'Together we are stronger': Visit Lincs Coast Destination BID reports to levy payers at AGM

The organisation supporting businesses along the Lincolnshire coast maintains, 'Together we are stronger'.

Skegness Reggae & Ska Weekender attracted hundreds of people.

Visit Lincs Coast (BID) held its annual general meeting (AGM) on Thursday ahead of a crucial year when business owners vote as to whether it should continue for a further five-year term.

Since more that 1100 business owners in the Coastal Action Zone agreed to pay an extra levy payable to East Lindsey District Council for marketing and support, the organisation has faced a number of challenges, including the resignation of the original management team, and the impact of "leaving the European Union and the COVID 19 pandemic".

However, in the annual report delivered to members at the Embassy Centre in Skegness, its chairman Sid Dennis said they remain "passionate and optimistic".

BID Rangers repaired benches in Chapel St Leonards as part of their maintenance work along the coast.

Mr Dennis said: "We know that there has been a number of substantial changes and adjustments for us all.

"As we start to recover from the impact of two unprecedented national and international events, following the UK leaving the European Union and the COVID 19 pandemic continuing to influence lockdown rules. COVID-19 was extremely detrimental to our coastal economy and business trading conditions.

"That said, we were pleased that the Government were able to offer a variety of financial business support during the difficult times.

"In direct response to the impact felt by local businesses due to COVID-19, Lincolnshire Coastal Destination BID proactively deferred mandatory levy payments by six months to September 2020 in an attempt to help with cashflow.

A continental market was one of the events supported in Mablethorpe.

"Additionally, we were proactive in finding a mechanism to provide a 25% reduction for billing period 2021/2022.

"As a business we have had to utilise the Governments furloughing scheme, as well as also attracting grant support from the Government, as a collective and on behalf of levy payers, to provide a range of Covid recovery support activities.

"Funding and contributions from our reserves allowed us to deploy staff to play a vital part in providing business support in the way of daily communications, webinars, an online free skills training portal, support and guidance on grants, as well as delivery of PPE packs and social distancing signage.

"Following Government guidelines to ensure safety, our events program was either postponed and/or carried over to 2021.

Bateman's Bands on the Bank festival in Wainfleet was another event supported by Visit Lincs Coast BID.

"As the united local voice for our businesses and our members, we have continued to engage in regular dialogue with key partners including the GLLEP, East Lindsey District Council, Lincolnshire County Council, Visit England and the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum. Lincolnshire Coastal Destination BID will continue to support our businesses as best we can whilst we continue to recover from the global pandemic.

"We remain passionate and optimistic that we will utilise our resources as effectively as we can to support our levy payers into 2022 and beyond."

In addition to delivering three signature events in 2021 - the Sutton on Sea’s, Vintage-on-Sea Festival, the ever popular Skegness Reggae & Ska Weekender, - there was a brand new event, the Mablethorpe Music Mix Up Weekend.

Ivan the coastal Imp also spent his summer holidays at the Hildred’s Shopping Centre as part of the Lincoln’s IMP Trail, designed to encourage visitors from Lincoln to travel to the coast to complete this extraordinary trail.

Support was also given to a number of established events, including Bands on the Bank in Wainfleet, Chapel St Leonards Summer Family Festival and Mablethorpe Carnival, the National Bowls Tournament organised by the English Bowls Federation (EBF), Wainfleet Motorcycle Meet and the Skegness Gold Wing Parade .

"Since the events took place, we have been over-whelmed with positive feedback and have had hundreds of emails and messages regarding our event dates for 2022," the report states.

"An uncertain start transpired into a very eventful year for the Lincolnshire coast, along with the main events, we also delivered and/or supported a collation of other events across the coastal towns and villages."

Skegness Silver Band also performed in the Bandstand in Tower Gardens in August and September and has . in the Bandstand.

The BID also committed to contribute to two coastal causes - the Crime Prevention Team and the cleaning and maintenance of the Jolly Fisherman costume.

Ahead of the summer season, BID Rangers street team was employed in a number of projects cleaning bus shelters, phone boxes, benches and seating areas, graffiti removal, weeding and pathway clearance and disposal of unsafe or drug-related items from known “hot-spots” .

As part of Welcome Back in 2021 marketing strategy, there was a video campaign to promote the Lincolnshire coast coming back to life following lockdown restrictions and a centralised events calendar was created to help promote other events in the area and be a direct support for local businesses and event organisers.

Moving forward, Visit Lincs Coast (BID) have told businesses there will be an opportunity to discuss achievements as well as plans for the future, by attending a series of business engagement sessions, which will be held at various venues throughout the coastal strip.