which I think leaves all the more to spend on a little Christmas treat for ... me!

Biddy x

Thursday, 7 November 2013

NEWBURY is establishing a place for itself in cyberspace

The Newbury Business Improvement District (BID) has developed a new Social Media strategy to ensure that the town is gaining maximum exposure in the right places. That means a far more active online presence, showing everyone exactly what there is to see, do and enjoy in the area.

The strategy concentrates on the main social media outlets – Facebook and Twitter. Updates will be posted daily on both these streams, with photos also helping bring the accounts to life. Using these social media outlets also gives the BID the opportunity to engage with, and help promote, local charities and not-for-profit organisations.

There will also be regular competitions as the BID creates a social hub for residents and visitors to the town. Keep an eye out for them in near future – there will be some great prizes on offer. It is also hoped that the Facebook page is interactive as possible, offering people the chance to ask questions, which can be answered by the wealth of local knowledge out there – namely you!

And the BID knows how much people love to look at pictures of their friends and family, so it will regularly be posting albums from the many local events that take place in the town. Look out for yourself – and remember to smile when you see the happy snapper.

That is not all the BID is doing, however. A series of promotional videos are currently being created, showcasing the best sites and sounds Newbury has to offer.

The project, which the BID kicked off at the start of its second year, is being created in conjunction with local company ECP Studios, who will make four videos.

The first two, which are now available to view on You Tube, showcase the town’s shopping and entertainment facilities and Newbury as a business destination. 

The aim is to help people understand what a great place Newbury is to visit and to encourage them to choose it as the destination to spend a day above the other towns and cities in the south.

Promoting Newbury and increasing footfall in the town is the main aim of the BID and another innovative marketing tool in its armoury is the new In Newbury magazine. This glossy, quarterly publication is placed in hotel bedrooms across West Berkshire, as well as in all Newbury Building Society branches and other retail outlets.

It provides an opportunity to let visitors know all the things there are to see and do in Newbury and encourages them to return again and again.