BRADFORD BID has launched a ground-breaking new role to provide face-to-face support for businesses fighting to recover from the effects of the pandemic lockdown.
Nikki Chadburn becomes the BID’s first Business Engagement Officer with a brief to ensure the 630 levy-paying firms and organisations in the city centre Business Development District know what help is available to them and how they can access it.
BID chairman Ian Ward said: “It’s now widely recognised that BIDs are playing a crucial role in helping businesses to get back on their feet following the lockdown.
“The advice and support we’ve been able to supply to local businesses during the lockdown and in the pre-recovery period has been vital and well-received.
“Levy-payers rely on us to help keep them up to date with the latest developments, government policies and new guidelines and this new role will enable us to do an even better job of providing that support in a more direct and focussed manner.
“We think it’s an innovative way to tackle the needs of city centre retailers, hospitality and service providers and others at this time and it will provide long-term benefits and ongoing support into the future well after the pandemic has eased.”
Nikki, aged 32, has been working with the BID in a temporary capacity since January and says she is itching to get stuck into her new permanent post.
She said: “I’ve really enjoyed working for the BID in my acting capacity and I’m thrilled to be taking on this new role which is going to be hugely important as we move forward.
“I can’t wait to get out and about and start passing on information, advice and guidance to those who need it as well as listening to levy-payers and finding out how they’re working their way back after the traumas of lockdown.”
Nikki, who is originally from Guiseley, has a degree in childhood and youth studies. She started her career in childcare and launched a new nursery before moving into managerial roles. Before joining the BID, she was a project manager at a tile company, running 100 projects at any one time.
“My new position is going to be fundamental for the recovery of the city centre following the Covid-19 restrictions,” she said. “Communication has been challenging during this period and having the resource to go out and see people face to face is going to make a huge difference to levy-payers’ understanding of exactly what the BID can do for them and the help they can get.
“My first mission is to make sure all the businesses know who we are and what we have been doing to support them so far and how crucial the BID is at a time like this.
“We are the voice of recovery for them but there are still people who don’t really know about the BID or understand what we do, how we can represent their interests and how we can help.
“But it’s not just about the recovery; even when we’re through that period we need to ensure we understand exactly what the levy-payers want us to provide and what they expect from us in terms of our efforts to increase and improve footfall and how we go about it.”
One of Nikki’s key tasks in preparation for her new role has been to update the BID’s website which now has an in-depth section which details of all the latest advice and developments on government guidelines and where support is available.
BID manager Jonny Noble said: “As Business Engagement Officer, Nikki will be in the front line, building relationships with levy-payers and helping to ensure we are meeting their needs and enabling them to respond to the challenges that this pandemic will continue to throw up in the weeks and months ahead.
“She will be a first point of contact for business enquires and she will champion business concerns and aspirations and ensure businesses are involved in the development of policies and strategies that shape the city centre and Bradford BID.
“I think this is a huge step forward for the BID and I’m really looking forward to working with Nikki on taking the impact of the BID to the next level.”
The Business Engagement Officer post is being partially funded through the £6.1 million support provided by the Government to BIDs across the country to help them carry on their work, which high streets minister Simon Clarke said was vital “in supporting local businesses, empowering communities, championing our town centres and driving forward the renewal of our high streets.”