A New Year Message from Ruth Duston OBE, OC -

2022 has been fantastic, we welcome 2023

As another year draws to a close, I am reminded of the amazing work going on across London, through BIDs. Collective will is continuing to transform communities, set the agenda and drive the capital’s renaissance. Across our portfolio there have been many highlights, but I wanted to shine a light on just a few, and crucially thank the entire Primera family, our partners, businesses, and wider stakeholders. London continues to face challenges – and opportunities – and BIDs are at the forefront of how the capital is responding. It’s a privilege to be working with so many committed and talented people, everyone working to ensure London remains the best city in the world to do business.

2023 will be busy and not without its fair share of uncertainty, not least with the ongoing industrial dispute that I hope gets resolved as soon as possible, but I believe in this city’s resilience and ability to adapt and grow. I hope you all enjoy the festive break with friends, family and loved ones, and wish everyone health and happiness for the new year.

My Top Five Highlights of 2022:

  • Successful ballot outcomes in the City of London for the Fleet Street Quarter and EC BIDs were a great way to start the year. The new BIDs joined the established BIDs at Aldgate and Cheapside, and are now pioneering a new era of public private partnership in the Square Mile. With the Culture Mile Partnership going to ballot in the new year, we are on track to see five BIDs in the City generating an aggregate annual income of £9m to drive transformation and change.
  • A year of royal focus in London HQ, starting with our incredibly popular giant Corgi trail to mark the Platinum Jubilee, and then witnessing the incredible performance of the BIDs in responding to the tragic death of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Working with partners to deliver ‘Operation London Bridge’ the team worked around the clock engaging with our business communities and visitors to keep the area safe, accessible, and welcoming. Across the OLB period our Ambassadors played an important role supporting the huge number of mourners who visited the area, having thousands of interactions with members of the public over just a few days. Ambassadors in Victoria had over 7,103 interactions, +235% on the previous 12 days and Northbank Ambassadors had 2,111 interactions, +256%.

Our Ambassadors also distributed walking maps to stewarding staff, military personnel and police officers to help their engagement with the public. 1,500 maps were distributed in Northbank and 3,000 in Victoria.

  • Launching the agenda-setting research programme, ‘Un_biased’, in our CDA BID footprint. Un_Biased is a project to analyse women’s work life journeys, understand the barriers that can stop them from realising their full potential and identify opportunities for change.
  • BIDs across the capital are now front and centre when it comes to delivering activity to drive the Destination Marketing agenda. This work is especially notable with seasonal campaigns in the summer and crucially at Christmas. Across our portfolio it was wonderful to see the festive lights, trees, and events taking place over the last few weeks. It’s especially rewarding to see in an area such as Harley Street, which is one of Westminster’s newest BIDs and has certainly hit the ground running in terms of delivering for its business community.
  • Finally, I am hugely proud of what we have achieved at Strand Aldwych. Transforming the Strand Aldwych area has been something talked about for more than 30 years, but for various reasons the project was put in the ‘too difficult’ box and never progressed. To see how collective will has moved into collective action, driven by the efforts of the BID working in partnership with Westminster and other key stakeholders, is incredibly rewarding and demonstrates the powerful force for good that BIDs can be. Over the last decade the BID has invested around £1m, being the catalyst for the significant capital investment made by Westminster City Council. Check out this short video highlighting the project – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRdXgUi4fuc