Discover Lanark appoints BID manager to implement five-year business plan
Discover Lanark has appointed a manager to implement its five-year business plan.
Antonia Pompa (photographed) took up the post of BID manager on 1 October after businesses in Lanark voted in favour of establishing a business improvement district (BID) earlier this year.
No stranger to BIDs, Antonia spent the last 6 years leading The Big Heart of Merthyr Tydfil as the business improvement district coordinator for the South Wales town and is eager to take up the challenge, delivering Discover Lanark’s objectives.
She said: “There is quite a variety in the types of businesses and organisations in the town and I see Lanark as a place where you have a lot of people who are really proactive and if you’ve got that then you can build on it.
“Lots of people here have the town in their hearts and I’m looking forward to working with them.”
Prior to her role in Merthyr Tydfil, Antonia managed events and festivals for Walsall Council but although she has worked in town centres for over 20 years, she feels it is important not to start with any preconceptions.
Antonia said: “In the short term I will be out meeting people in their businesses, getting a feel from people for the town, how business is for them and what they would like to see.
“I also want to see and understand the events and festivals that are staged in the lead up to Christmas.
“I know the positivity that can come from really well-run events and sometimes that’s what you need to draw people into your town.”
As Christmas approaches, Discover Lanark have commissioned some short videos to promote the town and will be campaigning to highlight the breadth and diversity of the shopping experiences available on our doorstep.
But Antonia is already looking beyond the festivities, to the long-term goals, set out under the four themes in Discover Lanark’s business plan: appearance and access, business, community and Lanark and New Lanark.
She said: “I think each of the issues needs to be identified and planned and that’s what we will be doing in the next few months.
“The plan is multifaceted, and the individual projects all form part of a jigsaw which, when made up, we hope will form a vibrant, safe and attractive town centre.”
A key objective of the BID is to access external funding not available to individual businesses, and Antonia points out that the scope and timing of some projects will depend on the availability of potential revenue streams.
In her role as BID manager, Antonia will also be responsible for advocating with the council and The Scottish Government for the needs of Lanark and its business community.
Antonia recognises not all businesses are fully supportive of the BID but is hopeful many businesses will access the services and realise a benefit from the opportunities provided by the BID and is excited to move the business plan forward.
She said: “I like delivering things, so I am keen to get projects up and running.
“I’m also realistic, not everything we try will work but we should have courage in our convictions and get on with it.”
Graeme McLeish, chairman of Discover Lanark, said: “The Discover Lanark Board were immediately impressed with Antonia’s pragmatic approach, her record as BID Manager at Merthyr Tydfil speaks for itself – we consider ourselves to be very fortunate in obtaining such an asset”.
Discover Lanark has commenced several projects including the renovation of the town’s closes and working with cost reduction consultants, eyebright, to help businesses manage their utilities.
The Discover Lanark website is currently being updated, but further information about the business plan and current projects can be found at www.discoverlanark.co.uk or obtained from the Discover Lanark office in the Wellgate.
Article contributed by Alison Gilchrist.