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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: Monday 17th May 2021
Our Hitchin - May 2021
Recognising our Town's Businesses

Although the pandemic has been incredibly challenging for most of us, this situation has certainly highlighted the importance of our town centre community and the businesses within it. To recognise the outstanding achievements made by our business community, we are launching the new ‘H-town Business Awards’ from 1st June. The awards will be open for 8 weeks and the public and businesses will be able to go to: hitchinherts.com/awards and vote for a deserving business. Hitchin’s unique mix of commerce and culture has seen it fare better than most towns, but the pandemic set unprecedented challenges. These awards are designed to raise the profile of the town’s businesses by engaging the Hitchin public in a process of recognising outstanding achievements in the toughest of times. The awards will highlight the many success stories and remind people how fortunate Hitchin is to have such a resilient and vibrant business community. As life slowly returns to normal, these awards are part of a coordinated strategy of initiatives designed to ensure the hard work of the last 12 months is not wasted and that Hitchin bounces back; better than ever.

Reopening the Town Centre
The majority of the town centre businesses reopened on 12th April and we have been busy delivering a wide range of projects in line with our four reopening objectives:
Reminding the public of what Hitchin Town Centre has to offer.
Reassuring the public of the shop safe measures in place.
Encouraging the public back to the town centre.
Promoting Hitchin Town Centre as a whole and its eclectic mix of businesses.
Combining online promotions, printed media and eye-catching posters, banners, videos and publications, we have reached a wide range of Hitchin residents and encouraged them back to the town centre to support our local businesses.
We released the Hitchin Town Centre ‘Welcome Back’ video which had over 6000 views and reached over 9000 people.
We produced the H-Town News, our first newspaper which was delivered to over 15,000 households and is available to view online at: www.hitchinherts.com/news. We put up a range of banners and posters around the town welcoming the public back to the town centre and produced a series of social media campaigns to promote businesses.

Eat Alfresco
From 12th April we opened the Market Place up as an alfresco dining area, this opportunity is exclusivily offered to Hitchin Town Centre businesses. It is running 7 days a week from 10am to 9pm and has been hugely successful at not only allowing businesses to trade outside but also bring a buzz back to the town centre. If you are interested in taking a space in the Market Place, please get in touch with marketing@hitchinherts.com


Night Rangers
Although the Night Rangers were put on hold over the lockdown period, when the pubs and restaurants were open, they played an important part in the safety and security of the towns night-time economy. We will be bringing them back from Friday 21st May and they will be mobile around the town on Fridays and Saturdays from 10pm to 3am.

Grafitti Removal
We have identified 137 pieces of graffiti in the town centre which has appeared over the past 12 months. Although the Rangers work hard to remove graffiti, there is a large amount that is hard to get rid of with general cleaning equipment. We have received a grant from NHDC to remove all the graffiti in the town and we are looking at investing in new equipment to ensure we are able to deal with all new graffiti in the future. 

Spring Clean Up
A massive thank you to the local residents that gave up their time in April to help repaint over 50 of the blue bollards in the town centre.

Floral Displays & Bunting
We will be installing floral displays around the town centre this year. These consist of 3 tier planters, hanging baskets and barrier baskets. We have also been awarded a grant funding to install planters in locations around Market Place and High Street to promote social distancing. As well as this, we have erected bunting across various road in the town centre ahead of returning community events.


New to town
We are delighted to be able to welcome some amazing new businesses to the town centre.
Cloud 9 Baby A Nursery retailer selling baby products, gifts and baby clothing, prams, pushchairs, buggies, travel systems, car seats, nursery furniture and cots, baby monitors and sterilisers. At 38-39 Bancroft.

N8 Health Owners Paul and Charlotte McCrossin are keen to help our community live a pain free life through providing safe and gentle Chiropractic care. Principal Chiropractor has over 27 years experience and is passionate about giving people more life in their years!
Smoke Haus & Grill at the bottom of Churchgate sell burgers, grilled and fried chicken and Indian food.
Pear Tree Café A children’s play café in Queen Street serving food and hot drinks.
Alexander Lewis in Bancroft are an independently owned estate agent covering Hitchin and the surrounding areas.

‚ÄčPhone Tech next door to Vinegar Hill, buy, sell and repair mobile phones.
Our Favourite Shop Offering vintage Americana and classic clothing, alongside second-hand records. They will also buy and trade these items. In Arcade Walk.
Coming soon to the town are: Café Ibos, Hitchin Flooring, Jerry’s Brunch, Home Essentials, Little Monkey, The Hearing Practice and Biggie Best.

Child friendly hub
Child-friendly, family focused businesses; Mama Baby Play, MamaBabyBliss, The Signing Rooms and the Good Play Guide are now all together under one roof in Sun Street.
Mama Baby Play offers a play area and cafe designed for babies and toddlers to roam free and explore, allowing parents and carers a space to relax and socialise. It hosts a magical play area, with astro turf grass and wooden trees, an explorer area with climbing equipment to challenge the more adventurous, darkened sensory room with coloured lights, sounds and tactile toys to awaken the senses or to chill out and a café.
Recognising the struggles many new parents face, they have designed the space with adults and little ones in mind, with the opportunity to attend a variety of expert parent and baby classes and workshops delivered through MamaBabyBliss founder, Justina Perry. More information on classes can be found at: www.mamababybliss.com.
New to the area, The Good Play Guide is an independent resource, dedicated to ensuring every child can develop the skills needed to thrive and lead a happy, healthy childhood.
It is also the home of the Good Toy Guide, an expert accreditation service for children’s products, providing trusted expert reviews for parents and gift-givers. www.goodtoyguide.com
Signing Rooms can also be found in the Sun Street hub. It’s a perfect venue for hosting private and public activities, classes, meetings and events. It comprises two, competitively priced rooms to hire, both on a one-off or regular basis. There are baby and children’s classes, after school clubs, adults classes and workshops. Full details of current services, and room hire information can be found at www.signingrooms.co.uk

2021 'Hopeful' Events
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:
 26th June
H-Town Unlocked
1st—31st July
Hitchin Festival
24th July
Sun Street and Bucklersbury Day
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 
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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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