b'APRIL 2021WELCOME TO H-TOWNNEWS!As Town Centre Manager I amThis newspaper is an opportunity for us to highlight thesafe campaigns, PPE, the Eat Alfresco Initiative to support our outstanding work undertaken by the town centre businesses,eateries and the Christmas Market to support the retailers are just responsible for the Hitchin Businesslocal organisations and the Hitchin BID team over the past some of the projects we have delivered to help traders. Improvement District (BID) which12 months. We are keen to share the positive stories of resilience Although the pandemic has been incredibly challenging for most delivers a wide range of projects andas well as our recovery plans and what to look forward to in townof us, this situation has certainly highlighted the importance of initiatives to keep Hitchin town centre over the next 12 months.our town centre community and the businesses within it.On behalf of the Hitchin businesses, I would like to thank you, To recognise the outstanding achievements made by our business a vibrant, clean, safe, and well promotedthe residents of Hitchin, for your ongoing support of the towncommunity, we are launching the new H-town Business Awards environment for the public to enjoy andcentre. The Government grants have gone some way to helping(see page 12). Under set categories, local residents will havebusinesses to prosper.our businesses but without the overwhelming support from thethe opportunity to vote for businesses they feel deservepublic to shop local, many of our much-loved tradersextra recognition. would not have made it through the past year. Although it is now time to look forward to a brighter better we have sadly lost several businessesyearaheadWearesoexcitedtorelaytoyouour due to the pandemic, we have also gained many more andplanstobreathenewlifebackinourtowncentre maintained a vacancy rate of 6% whichand help businesses recover from the pandemicis half the national average. Hitchin isa remarkable town and prides itself on having strongWe are delivering a comprehensive reopening plan, promoting our community connections, business engagement and shop safe measures, and running a series of town centre events a real sense that everyone is collectively working to attract footfall and support our businesses. hard towards making it an exciting and innovativeWith your help by supporting the shops, eateries, and services place to enjoy.this year we will come out of this, together, a stronger and more The past 12 months we have all had to adapt quicklyresilient town centre.and come to terms with measures that have been imposed on a scale never seen before. The town centre businesses have been busy behind the scenesTom Hardycoming up with creative and innovative ways to survive. The Hitchin BID team and I have focused on supporting businesses in any way we can. Regular business communication on guidance and grants, shop'