Ten new BID businesses have been invited to be part of Cheltenham’s newest FREE interactive town centre trail – the magical Christmas Spirits Trail. The magical trail will start – Monday December 7 – Sunday 3 January.

The businesses now confirmed are Loake in Ormond Street, Hays Travel on High Street, Mister’s Cafe on Grosvenor Terrace,  Sevenoaks Sound and Vision in Pittville Street, Montpellier’s Co-op Food, Cheltenham Martial Arts on Winchcombe Street, The Clementine Café on Queens Circus, Vinegar Hill on The Promenade, The Everest on Portland Street and The Play Farm found in The Brewery Quarter.

Every parent’s mind will be on restrictions this Christmas and how they will affect them and their families. Cheltenham BID is keenly aware of this and has planned activities for families that can be done safely, socially distanced and contactless. For one of these, they’ve teamed up with QR code trail experts High Street Safari to create an interactive story-trail that is designed to encourage children to walk, have fun, get engaged and most importantly, take their minds off the pandemic.  

The trail is positioned around the town centre with 10 ‘Christmas Spirit’ characters and takes on average about 45 minutes to complete. It’s completely free for families and groups to take part in and they will win a heart-warming Christmas e-book at the end. At around 1.5 miles, or 3,500 steps, it should keep families fit and active too.

The trail works by utilising contactless QR codes, without the need for families to download or sign up to anything. 10 jolly window characters, all specially created for the trail have been placed around Cheltenham town centre for families to hunt down. There is no need to actually go inside the venues.

The Christmas Spirit Trail revolves around a magical story that includes Albert Claus, the less famous brother of Father Christmas. His job is to maintain the Spirit of Christmas by spreading joy bubbles on Christmas day, but he’s gone missing! By visiting the trail stops and speaking to each of the cheerful ‘Spirits of Christmas’, players will learn what has happened to Albert and, finally, be able to solve the mystery, save him and read the conclusion with the free e-book at the end.

When families in Cheltenham scan each character’s unique QR code the character will burst to life with an animation on their smartphone and they’ll learn their names, stories and gather clues, with the opportunity to also take and share selfies with the character. Younger children will enjoy spotting the colourful characters in shop windows and older kids, and grown-up ones, will engage by hearing the stories.

Stay up to dates with the Facebook Event here.

To find out more about the trail, visit the website: www.christmasspirittrail.com

For the trail map, visit: www.highstreetsafari.com/locations/cheltenham.

Completely new Christmas lights will be seen across the town centre from Tuesday November 24, brought to you by the BID and supported by Cheltenham Borough Council. There won’t be an official switch-on this year because of coronavirus pandemic restrictions but we’re confident the new look will be a major draw that will help all our businesses when they reopen after the national lockdown.

As well as the sparkle during the darker hours, the new Christmas lights will bring a gleam during the day.  Golden baubles will hang from the trees on the pedestrianised Promenade and gold powder-coated holly, reindeer, stars and harps will adorn the lampposts in other streets.  A new Christmas tree will be installed at the Montpellier roundabout.

Since the BID has been in operation, the lights have been extended to include The Strand, Cambray Place, Pittville Street, Clarence Parade, Regent Street and Winchcombe Street as well as The High Street and the new crossing between Boots and Primark is proving to be a popular spot for selfies. This is just one of the successful partnerships the BID has with Cheltenham Borough Council, without whose support we would not have been able to light up such a large area.

The BID would like to thank PDSA, High Street for assisting with The Strand’s ceiling of lights by supplying the electricity for the third year running.

Cheltenham BID has worked with more than 24 businesses on an exciting new Christmas marketing initiative designed to encourage people safely into the town centre this December.

An interactive advent calendar offering daily giveaways will sit on the BID’s social media channels throughout December, each day requiring entrants to answer a question related to a specific BID business.

Participants will be encouraged to go and safely interact with the businesses, and specific questions may require a study of window displays or a peep through to the shop’s interior. Once the answer is sent in, the participants will be in with the chance of winning the prize. 

For more competition information and the terms and conditions, visit https://bit.ly/3kJ9MnL.  

We have kindly been donated lots of high-quality prizes from businesses, including £500 worth of vouchers from Beards, prizes from Anthropologie, W.H Smith, Boots and so many more.

Do you follow Cheltenham BID on social media?

This article was written pre-lockdown 2.0. Please the centres update here.

Regent Arcade Shopping Centre is Cheltenham’s premier shopping destination. Located in the heart of Cheltenham, the Arcade boasts an impressive line-up of more than 50 retail stores, many of which offer a click & collect service, as well as dining options.

The Regent Arcade itself has introduced a one-way system allowing customers to access all stores, simplifying the mall dynamic to ensure a safe shopping environment, as well as offering regular digital communications for every retailer. The Centre has created additional showcase windows on the mall offering stores key display areas as well as bringing life back to a vacant unit.  The Regent Arcade retailers have worked incredibly hard to re-imagine their individual shopping experiences for customers during lockdown to ensure guidelines are met.

Cheltenham BID’ s Digital and Communications Exec Maria Allebone interviewed, Scott Lahive, Centre Manager at Regent Arcade about how he has felt the last couple of months have gone, the opening of KIBOU and exciting plans for the future.

MA: How do you feel the public have adapted to the Arcade’s new guidelines to encourage covid-safe shopping?

SL: The public have been incredibly cooperative when adhering to our new safety procedures, we understand that shoppers want to return to a safe environment and believe that the measures that have been put move us closer to the new normal.  

MA: What is the most recent exciting change/plan/event to happen in The Regent Arcade?

SL: Regent Arcade recently welcomed KIBOU to their food and beverage offering, the Japanese restaurant Cheltenham knows and loves. They are serving all your favourite handmade sushi, the tastiest ramen, katsu and tempura as well as heaps of other truly authentic Japanese dishes. If you haven’t visited them yet, they definitely need to be top of the list, with exquisite décor and fabulous customer service as well.

MA: Tell us about your November/December plans?

SL: Regent Arcade are very much looking forward to Christmas this year. We all need something to get excited about and to bring a little joy to a very challenging 2020. It may be slightly different this year, but we will still be bringing the magic to the Centre for Cheltenham shoppers to enjoy. After all, Christmas Is Here!

The Small Business Saturday tour, now in its 8th year, is one of the most valuable ways of both promoting and engaging directly with the nation’s small businesses. This year has been a huge challenge for small businesses, making it even more vital to support and promote our small businesses and their communities.

This year the tour will be conducted virtually, being the UK’s first online roadshow for towns and cities affected by the pandemic, offering a comprehensive package of support and mentoring. 

Kicking off on 2 November 2020 with daily ‘virtual visits’ to small businesses and communities in more than thirty locations across the U.K, Small Business Saturday UK will offer an ambitious, vibrant and intensive programme of locally targeted online advice, workshops and mentoring.

With the aim to support, encourage and uplift small businesses across the country facing the challenge of a second wave of Covid-19 restrictions, the virtual tour will form a central part of the official countdown to Small Business Saturday on 5 December. Now in its eighth year in the UK, Small Business Saturday celebrates small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support businesses in their communities.

How can you get involved?

The Tour 2020 from @SmallBusinessSaturdayUK is virtually visiting us on Thursday 19 November as part of their first ever online roadshow.

There are many activities taking place on the day to champion, support and inspire small businesses including: workshops, live interviews, fun-filled happy hour at midday and free mentoring sessions.

Interviews: If you would like be interviewed about your small business, local area or expertise please email: bustour@smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com

Mentoring: To book a free, virtual 1-1 mentoring session with a local business expert, please follow the link to create your free ‘My Small Business’ account and choose a time & topic that suits you: www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com

Daily Activities

Mentoring Sessions
The tour this year sees the return of the mentoring program. With help from the tour supporter, BT Skills for Tomorrow, we will provide mentors who can offer free support & advice to small businesses on a range of topics such as social media & digital marketing to cost & time saving advice.
To book: Each session will be available to book via the ‘My Small Business’ section at www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com.

Your help: Please spread the word of the mentoring sessions available on your designated day.

Live interviews
The famous ‘live interviews’ are back. For each stop, we will interview local small businesses, experts, local councillors, MPs and other local dignitaries. They will have the opportunity to share stories, demonstrate their product or business, promote the local area or offer help and advice, via the campaign’s social channels.
To book: email bustour@smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com
Your help: Please help out us get in touch with your local small businesses, councillors, MP’s and any other dignitaries to be interviewed on your designated day.

Happy Hour
Launched during lockdown, our small business happy hour live series has seen phenomenal success and has now firmly become part of some viewers weekly routine. It is a vessel for us to share good news stories from across the world of small business, and also offer the chance to win fabulous prizes from small businesses.

During the tour, we will broadcast with the addition of actually featuring live, some of the businesses we are talking about in the good news section, or the provider of the day’s giveaway.
Your help: Please share with us local small business good news as we draw closer to your designated day. Any suggestions for the small business provider of the day’s giveaway are most welcome. Please note, we are not looking for donations; we will purchase the products from the small business.

Business experts will be running workshops at each ‘stop’ at 11AM for up to an hour. These workshops will offer helpful tips and tricks or the opportunity to learn some new skills. Please see the schedule for details of upcoming workshops and how to join.
To book: All workshops will be available to book on our website and are open to all small businesses UK wide: https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/the-tour#workshops

Your help: Please share and encourage your networks to attend.

Ten new BID businesses have been invited to be part of Cheltenham’s newest exciting FREE interactive town center trail – the magical Christmas Spirits Trail. Trail will start – Saturday 14 November – Sunday 3 January.

The Christmas Spirit Trail is an interactive experience trail with a difference. Families don’t just walk from one stop to another looking at things – they fully interact with the trail by scanning the QR codes (kids love to do this), seeing the colourful characters burst to life with animations, learning their unique stories and are finally rewarded with a bespoke Christmas Spirit eBook at the end.

The trail will lead groups to 10 locations within the BID zone (town centre) where Near Field Communication (NFC) – a contact-less communication technology – and QR codes will be used to identify the individual Christmas spirits.

You may not have heard about him but Santa has a less famous brother, Albert Claus. Albert’s job is to maintain the Christmas Spirit and spread joy bubbles on Christmas day, but he’s gone missing!

By visiting the trail stops and speaking to each of the cheerful Spirits of Christmas, players will learn what has happened to Albert and, finally, be able to solve the mystery, save him and read a free Christmas Spirit eBook at the end.  

Meet Koto, ‘Spirit of Christmas Song’, one of the 10 ‘Spirits of Christmas’ on the trail.

Trail map and more information to come.

Keep up to date with the FACEBOOK EVENT.

Cheltenham BID are confident that the trail can be played in a very safe and responsible manner. Players will likely be in family/small groups and will not need to enter any buildings to play. All displayed materials will discourage players from physically touching the windows/posters and the BID will install markings around the window decals to give families space to interact with them one group at a time.

Martin Bundy is the most recent addition to the BID Board having successfully been elected to represent the National Retail sector.

Martin has been a John Lewis Partner for more than 19 years and is currently the Manager of the Cheltenham Store. Martin has held a variety of senior positions at a number of John Lewis shops around the country. As well as in-store roles, Martin has worked in JLP’s head office for over five years, carrying out project and business development roles. He says: “I’ve been lucky to have had a varied career in JLP. I thrive in an atmosphere where there is variety and an ability to influence the future. I worked on our Cheltenham project for some time and was delighted to be given the opportunity to come and lead the team here from when the shop opened over a year ago.”

Martin is excited about being on the BID Board and he knows Cheltenham is a fantastic place, with so much potential. Helping to form the town’s future as a thriving business location in a time when high streets generally are going through a transformation energises him.

Martin thinks a successful BID can manage both short-term issues together with influencing a longer term vision with key stakeholders.  “Ultimately, we are here to represent all the businesses and to inform and influence future decisions,” said Martin. 

Family life is important to Martin and since taking up the position in Cheltenham, he has spent more than a year working away from his former home on the south coast. He has recently relocated his family to the local area. He said: “I am delighted to say that we are officially Cotswold residents, so something must have been right about Cheltenham that encouraged us to move here.”

Martin is looking forward to their first Cheltenham Christmas together. He said: “Spending time with the family will be a real luxury.” He hopes his wife Kirsty, seven-year-old daughter Poppy and 10-year-old Dachshund Jasper feel the same way!

Launched in January 2017, Cheltenham’s Boutique Sale will return for the fourth year on 26 January 2020.

This BID initiative has helped some of Cheltenham’s best known independent and favourite brands to come together and create a unique shopping experience for their customers.

Shoppers benefit from having access to some exclusive discounts from the likes of Keith Scarrott Shoes, Beards and Molton Brown to name a few.

The 2020 event will once again be held in the stunning Princess Hall at Cheltenham Ladies College.  Space is very limited so if you would like your business to be a part of this, please get in touch with Belinda Hunt at belinda@cheltenhambid.co.uk.

Laura Leigh set up her business in 2005.  Over the next ten years the business continued to expand and in 2015 Laura moved her business into the stylish salon they now occupy in Clarence Street. There is now a team of more than 20 staff, many of whom started their training with the business and are now award-winning stylists.

In the Gloucestershire Business Awards 2016, Laura won the Young Business Person of the Year. The accolades don’t stop there. The salon was voted Cheltenham’s number one luxury hair and beauty salon in the SoGlos Awards and was given a Highly Commended at the BID Awards in 2017.

With a loyal and ever-expanding client base, the salon offers the latest in beauty treatments and their contribution to the industry has been recognised by top brands like L’Oreal, Kerastase and HD Brows.

Laura’s passion for what she does spills over into every aspect of the business, including the development of her team.  Natalie Ursell, who began her training at Laura Leigh and is now Senior Stylist, has progressed her career and was recently awarded the L’Oreal Colour Trophy for Best in the Region with her men’s image model.

A strong supporter of the BID, Laura is always eager to get involved with the BID’s activities.  She was a vital member of the Cheltenham Beauty Week project team and helped to bring that exclusive event to fruition in 2018.

Laura recognises the value of working with other businesses to create unique customer experiences and she believes that sharing client bases is a win, win situation.  She is looking forward to the latest venture, a masterclass in collaboration with Charlotte Tilbury and Molton Brown, to be held at The Clarence Social later this month. Find out more about the event here.

As BID business of the month, Laura Leigh Hair and Beauty will have the opportunity for a representative to speak at the next Cheltenham Business Forum’s Big Breakfast.