There wasn’t a City Matters column last month due to the launch of the draft Ripon City Plan consultation which has been a focus for my work.
Even over the last month this has continued to dominate with organising consultation events such as the recent business breakfast briefing, manning the drop-in sessions at the town hall, answering queries and continuing to work on additional supporting information which will be required when the plan is submitted.
However, during the last month time has also been spent looking ahead to forthcoming events.
In particular at this time of the year the City Development Team, with our experience in event management, have a role in working with the army and police to secure the necessary permissions and put in place the arrangements for Remembrance Sunday.
Our council colleagues meanwhile, are working with the Royal British Legion, the cathedral and others, to ensure a fitting tribute with a civic parade across the city and services at the War Memorial in the Spa Gardens and in the cathedral.
Ripon’s recent history is intertwined with the armed forces and therefore Remembrance Day is an important civic occasion and an opportunity to acknowledge the sacrifices made.
This year as well as personnel from 21 Engineer Regiment, Corps of Royal Engineers, we will also be welcoming personnel from 6 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps who have recently taken up their new home at Dishforth, having moved from Germany.
Work on Christmas is also well underway. Continuing our programme of investment, additional lights are being purchased and will be installed around the city to give ever growing coverage and replace expired older stock.
The displays will be revealed at the Christmas Lights switch on event, which will take place on Saturday, November 26.
This is, as usual, on the same day as the Cathedral Food and Gift Fair.
The following week, the Ripon Christmas Market on Kirkgate will take place, building upon the success of last year’s Kirkgate Christmas Pantomime Market.
More details of the programme of entertainment for both events will be announced soon.
Both events have been designed to attract people into the city during the festive trading period.
Indeed the Ripon Christmas Market on Kirkgate coincides with Small Business Saturday and we are looking at how to exploit that link to ensure the whole of the city benefits.
As a City Development Team we know that this is an important time of the year for retail businesses with often as much as 50 per cent of turnover for the year generated in November and December.
Remember, for every £1 spent locally around 50p – 70p recirculates back into the local economy compared with around 5p for the same £1 spent out of town or online.
So, what happens during the festive period can influence the future retail mix in our city centre.
With many High Street chains also offering click and collect, there are opportunities to do a lot of your festive shopping in Ripon city centre, so, if you want to maintain the shops that we currently have in Ripon then please do think about supporting independent businesses and buying local this Christmas.
Buying locally is also a focus of our Christmas promotional brochure this year. This is currently being designed in readiness for distribution during early November.
Containing details of all the events in and around Ripon, the Discover Ripon Christmas What’s On Guide will be widely distributed to promote the city.
The Christmas period will also see the launch of a new digital marketing and promotional campaign, which is being commissioned by the Ripon CIC using a grant that it has been able to secure.
The aim of the programme is to build upon the success of the promotional videos for Ripon market and to provide additional digital content which can be used to support our existing printed marketing and promotional materials.
This digital content will be shared and can be used by others to help promote and market the city.
Finally, this is always a busy time of the year, so I am delighted that the council has agreed to an expansion to the City Development Team, although initially only temporarily until the end of March.
Sheila Taylor has recently joined Sally and myself in a new part-time role and the increase in capacity will enable us to deliver more projects as part of the City Development Initiative.
As ever, we are always looking for volunteers to help support our events and activities.
So if you can help to distribute leaflets, or marshal at an event we’re holding, please contact Sally, Sheila or myself on: 01765 601100 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.