CHARLOTTE WICKINS: Promoting Chichester city to the world

Charlotte Wickins
Charlotte Wickins

Imagine my excitement when I took that all-important call inviting me to attend for interview for the post of Chichester BID manager... then my trepidation, when I understood the interview process was an all-day event!

The presentation topic was on how to increase footfall into Chichester.

My research took me through existing projects and I discovered that the BID was elected to deliver on four main objectives voted for by the BID levy-payers. Many initiatives have already been completed, with more projects under way.

Chichester has 700 BID hereditaments (units paying a levy fee), making it one of the largest districts across south England BIDs.

However, Chichester now has two part-time paid staff in the office, while other BIDs have at least two full-time equivalent staff and sometimes ‘rangers and ambassadors’ to help. Current income remains £278,000 per annum, made up of one per cent of the rateable value of each unit – good value, when 70 per cent of BIDs collect one-and-a-half per cent across the south!

So I set about thinking, how could I add value with limited time and a tight budget and deliver the priorities voted on by the levy-payers..?

It is a daily challenge for the BID to deliver the best outcomes with so much bureaucracy and consensus required for most initiatives.

Plus there’s the event organisation and management, budgets and finances, endless emails, marketing and just running an office!

The Chichester BID is halfway through its first five-year term and the passion of the BID board, who give freely of their time, is tangible.

The management team have inspired me with their vision for Chichester – a safe, organised, clean and welcoming city full of creative people, quality businesses, excellent facilities promoting inspirational marketing and events to encourage the world to come to us. They wish for success within our business community and strive to create strong relationships.

Thankfully, I have a solid foundation to build on, to grow and continue to deliver the BID objectives to the best of our ability. I am committed to creating efficiencies across my remit, greater transparency and improving stakeholder communication. All of us must join up and collaborate to offer convenience, quality and value, to meet our vision.