A RANGE of initiatives to help boost Stockton town centre have proven a huge success.

KAPOW festival in Stockton Picture: DAVID WOOD

The town’s Business Improvement District has been operating for just six months but in that time has already created a number of large scale events.

And figures show that these have had a positive impact on driving visitors and locals into the centre.

Since launching the BID team have delivered a Strictly Valentine’s tea dance featuring BBC Strictly Come Dancing star, Giovanni Pernice, Stockton in the Spotlight, a Fashion Extravaganza and sci-fi festival, Kapow.

And BID manager, Karen Hindhaugh, revealed these activities have helped raise the profile of the town.

“Of the people who attended our Strictly Valentine’s event, more than 40 per cent told us in a survey that they hadn’t been to Stockton in the last three years but loved the experience and have returned since,” she said.

“During the weekend of our fashion shows footfall in the town centre was at the highest since the Stockton Calling event in April, peaking with around 20,000 people in the town centre on the Saturday.”

Kapow was equally as successful, despite bad weather throughout the day, with more than 16,000 visitors to the town centre.

The BID team has also launched an Eat and Drink guide and helped with The Peculiar Past tours, which saw local schools on a guided walk of the town to discovery its quirky history.

A book of offers from town centre retailers has been distributed to 10,000 homes and businesses across the area, with the BID also being involved in a range of measures to keep the area safe.

“We work closely with both Cleveland Police and Stockton Town Council and secured a package of funding to increase enforcement in the town centre,” said Karen.

“With the result that we’ve seen a reduction in anti-social behaviour.”

The BID has also teamed up with the North East Retail Crime Partnership to launch an initiative in the town.

Stockton BID – Strictly Valentine’s Tea Dance.
Picture by Dawn McNamara 14/02/17

“We have achieved an incredible amount in a relatively short space of time and the feedback we are getting is that everyone is delighted with the effort that has been made so far,” said Karen.

“We’ve also got an exciting programme ahead in the next few months, including our Stockton-by-the-Sea beach at the High Street in August plus the production of a market guide.

“We will also be seeing more schools involved in the history tours which will then be rolled out so that local groups and then public at large will be able to enjoy them.”

For further information visit www.stocktonbid.co.uk