Pudsey has a number of wonderful groups and charities within the town. Each month we want to shine the spotlight on one and let them tell you more about what they’re up to. For the latest Community Focus we had a chat with Trish Smith about the Pudsey Business Network Forum. The Pudsey Business Network Forum was setup to help support Pudsey businesses and bring them together with the aim of improving the town and making new contacts.
The Pudsey Business Network Forum was revamped in early 2019 to encourage more people to attend. The idea was for a collaborative network of local businesses to come together and brainstorm ideas to increase footfall and set Pudsey above other local shopping centres.
The PBNF is Chaired by me (Trish Smith) and I’m a local councillor in Pudsey. That doesn’t make it political in any way – every local business is welcome to send a representative to join our discussions and help us shape the future for Pudsey businesses. Our ethos is very much ‘we’re better together than apart’!
The Pudsey Business Network Forum is a real meeting of minds. We discuss ideas to make Pudsey businesses stand out, how we can encourage people to shop local which of course can help with the climate emergency as people can often walk to our local shopping centres, it also helps with Active Travel for the same reason – all helping to make a more pleasant environment overall.
The PBNF has a vested interest in making Pudsey the best it can be as the members are all local business owners or employees, so their livelihoods depends on our success.
If we have a variety of good quality, well-priced shops and market stalls, it encourages footfall which then encourages more businesses. High Streets up and down the country are struggling due to online competition and out of town superstores, so it’s vital that we protect what we have and try to build on it. It would be a massive shame if our local shopping centres disappeared and were no longer part of our day-to-day lives.
The PBNF runs the Pudsey Lottery (my crazy idea which seems to have taken off) which pays out 5 prizes each in Pudsey Pounds which can only be spent in participating, Pudsey based businesses. This also ensures the money spent via the Pudsey Lottery scheme, all goes back in to the local economy and in to the hands of our friends, family and loved ones. To find out more, or join the Pudsey Lottery please head over to https://www.pudseylottery.co.uk/ and get in touch.
We’re also in the process of planning the very first ‘Pudsey Food & Drink Festival’. The festival which takes place in August this year will see Pudsey centre become awash with fantastically tasty treats for the entire family. We’re looking to involve existing Pudsey businesses that might not want to hold a market stall by adding them to our ‘Taste Trail’. The aim of which is to show people and visitors that Pudsey isn’t just a one-off destination, and has much to offer throughout the week, every week. You can find out more, and apply to join the Food & Drink Festival by visiting the website: https://www.pudseyfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk/
In November we ‘hid’ Pudsey Bears in shop windows to encourage children to find them in exchange for a prize. This acted as a draw for young families, once again attracting footfall at a time when it would traditionally be reducing due to the poorer weather. This also showed people who might usually drive through the centre, the new/different shops now available.
In addition to these initiatives, we have an interest in the very website you’re reading this on, MyPudsey. Not only am I a committee member of the MyPudsey project, but MyPudsey acts as an ‘anchor’ for all of our amazing events – so they’re all in one place, making them easy to manage, promote and reduces costs. We strongly recommend you pop over to the MyPudsey event calendar (https://www.mypudsey.co.uk/upcoming-events/), and business directory (https://www.mypudsey.co.uk/local-businesses/) to see just how helpful this project is.
All businesses are welcome to attend our meeting – it’s on the 1st Tuesday of the month at Pudsey House, starting at 5:30pm with the Pudsey Lottery draw. We’d love to see more businesses attend and bring fresh ideas (of what you want to see and what you don’t) – there are no wrong answers!
We’d also welcome volunteers from the general community to help with the many events too. The business owners need to keep the businesses open for visitors to our great town, so we can showcase what we have. That offers opportunities for others to get involved and help us really put Pudsey and the wider community on the map.