Southport offers light after the dark this Xmas

As Southport BID unveils its festive programme chief executive Rachel Fitzgerald says it will provide a platform to accelerate the town recovery from the effects of the pandemic

Rachel Fitzgerald
Southport BID chief executive Rachel Fitzgerald. Picture by Gareth Jones

 

Our team here at Southport BID has now officially launched its festive programme, one we hope will bring light and joy after the darkness of the pandemic.

We could not have guessed at the beginning of March 2020 what was to come and how long it would last. COVID-19 has cost many lives and our thoughts remain with their families as we approach Christmas, a time when people come together with loved ones.

A resurgence of the virus last Christmas made it a difficult period for us all. The impact on our economy was seismic. It was very tough for Southport, a town that traditionally has a very strong and dynamic hospitality and leisure sector.

Lockdowns took their toll on our small and independent businesses. But those businesses also demonstrated their resilience and innovative spirit by finding new and different ways to survive.

This is why we are so pleased to be able to unveil this year’s programme which we hope will bring many more visitors to Southport from this month onwards. To be able to bring people together in the town in the next few weeks will really feel like a return to normality. We also hope it will be a platform for a new period of growth.

Click here to see the full festive programme

We thought long and hard about the best way to approach the festive season. It was tempting to put all our resources into one flagship event but we felt the best way to give a boost to our loyalty levy-payers was to maximise the opportunity to bring visitors to the town every day until January.

And we have been heartened by the great spirit of co-operation from businesses in the town who want to make this a Christmas to remember for Southport’s residents and visitors alike.

It is especially exciting to see how we are utilising digital technology to really bring the festive season to life with the help of a fantastic local business, Immersive Interactive, a world class that creates interactive digital environments for customers across the globe.

Southport BID
Gingerbread figures will be placed around Southport in the run up to Christmas

 

They have worked hard to create the Digital Winter Wonderland, the UK’s first immersive digital Christmas experience. People will be able to engage in a number of sensory festive activities, and some other entertaining games.  It will be amazing.

It demonstrates that here in Southport we have a diverse business base. Immersive Interactive is one of a number of brilliant digital businesses based here. We aim to build on that knowledge and expertise by creating a hub for digital entrepreneurs in the town centre. The Digital Winter Wonderland will showcase what is possible.

Of course, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a Grotto for the children to visit – and this year we have two. In addition to the traditional Santa’s Grotto, in partnership with Wayfarers Arcade and Southport Lions Club, we also have a Frozen-themed Grotto which I’m sure all the kids will love.

Overall, this is a great package of attractions that I have no doubt will bring people flocking to Southport and, while they are here, we hope they will visit our wonderful range of independent retailers, including the newly-reopened Beales department store, as well as eat and drink at one of our many bars, cafes and restaurants.

It has been a tough time for us all and this year’s festive programme will demonstrate that Southport is emerging from the pandemic and is ready to create a springboard to grow our business base and bring more jobs and prosperity to the town.

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