Falkirk Delivers, the town’s Business Improvement District (BID), was shown great support by shop owners, the vast majority of whom were happy to vote to renew its BID status for a fourth term.
This summer, Falkirk Delivers asked member businesses to back the BID in a renewal ballot and, in return, receive further advice and marketing support tailored towards driving footfall back into the area as the town looks to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
Of the 665 town centre businesses, 49.07 per cent placed a vote, with 87.4 per cent polling in its favour – an increase of 18 per cent compared to 2016’s ballot.
Elaine Grant, Falkirk Delivers manager, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that the businesses have voted to continue with the team.
“There’s been a number of BIDS that have been unsuccessful and a number in Scotland that have been successful but not as successful in terms of the numbers that we’ve had.
“We had 49 per cent turnout; the minimum we must have for it to be a successful ballot is 25 per cent.
“When we’re asking businesses to pay for services in the pandemic, that gives us a lot of hope. With the rateable value, we must have 51 per cent vote yes to stop it being heavily weighted to smaller independents or large nationals.
“If all the small businesses had voted, we wouldn’t have got it through. Based on that, we had 83 per cent of the rateable value voting yes.”
Elaine and her staff are now focusing on the future and paving a path to recovery and, ideally, prosperity for local traders.
Falkirk Delivers has applied for VisitScotland funding and is working with “a number of different partners” on plans it hopes will help boost businesses.
Its farmers’ markets, held on the first Saturday of the month (10am-4pm), return to High Street this weekend.
This Saturday’s offering will feature 20-plus stalls and coincide with a COP26-themed event.
Elaine said: “Our farmers’ markets are going to be around reuse and upcycling and recycling products.
“We’re looking for people within the area who upcycle, recycle or grow locally.
“The Society of John De Graeme is going to offer a historical tour leaving from the town centre on the first Saturday of the month.
“It’s going to be free to encourage people to come into the town centre but also allow them to share a bit about their local heritage. I’m getting a flag made at The Steeple so people will know where to go.
“We have also booked the puppet Storm, which is a 10-metre-high sea goddess made out of recycled and natural materials.
“We’re planning our Christmas schedule for the lights switch-on. We’re mindful things can change very quickly and will plan for restrictions being in place.
“We’re also looking at business support events. Our main focus over the next year is to make Falkirk a digital town, to allow the businesses to engage with customers more freely.”