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H-Town News

This newspaper is an opportunity for us to highlight the outstanding work undertaken by the Hitchin town centre businesses and the Hitchin BID team over the past 12 months. We are keen to share the positive stories of resilience as well as our recovery plans and what to look forward to in town over the next 12 months. It is now time to look forward to a brighter better year ahead. We are so excited to relay to you our plans to breathe new life back in our town centre and help businesses recover from the pandemic. We are delivering a comprehensive reopening plan, promoting our shop safe measures, and running a series of town centre events to attract footfall and support our businesses. With your help by supporting the shop, eateries, and services this year we will out of this, together, a stronger a more and more resilient town centre.

Hitchin Town News

Posted: Friday 1st January 2021
Our Hitchin - January 2021

A Better Year Together



I hope you all had a restful Christmas and New Year.
We are continuing with our projects and services to support businesses including our social media campaigns, cardboard recycling, ranger support, Hitchin Basket, and many other aspects of our business plan.
Although we are all under tight restrictions at the moment, we are busy putting plans in place to ensure our town is vibrant, clean, safe, well promoted and ready to welcome visitors back as soon as restrictions start to lift.
We have cautiously set dates for the 2021 events, started work on the tourism strategy and are putting various promotional plans in place to give Hitchin the best possible boost this year.
If you have any comment or suggestions on additional ways the BID can further support
businesses during this time or after the restrictions have lifted, please do get in touch by emailing tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com
- Tom Hardy, Town Centre Manager
 
New To Town


     

The Law Firm Group based in Hermitage Road,offer reliable, expert advice in areas such as property, family law, wills and probate, workplace law and litigation. The company is founded on the principles of outstanding legal expertise and the treatment of their
clients as human beings. They pride themselves on getting to know their clients well and look to forge long-standing relationships.

Phone Tech are a mobile phone shop located onBancroft, offering repairs, unlocking, buy, sell & exchange, accessories, and games.

Hitchin Osteopathy in Bridge Street offer Osteopathy, Medical Acupuncture, Sports Massage and Deep Tissue Massage. Their aim is to make your experience friendly and enjoyable while maintaining a high level of clinical care and professionalism.

N8 Health are a family Chiropractic practice owned and run by husband and wife team, Paul and Charlotte McCrossin based in Brand Street.
N8 is a play on words as Chiropractic is about creating the right conditions for the body to use it’s innate or inborn potential to heal and restore itself. Their mission is to educate and empower the community towards living a healthier lifestyle; believing that everyone deserves to live their best life and are they are committed to helping you on your journey to achieve your version of optimal health.

Opening Soon

The Pear Tree, Hitchin’s new play café, will be open in Queen Street within the next few weeks.
Children can play leaving adults free to relax and socialise while enjoying freshly made meals, cakes and hot drinks.

Cloud Nine Baby, is a baby and nursery retailer located on Bancroft. They will provide a personalised shopping service for parents-to- be and new parents, baby gift lists and baby showers, with online shopping providing UK wide delivery.
 
Discounted PPE


We have purchased a range of PPE and Covid-19 equipment in bulk for Hitchin Town Centre businesses.
All products are being sold at cost or at subsidised prices to ensure you are not overpaying for this. We also have various posters free of charge to display in your window.
Although the Information Centre is closed to the public, we are still open 6 days a week for businesses to collect this equipment.
Please contact rangers@hitchinherts.com

Social Media Campaigns
 


We are working hard to promote as many businesses as possible during this time.
Our social media campaigns are focusing on promoting products, services and eateries and how local residents can support businesses by online sales, click and collect, takeaways and deliveries.
Although we will be out in the town taking pictures and collating information online, please also send us as much information as possible along with pictures to marketing@hitchinherts.com

Cardboard and Coffee

Collections are continuing as normal in the town and as BID levy paying businesses you are entitled to have your cardboard and used coffee grounds collected for free.
Collections take place Monday to Friday 8am to 2pm. If you would like to sign up to this service or need to amend your collections please contact Tim Farr on 07595 414578
 


Town Centre Rangers



The Rangers are working hard in the town centre 6 days a week dealing with a wide range of jobs to ensure the town is a clean and safe environment for visitors and businesses.
At the moment their focus is ensuring businesses are supported through this time and they have been tasked with collating information as part of our social media campaigns. If you need any assistance or would like to know more about these campaigns, please contact rangers@hitchinherts.com
 
Events and Activities



We have cautiously set dates for some of the 2021 town centre events.

These are not only aimed at attracting footfall to the town centre but focusing on supporting the local businesses to ensure as many of you benefit from these activities as possible.
As well as events, we are working on as series of promotions, speciality maps, trails and social media campaigns to ensure the town centre is a vibrant place to visit:

1st April - Bancroft Bunny Hunt

29th May - Churchgate and Market Day

1st—31st July - Hitchin Festival

3rd July - Sun Street and Bucklersbury Day

24th July - Hitchin Pride

3rd—26th August - Hitchin Beach

7th August - Hermitage Road Day

4th & 5th September - Hitchin FoodFest

25th September - Bancroft Day

9th October - Arcade Day

15th & 16th October - French Market

28th October - Hermitage Halloween Trail

20th November - Christmas Tree Light Switch On
 
Town Centre Tourism

At the beginning of 2020 we undertook extensive work on a Hitchin Tourism Strategy which we intend to continue in the coming months.
The work looked at improvements to how potential visitors discover the town, their journey to the town centre, their experience and return visits.
All areas will be looked at and we intend to launch a new tourism plan for spring/summer this year.
For more information on this please contact: tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com
 
Grafitti and Fly Posting

As part of our ‘Clean Town’ initiative, the Rangers have been taking down flyposting and removing
graffiti across the town centre.
If you see any graffiti or flyposting, please report it to us and we will use our specialist equipment to remove it.
Please contact rangers@hitchinherts.com
 

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Posted: Monday 2nd November 2020
Our Hitchin - November 2020

A Vibrant Christmas



As we move cautiously into the Christmas period the expectations on how customers will behave towards shopping in the town centre have never been more uncertain. Thankfully, the national press coverage over the past 7 months, has put the need to support local businesses at the forefront of peoples minds. While businesses have all worked tirelessly to adapt and create a safe, welcoming environment for customers, we are working hard to deliver a series of campaigns alongside to highlight the importance of supporting our town centre this Christmas. Discounted Christmas Market Chalets, A ‘Thank You for Supporting Us’ Christmas video, A Voucher scheme, ’A Star for a Star’ Christmas parade, The Twelve Roads of Christmas and social media campaigns are just some of the projects and initiatives we are delivering to keep Hitchin town centre a vibrant place for customers to enjoy this Christmas. If you have any questions on how to get involved and benefit from these activities please get in touch by emailing tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com

Treat Yo'Self
'Treat Yo' Self gifts is a new independently owned shop, who opened their doors last month in Arcade Walk. Established by Hitchin couple Jo & Steve, the idea came to fruition during lockdown with the idea to stock fun, colourful gifts, homeware & cards from independent artists and small businesses around the UK & Europe! Jo & Steve are delighted to join the Arcade and all the other independent businesses around Hitchin. Please pop in to say hi, peruse for a gift for your loved one... or just 'Treat Yo' Self!'. For frequent updates, please follow: @treatyoselfgifts on Facebook & Instagram.



The Signing Rooms
The Signing Rooms venue in Sun Street has two pleasant, competitively priced rooms to hire, both on a one-off or regular basis. Due to the central location, it is ideal for customers to access and enjoy the additional facilities Hitchin has to offer during their visit. The neutral décor enables you to decorate the rooms with your own branding or style for that personal touch. The rooms are suitable for classes, clubs, meetings, small events, Photoshoots, 1:1 sessions, Educational groups and workshops. To book a room text Becky on: 07813 315914, email: bookings@signingrooms.co.uk visit: www.signingrooms.co.uk


Harvest Moon
Harvest Moon will be offering an appointment service in the evenings running from November 15th to December 15th From 6pm to 9pm This is an opportunity for our customers to have the shop to themselves and do their Christmas shopping. The appointments will be one-hour slots which gives the staff enough time to sanitise the shop in between visits. Maximum group size is 6 people at a time. If you would like to book an appointment, please contact the shop: 01462 432935 Email – harvestmoonhitchin@outlook.com



Humanitas News
Last month Humanitas launched their ‘We are all Human Here’ campaign to use the power of the local community for good and to remind us all that we will not be divided by religion, politics, race or borders and that the people of Hitchin are united by love for their fellow humans. The campaign is being supported by many well-known faces and businesses around Hitchin and the charity is encouraging the community to get behind their message. Taking part in the campaign is easy: simply purchase a £15 ‘WAAHH’ t-shirt from one of these outlets in Hitchin: Cantina Carnitas, Harvest Moon, H Town Rags, Riot Lounge, Brookers, Shared Space , Rhubarb,& Hitchin Information Take a photo of yourself in your new t-shirt and join the movement by posting it on social media using the #weareallhumanhere. Proceeds raised from the sales will help Humanitas to fund their school in Ghana and their homes for orphaned and abandoned children in Romania. For more info: www.weareallhumanhere.org or email: joanne@humanitascharity.org



Humanitas have also announced partnership with Tommie and Rebecca, founders of award-winning company @Bambuu & Co. The pair will be managing the environmental arm of their work, aiming to make positive environmental and social change in the communities where they work. www.humanitascharity.org/bambuuproject

Auction of Promises
Just a reminder that the British Schools Museum is holding their online Auction of Promises this month to bring in much needed funds. Promises will be auctioned off to the highest bidder; for example an hour’s computer training, two hours gardening, a cooking lesson etc. They need your help please – are you able to offer a promise that can be auctioned? Please contact Heather or Michael Baim on: penguinbaim@gmail.com or 07816 665594

Hitchin Market
Hitchin Market hosted the annual French Market down by the Riverside last month which was a huge success. They have a few speciality markets happening over the next couple of months so here are some dates for your diaries: Saturday 14th November & Saturday 28th November Craft & Farmer’s Market Saturday 5th November Sustainable Market Saturday 12th December Vegan Market Saturday 19th December Craft & Farmer’s Market Christmas Special 



Business Interruption Insurance
I have been contacted by a number of business over the past few weeks who have unsuccessfully claimed on their insurance for business interruption as a result of the Covid 19 measures. There are now a number of firms popping up who are offering a ‘no win no fee’ deal on claiming for business interruption. Many of these offers come with very high commission if successful. I am therefore investigating the best deals for town centre business and will circulate a list of reputable companies to use

Highover JMI School
Are you interested in being a governor? Highover JMI School Hitchin are seeking Co-opted Governors. Co-opted means someone from the local community, specifically not a parent of a child that attends the school. Being a school Governor is a rewarding and effective way of making a voluntary contribution to your community and to the lives and education of local young people. Co-opted Governors are appointed by the governing body to represent community interests, they live or work in the community and have a keen interest in the school’s success. Please send a written application of no more than 150 words together with a CV, detailing why you want the position and what skills, attributes and experiences you could bring to the role, to: l.clarke@highover.herts.sch.uk

Pebble November Offers
Pebble Sanctuary in Bucklersbury have some amazing deals available in November! Check online how you can save pounds with Pebble’s Autumn packages. www.pebble-sanctuary.com  

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Posted: Thursday 1st October 2020
Our Hitchin - October 2020
Business Interruption Claims


As you may have seen, the ruling by the High Court means that hundreds of thousands of small businesses will now be eligible to claim after being forced to close during the Covid-19 pandemic, following a high court judgement in the test cases brought forward by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).This ruling also mean that a very high number of businesses will now be claiming. If you have business interruption insurance and have been turned down, please make contact with your insurer as soon as possible. About 370,000 businesses are affected by the judgement and it had previously estimated the value of policies affected by the test case at about £1.2bn. Many insurers had declined to pay out, arguing that the business interruption policies were not designed to cover a government-imposed lockdown. This prompted the Financial Conduct Authority to launch a test case in the courts to provide clarity on business interruption policy clauses, based on a sample of 21 policies from eight insurers. This is one of the most significant insurance court case in years and the high court found in favour of the arguments advanced for policyholders by the FCA on the majority of the key issues. Given the number of claims that will now be eligible, the waiting time may be long, so, if you have business insurance that includes 'interruption', please claim as soon as possible. If you need any advice on claiming or more information on how this High Court outcome may affect your business please get in touch with me by emailing tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com

Christmas Tree Festival
Holy Saviour Church are still planning to hold their annual Christmas Tree Festival, but in a different form. They are asking retailers and businesses in Hitchin town centre if they can offer a window space for an exhibitor's tree or do one themselves and be included. They are in the process of contacting retailers, and agents of empty properties; and have had enthusiastic responses from previous exhibitors. A programme will be published for sale listing the trees and their locations so you can follow the trail, and they plan to have them lit in the afternoon and evenings. The dates are 12th and 13th December, with the possibility that some trees will remain in windows longer than that, towards Christmas itself. If you are an interested retailer with available window space and have not been contacted yet, please get in touch! ctf@holysaviourhitchin.org.uk


Vintage Bay
Vintage Bay has some exciting news! Their sister store ‘Vintage Bay Home’ is opening in 2021 just two doors up from their premises in Churchyard but first it will house an “emporium of dreams”, for three months in the run up to Christmas. Amy and her team have been desperate to expand since 2018 and are excited to finally be able to spread their wings (and treasure!). They will bring you more info on their home store later in the year but for now will begin the countdown to ‘VB at Christmas’ joining the gang in their favourite part of Hitchin!


Hermitage Halloween
Following on from last year’s successful Halloween Trail sponsored by Wood & Stone Floors in Hermitage Road, this month we will be holding the event on Thursday 29th October, during half-term week. Participants will pick up a map from outside the store and follow the trail around the businesses who will have a Halloween image in their window for them to identify. They will then be entered into a prize draw and there will also be a prize for best costume.


Kim Chi Korean Cafe
A new Korean food outlet opened in Brand Street last month. Kim Chi Café serves a vast selection of Korean food to takeaway. From rice, ramen, baguette and soft rolls with Korean fillings to delicious marinated meats cooked in Korean style, topped with cooked and pickled vegetables. Or Korean style crunchy chicken popcorn, homemade kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage) Chicken, Pork and Spinach Gyoza. Call them on 01462 459800.


New to Bucklersbury
Pebble too… Geraldine and Tracey from Pebble Beauty Sanctuary in Bucklersbury, officially cut the ribbon on their new venture, Pebble too... last month. The new premises, just a few doors along and specifically opened for required social distancing, will be used for nails and brows.


Neighbourhood Bakes Right next door, a new pop-up cake and coffee shop has opened in the former Jolly Brown premises.
Neighbourhood Bakes, who already have a following in town due to attending the local Craft & Farmers Market and Hitchin FoodFest, will be selling their delicious cakes, bakes and hot drinks Their opening times are: Weds-Fri, 8.30am-5pm; Sat & Sun, 10am-4pm 


Christmas Market
The Hitchin Christmas Market is an exciting new event aimed at supporting the town by offering the subsidised hire of chalets exclusively to town centre businesses in the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Chalets will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and although priority will be given to retailers, we will consider bookings from some food & drink businesses once retail slots have been filled. The dates are Tuesday 24th November, weekly up to Tuesday 22nd December and the price is £166+ vat per week. If you are interested in hiring a chalet and haven’t already received an application form, please email: marketing@hitchinherts.com

Hitchin Dental Care
Hitchin Dental Care in Paynes Park are running an offer on Boutique Teeth Whitening at the moment. This includes a 45-minute silver hygiene appointment for £349, a saving of over £90. 01462 451300 or enquiries@hitchindentalcare.co.uk

Update from Savvi Travel
The travel industry – from travel agents and tour operators to accommodation and transport providers – is ready to play its part in your holiday journey once more. Please keep in mind that travel continues to be an unprecedented and evolving situation for businesses as well as customers. As part of this, Savvi Travel and their associated suppliers want to continue to prioritise public health and follow the best medical and scientific advice. With this in mind, it is quite possible that your package holiday might look/be different to previous experiences – for example there might be changes to food service such as buffet options; the hotels might operate self-check-in; there might be fewer restaurants and more limited entertainment in resorts. However, a holiday should still be just that – time to get away and have fun and Savvi Travel are working hard to make it both a safe and enjoyable time throughout each step of the journey. There will be a range of considerations when planning a holiday. All our business partners providing holidays are working extremely hard to ensure that all holidays are safe to go on and that accommodation suppliers have Covid practices embedded into their businesses so it is safe for you to travel. They have very good refund/cancellation policies and when you book your holiday Savvi will highlight in detail all the Covid precautions and financial protection you'll get by booking through them - in some ways, it's never been better to book with very reasonable prices! 


XChange Fitness Offer
There are some amazing deals to be had for Hitchin BID members at Xchange Fitness. Full membership is only £27.50 per month, a saving of £10. This gives you access to classes, Cardio, Functional, Free Weights and Resistance areas, studios, and personal training, plus all other membership perks. There is one-month cancellation and no contracts. The offer runs until the end of October so get in quick! Contact them on 01462 437757 
 
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Posted: Tuesday 1st September 2020
Our Hitchin - September 2020
Positive Move Forward

The Eat Alfresco initiative on the Market Place has been a great success, and a positive way to utilise the square whilst previously planned events have been unable to take place. It has received really encouraging feedback both from businesses and the general public. At the moment, we are working hard to create a series of marketing, events, and promotional activities to support businesses and highlight the offer of the town. To compliment the new Hitchin Basket website, we are creating a series of speciality maps for the public to use while visiting the town, starting with the Eat & Drink map which will be published shortly. Although many activities have been postponed, we are looking forward to bringing back new events in the autumn/winter such as family friendly street trails, and speciality markets. If you have any additional suggestions on future events and promotions please contact: marketing@hitchinherts.com

British Schools Museum
As the British Schools Museum comes out of lockdown, it is embarking on a fundraising programme to bring in much needed funds. One of the initiatives is to hold an online Auction of Promises in November. Promises will be auctioned off to the highest bidder; for example an hour’s computer training, two hours gardening, a cooking lesson etc. Hitchin holds a unique place in the history of education as it boasts the world’s last remaining purpose-built monitorial school room. They need your help please – are you able to offer a promise that can be auctioned? Please contact Heather or Michael Baim on: penguinbaim@gmail.com or 07816 665594

Hitchin Information
The Hitchin Information office has had a brand new facelift and has been refurbished thanks to a Community Facilities Capital Grant from NHDC. We are now able to stock a greater selection of Hitchin-related merchandise as well as literature about Hitchin, what’s on, local attractions and transport links. The Art Hub gallery space has also reopened with some great pieces by local artists. Big thanks to Haywoods Builders who transformed the space. 


Shop Safe Products
We have plenty of equipment available to ensure that you and your staff are as safe as possible while trading in the town centre. The Hitchin Information Centre is open Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 4:30pm for you to come and collect reopening packs and extra products. I f you cannot make it over, contact our Rangers who can drop them off. Please call 07540 706832 or email: rangers@hitchinherts.com 
  • Hand Sanitiser 500ml 70% Alcohol - £5
  •  External social distancing floor stickers - £2
  •  Cotton washable facemasks - £25 (pack of 50)
  •  IIR anti droplet 95% filtration facemasks - £35 (Pack of 50)
  •  Anti-bacterial wipes - £3

New to Hitchin
Four new businesses have opened up in town over the last few weeks and town centre manager Tom Hardy performed the ribbon cuttings!
Alta Hairdressing opened its doors in the High Street in August and with over 30 years’ experience between them in top London salons, Mario and Robert are keen to recreate a West End vibe in the area. Their hair services include all aspects of cut and colour services and they are currently offering 25% off to local businesses.


Fadeaway Barbers decided to open their own salon after owners Joey and Jack worked together in Stevenage. They are really excited about becoming part of the Hitchin community and aim to create a professional and friendly atmosphere for all ages.

Casbah Grill newly opened in Churchyard, next to the Hitchin Information office, offer a good value menu of Mediterranean dishes, home made from scratch using fresh ingredients. All dishes are cooked with real charcoal to add that extra taste!


Rainbow Smoothie are a high-quality beverage cafe based in the Churchyard offering affordably priced drinks. Their open setup means customers can witness their drinks being made, ensuring they know exactly what is being put into their unique drinks. They prefer to provide customers with healthy but still enjoyable smoothie recipes however for the younger generation or anyone with a sweet tooth, they also serve quality Milkshakes and Frappes. All smoothies are jam packed with health benefits and vitamins making them perfect for the immune system and preventing unwanted colds/ viruses.


Cardboard Collections
As our free cardboard collection service is growing week by week, we now have a dedicated Ranger responsible for scheduling collections. If you haven't had a collection or need to book or amend your collection day/s please contact Tim on 07595 414578

Update from Hitchin Market
Hitchin Market’s reboot following lockdown appears to be developing into a good news story. Most of our regular traders have now returned and we have a number of new traders now on board, some on furlough taking advantage of the time on their hands, others who otherwise would be seen on the festival and events circuit, and there are also a fair share of professional market traders who are finding their other options limited. Primarily our new traders are either foodies or craft, hobby, specialist interest types, so we seem to be turning into a destination venue and great place for gift hunters. Our Craft & Farmers Market on the last Saturday of the month has resumed, now sited within the main market area, and is proving to be the most successful and busiest day of the month for us. We will have two Vegan Markets this year in October and December, they were great days for us last year and we hope they will be again. The Sunday Car Boot has also returned and while we have limited the numbers of Booters, so far there is hope that this will change in the not too distant future. We have some work to do to remind and help traders and visitors to practice good social distancing which we hope to have completed over the next few weeks and we also have an eye on Government advice and local COVID figures. Footfall has been mixed. Open air markets were part of the tranche of businesses that were able to reopen 1st June, and our first trading day saw plenty of visitors. Since then we have seen great days and some very quiet days, but those that do visit are now seeing a vibrant well occupied space with plenty of choices on offer so while we can only guess at the behaviours of consumers in the longer term, we can hope that with our reinvigorated offering shoppers will return and make Hitchin Market part of their day out.

Free Webinar
Find out how government financial incentives could boost your business – Monday 14th September at 6pm The government has introduced a range of financial incentives and initiatives for businesses who are looking to create vacancies and work experience opportunities for young people. Hitchin BID is offering all businesses the opportunity to find out more through a free webinar, delivered by Hitchin resident and business owner, Anna Morrison CBE. It will cover traineeships, kickstart, apprenticeships, T Levels and much more! To book your place: https://tinyurl.com/y5yfovqa 
 
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