Term One Business Plan
Linen Quarter BID was successfully voted back in for a second term in February 2023, by 92% of levy paying members who voted. Below is information on all we achieved in our first term which ran from 2018 – 2023. For more info on our aspirations for term two, check out our Term Two Business Plan Here.
Project Tracker Year 4
At the end of year four (31 Jan 2022) 90.6% of our five-year plan has been fully delivered or is actively underway.
32 Business Plan Projects:
- 25 fully delivered (78%)
- 4 underway (12.5%)
- 3 not started or discontinued (9.5%)
The BID has also taken on three major programmes of work over and above the original business plan.
These include the following:
1. Delivery of a £500k public realm revitalisation programme, with 8 projects delivered between 2020 – 2022
2. The launch of a new sustainable district programme in September 2021, including ten different projects to benefit our members, and curating a 30-event festival in association with COP26.
3. Working as part of a stakeholder group to support our members, and the wider city centre, through the global pandemic.
THEME 1 – PROMOTED & VIBRANT
- Eight projects have been fully delivered
- Two projects are underway
Visitor concierge scheme, ensuring visitors receive the very best welcome to Belfast:
A team of branded Summer Street Ambassadors have been active from June to September each year (apart from 2020). The Ambassadors promote hospitality venues, distribute marketing material, and engage with our levy payers to identify and resolve local issues.
Extend other city-wide events into the BID area and get a fair share of publicity and promotion for hospitality business:
LQ BID employ a full-time events manager and make a six-figure investment to provide a vibrant annual programme. A comprehensive range of activities & festivals have been introduced with the aim to make Linen Quarter the new home for hospitality. Although many events were suspended due to the pandemic, the programme will restart in 2022.
Networking, social events, and promotional activities to raise awareness of all businesses in the BID area:
The BID organise regular members only events and networking opportunities, which in year 4 included the opening of two parklets and our AGM / drinks reception. We also promote local business via our website, newsletter, and other initiatives.
Re-brand the district with identity that is representative of the character of the area:
A new Linen Quarter brand identity was launched in 2019 and has been promoted through events, marketing, sponsorship, and physical placemaking. This includes a vinyl wrap at Bedford Street, two parklets, and new planting, including Flax Field.
The Linen Quarter is now a more cohesive and well-known district, with frequent media and social coverage. Examples of our successful coverage is listed below.
A food & drink destination promotion package:
12,000 “Linen Live” Z cards with maps and hospitality listings were distributed in 2019 and the Golden Mile promotion, including listings for 20 attractions and 70 hospitality venues, was designed and distributed in 2021, including leaflets, web content, and videos.
Purple flag designation:
This national accreditation was secured for Belfast City Centre by all 3 BIDs in Jan 2020 and renewed in 2022.
Free advertising platforms. This includes a service app for visitors that provides profiles of businesses in the BID area:
New website was launched in April 19, which includes area and business profiles. A service app unlikely to gain traction but business promotion taken forward by website, newsletter, and events instead.
Area staff card to use as incentives for employees. This will focus on hospitality and lifestyle offers:
There was insufficient interest from local business for a staff card but we have instead rolled out the City Centre Gift Card to the district. Since 2020 this has generated £188k of sales, with 15 local venues signed up. In 2021 LQ BID distributed £5k of cards to local organisations as an incentive to rediscover the district.
Welcome host training and customer service masterclasses for all front of house staff:
LQ BID marketed Welcome Host training provided by Council in 2018 and Tourism NI in 2019. With the pandemic now receding we will evaluate further opportunities to support this objective
Create a new signature event for the BID, probably based around food, that will encourage visitors back into the area:
A weekend “Flax Foodie Festival” was fully developed and ready to roll out when Covid struck. Due to ongoing issues around the pandemic we have been unable to progress any further. However, we plan to re-launch Belfast Restaurant Week later this year.
THEME 2 – CLEAN & SUSTAINABLE
- Seven projects under this theme have been fully delivered
- One project has been discontinued.
Service to quickly respond to incidents of graffiti, waste, vandalism, and other problematic issues:
The LQ Clean Team was commissioned in 2018, with 2 operatives working 3 mornings a week. The Team will focus on value added activity, including graffiti removal on private land, additional power-washing of streets, and maintenance of additional planting.
Enhanced street washing programme:
Service includes graffiti removal, litter picking, weeding, cleaning frontages, and power washing of pavements.
Office technology and white goods waste management service, with confidential waste shredding:
The LQ BID Waste Management Service was launched in 2019. As well as excellent value the service has transformed sustainable practices.
Food waste management assistance:
Create a bin and recycling facilities storage:
LQ BID does not have capital budgets for storage, but the waste management service includes free consultancy and improved management of existing storage.
Discreet pest control service:
Service was launched in June 2021 around Blackstaff Square, to support our enhanced hospitality aspirations at this location. We can also provide services across the district on request.
Deliver support to help organisations secure ISO14001 and other company accreditations:
Business in the Community has been commissioned to run the equivalent BS8555 accreditation for LQ organisations. The first cohort is currently underway and concludes later in 2022.
Utilities savings through bulk procurement:
A carbon saving green energy scheme, which is no more expensive than traditional energy, was launched in September 2021 in partnership with Power NI.
Procurement of an office incidentals service e.g. plumbing, electrician and maintenance service:
This project has been discontinued due to potential liability issues and duplication with existing landlord provision.
THEME 3 – SAFETY AND WELLBEING
- 5 projects have been fully delivered
- 2 projects are underway, 1 has not yet started, and 1 has been discontinued.
Enhanced policing for the Linen Quarter to target the range of anti-social behaviour and provide an additional service to all levy payers:
Enhanced policing began Sept 2019, with LQ BID funding full time dedicated PSNI officer for the District. LQ BID regular engage with members on problem solving initiatives, and have also invested into new CCTV provision for the district, in partnership with the PSNI.
Cyber & fraud prevention and training:
Free seminars held 2018 and 2019. Further training will be scheduled subject to demand.
Introduce the retail crime watch scheme:
Free membership for RCW, worth £250 per year, was rolled out to all retailers in 2018.
Provide a healthy working environment for employees & deliver greater safety for all visitors:
Free health checks were provided Sept 2019, along with a virtual health week in March 2020 and in-person events in September 2021. Health week has now been mainstreamed as an annual event, providing a comprehensive range of free health based activities.
Late night staff working support and retained taxi service for business in the area:
The retained taxi service has been discontinued but we have provided a range of initiatives to support late night staff. These include police patrols at evening commuter areas, an annual lighting audit to ensure the district is properly lit, and distribution of free personal alarms.
Assist business to develop corporate social responsibility plans:
LQ BID provides a range of sustainability services and support, which is a key part of corporate social responsibility. We are currently progressing initiatives around community wealth building, which will be rolled out in 2022.
Defibrillators installed in key locations:
Many hospitality venues, hotels, and new buildings now have these devices. LQ BID are instead running annual CPR training, and are currently conducting a scoping study with Belfast Ambulance Service to ensure all defibs are properly registered.
NOT YET STARTED
A business emergency response scheme and a business emergency preparedness training support project for your business to reduce risk and the cost of managing risk:
This will be progressed as a year 5 project.
Deliver support to help organisations secure ISO18001 and other company accreditations:
This project was discontinued due to insufficient demand.
THEME 4 – REGENERATION & INVESTMENT
- All five projects under this theme have been fully delivered
Lobby for additional monitoring and resources, influencing statutory bodies on programmes, projects, and their spending:
LQ BID represents the district on the City Centre Reference Group, BCC Sustainability Board, Transport Hub reference group, Shaftesbury Square Stakeholder Group, SW Quarter, ongoing Streets Ahead consultation, and other groups.
Representation on these groups has delivered positive benefits for the Linen Quarter, including greater inclusion of the area in government strategies, positively shaping multi-million-pound public realm / infrastructure schemes, and additional investment of over £300k in 2021-2022 as part of the Covid Revitalisation Programme.
Create a united look and feel for the area that will include street dressing and add value with higher standard features:
Year 1-4 Projects include:
- Linenopolis July-Dec 2018
- Installation of Flax Field at Invest NI in April 2019
- Deep Clean and Replanting of the Thomas Thompson Fountain in 2020-21
- Vinyl Wraps at Bedford Street in November 2020 and June 2021
- Blackstaff Square Tree Wrap lighting, June 2021
- BBC Parklet, July 2021
- Bedford Street Parklet, Oct 2021
Year 5 projects include:
- Linenhall Street Parklet, March 2021
- Brunswick St lighting animation, March 2021
- Brunswick Street Boardwalk, April 2021
Address vacancy levels through property promotional schemes, and a new welcome package for business moving into the BID:
The Welcome Package, including district brochure, tourism material, hand sanitiser, police contact magnet, and £25 coffee card, was distributed in Autumn 2021 to all our levy payers.
Area office space prospectus for vacant buildings. This will be part of a programme to help fill empty spaces in buildings within the BID area, working with landlords and public agencies to incentivise uptake:
The LQ Vision was produced in 2019, including strategic themes for future regeneration and investment.
76 development projects, including investment opportunities, was launched on our website in January 2021, and will be maintained and updated going forward.
Building frontage enhancement award scheme:
While it would be difficult to gain traction for an award, LQ BID have invested in frontage enhancement, including cleansing, painting, weed removal, and vinyl wraps.