As former chair of Living Lerwick, I have been following the reports and correspondence over the past few weeks and feel compelled to make the following observations.
Living Lerwick is a Business improvement district – please note Business, not simply Retail improvement district. Retail is part but not all of its functions.
Whilst serving as chair, all businesses were personally contacted by either myself or Cynthia Adamson, the then vice chair. We talked to all businesses, inviting the members to workshops to see how we could successfully integrate the retail, services and hospitality areas.
We asked them how they wished their company to move ahead. Sadly, some businesses failed to understand the impact of the other businesses in the area and are now making open criticisms. At that time the message coming was “I’m all right just now, why worry?”.
Out-with the “tourist season” the retail sector still needs footfall and our service industries and hospitality bring this to the centre of Lerwick. All businesses need to work together and complement each other.
It is blatantly disheartening that those making the most adverse comments at present have been conspicuously absent in the contributions to the BID – it’s meetings, workshops and assisting with events. The Board formed from the members, instructs the management team. The members are not expected to do everything but a few hours per month commitment isn’t really too much to ask for a thriving BID. More members should try it – be surprised and enjoy it.
Today’s comment from Robert Wishart “cosying up to the council” – I can assure you that this is not even on the agenda. Indeed, there have been several occasions when the council has proven to be more of an obstacle. Due to the structuring of BIDs, the council has to be involved and they are also an essential player in obtaining additional outside funding for the BID.
So, to Robert and his dissenters – I quote two old sayings:
“Empty vessels make the most noise” there’s a lot of noise around right now. Prove me wrong and let’s use the better saying “actions speak louder than words”. It’s time for businesses to work together – get off your soap box and do something positive to see a “buzz” around Lerwick.