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Convention initiatives endorsed by Town Liaison Forum

28 September 2018

Friends of Keswick 2018

Clearing Keswick Convention’s afternoon programme and a drive to promote local businesses during the annual event has been welcomed by Keswick traders.
The measures were discussed at Keswick’s latest Town Liaison Forum where traders, councillors, tourism, local authority services and Keswick Ministries' reviewed the initiatives that were introduced this summer to boost trade and to work more closely together.
Following the forum on Tuesday, Joe Broomfield, town centre area manager for Allerdale Borough Council, said: "It’s clear that the local liaison forum for the Keswick Convention is having a really positive impact. Keswick Ministries have taken on-board suggestions from local businesses and the community and it’s really encouraging to hear positive feedback from those represented around the table.
“The forum has become an important communication route and will have a key role to play as the Convention fully transitions to the Rawnsley and Pencil Factory sites over the next couple of years.”
The forum was instigated to encourage a higher level of communication between the Convention and the town and to ensure the annual 3-week summer event brings maximum benefit to Keswick.
Topics discussed on Tuesday included the positive changes to the Convention programme this summer, which freed up the afternoons. The aim was to give Conventioners the time to explore the town and local area. As a result of positive feedback from visitors and businesses, this change is set to continue in future years, Keswick Ministries has confirmed.
At the forum, business people gave positive feedback about the changes.
Laura Johnson, of Laura in the Lakes, said: “We are always well supported, I just noticed a different flow of business in this three weeks.”
While David Ramm, manager of Booths, added: “Trade was much more spread out particularly for the café. This year was much more manageable. It was a big benefit for us.”
This year also saw the launch of the Enjoy Keswick webpage and pamphlet, which provided details about shops, cafes and tourist attractions on offer in the town.
The Friends of Keswick loyalty card initiative also provided Conventioners and holidaymakers with the opportunity to support local participating businesses. More than 30 businesses signed up to the venture. The scheme ran over summer, and the first prize draw was held recently.
Discussions took place at the forum on plans for the scheme for next year and how the initiative can be promoted to Conventioners.
Vanessa Metcalfe, tourism manager of Keswick Tourism Association also wants to ensure that Friends of Keswick is adopted by other holiday makers, saying “We need to think of different ways through the summer to get the cards to people.”
She said she will be meeting with stakeholders shortly to discuss plans for the initiative during 2019.
Mr Ramm, of Booths, encouraged businesses to think laterally and asked whether pubs and cafes could do early bird meals during the convention before the evening service.
A theme supported by Debbie Beament of Newlands Adventure Centre, who commented: “People have to adapt. The convention is here to stay, we can look at how we engage more, adjust times to fit in.”
Updates on security at the annual three-week event and also the new system for managing complaints was also discussed.
The Ministries' says it wants to ensure it works with traders and local representatives in the town to build and improve town relations.