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Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail celebrated on Beer Day Britain

Fans of beer and ale are saying ‘cheers’ to the brewing heritage of Bury St Edmunds ahead of Beer Day Britain on Saturday (June 15). The town’s popular Ale Trail has been given a boost with a new video digital marketing campaign promoting more than 20 pubs and bars in the town centre.

The Ale Trail was launched six years ago by the Business Improvement District (BID) organisation Our Bury St Edmunds. It showcases award-winning pubs, unique bars and the variety of brewers linked to the town.

Business Support Manager at Our Bury St Edmunds BID Mike Kirkham co-founded the trail with the then owner of Oakes Barn. Mike said: “While the Greene King brewery is a landmark in the town, our Ale Trail also champions the smaller breweries such as The Old Cannon, Brewshed, which is linked to the Beerhouse, and Nethergate Brewery which has a bar within its shop in The Traverse.

“Since launching our new marketing campaign for the Ale Trail at the end of May, the video has been viewed around 30,000 times and we are on course to deliver it to more than a million screens across social media platforms, on websites, internet searches and YouTube over the next few weeks.”

The Ale Trail has something for everyone and the free Ale Trail map indicates what’s on offer at each of the venues including whether they sell cask ale, craft beers and food, as well as details about accommodation, whether dogs are welcome or if there’s live music.

Two of the pubs on the Ale Trail are The Masons Arms and The Kings Arms, both run by Sean Driscoll. He commented: “Both pubs are among those featured in the new video which really highlights what a wonderful variety of establishments there are in the town centre. The Our Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail can guide you to everything from cocktail bars to Belgian beers, from traditional pubs like mine to the ones that are known for being somewhat quirkier.”

Will Hemmings who is Marketing Director for Brewing and Brands at Greene King has also welcomed the new Ale Trail video and digital marketing campaign from Our Bury St Edmunds BID and added: “Brewing in Bury St Edmunds is a core part of Greene King’s DNA as we’ve been brewing in the town for over 200 years. We are delighted that our Beer Café is being featured as one of the stops on the Our Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail and in the new marketing campaign which celebrates the town’s brewing history.”

Business organisation to offer support against cyber crime

Businesses in Bury St Edmunds will be able to access resources to help fight cyber crime thanks to the town’s Business Improvement District (BID) organisation Our Bury St Edmunds BID.  The BID has joined the Eastern Cyber Resilience Centre (ECRC) Community, which offers support including signposting to Government guidance on cyber threats and webinars and other events about the growing risk of cyber crime.

Chief Executive of Our Bury St Edmunds BID Mark Cordell recently met staff from the ECRC to discuss the vulnerability of businesses to scams whether online or in person.  The organisation works in collaboration with police forces in the region as well as assisting businesses and their staff to have the right strategies to respond to incidents efficiently.

Highlighting the importance of work to combat cyber attacks and scams Mr Cordell said: “The UK cyber crime statistics are truly shocking – 50% of businesses have been a victim of cyber crime and the average cost of a cyber attack to a company is more than £3,200.  Therefore, it’s vital that we support our member businesses in any way we can to reduce this happening in Bury St Edmunds.”

Our Bury St Edmunds BID is currently the subject of a ballot of businesses in the town over whether it should continue until 2030.  While it is unlikely that this could be a subject for an opportunist criminal, the organisation is advising businesses to err on the side of caution.

Mark Cordell added: “While we are happy to discuss any aspect of the ballot process with our member businesses, we will only do so at a time convenient to them and will not be using canvassers but BID staff members who will already be known to the businesses.  If anyone who can’t be verified by the BID does turn up unexpectedly at their premises to discuss the ballot, I would advise them to exercise caution.  It’s quite possible it could be some sort of distraction technique and nothing at all to do with the BID ballot.”

Efforts to reduce the impact of crime and anti-social behaviour on town centre businesses is a key element of the business plan for the next term of the BID. Mr Cordell commented: “Having spent the earlier part of my career with Suffolk Police I am very aware of the devastating effect criminals can have not just on businesses, but on the hard-working people who run them.  Of course, some types of crime have changed since I was an officer – hence the need for cyber security experts such as ECRC to offer support and assistance – but others like distraction theft sadly are still going on.  Like pretty much everywhere else in the country, Bury St Edmunds has seen an increase in shoplifting recently – figures show that across England and Wales it went up by nearly 40% in 2023.  So, I make no apology for reminding people to always be on your guard and while, of course, the vast majority of customers will be genuine, if you believe someone has targeted your business then report it at the earliest opportunity.”

Businesses who want to discuss the BID ballot and what it will mean for their premises are welcome to contact the Our Bury St Edmunds BID office on 01284 766258.  Similarly, if they wish to check anyone calling at their premises claiming to have information about the ballot is genuine, they should call the same number.

Business organisation seeks election to further support town

Businesses in Bury St Edmunds town centre will soon be able to vote on whether the Business Improvement District (BID) should continue to operate for the next five years.  Our Bury St Edmunds BID has provided additional services to support businesses in the town centre since it was first established in 2010.  It has continued to be elected in a ballot of member businesses at five year intervals ever since.

This week just over 400 premises will be notified that they will soon be receiving their ballot form.  The vote is a simple yes or no and if elected the BID will remain in place to deliver for town centre businesses until 2030.

Member businesses will continue to be eligible to access numerous free training courses for their staff in areas which include first aid, fire safety, food hygiene and digital marketing.  The BID’s delivery of all the town’s major outdoor events such as the popular free entry Spring Fayre, Food & Drink Festival and Christmas Lights event will continue, along with the marketing of the town to both locals and visitors nationally. The BID also provides a number of services to improve the trading environment of the town centre such as the town’s Christmas lights, a free graffiti removal service for members, sponsored floral decorations in the summer and other activities to bring people to the town. BID initiatives to keep spend local include the Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Card, the Loyal Free App and the Virtual High Street.

Chief Executive of Our Bury St Edmunds BID Mark Cordell said: “We know that times have been tough recently for businesses and their customers and that is why we are committed to giving the best possible value for money as a BID service for them if the vote is successful. Part of our role is to source additional external funding for the town centre to benefit our member businesses and since 2020 we have generated around £400,000.

“Around half the businesses covered by the BID’s area are independents and more than 100 of those businesses will be paying £1 a day or less for their BID membership.”

If the town centre votes to retain the BID it will run for a further five years from April 2025.  Businesses will pay a levy based on their rateable value, which this time increases by 0.15%, the lowest amount it has ever gone up by.

Mr Cordell added: “A number of businesses will have lower rateable values now since the last evaluation, which means the amount they will pay to the BID in the next five year term will be less than they have paid for this one.”

Businesses eligible to vote in the BID ballot are being sent further information by Our Bury St Edmunds BID this week.  The ballot will open on June 7 and run until July 4.

Free parking initiative celebrated in Bury St Edmunds

An initiative launched in Bury St Edmunds 11 years ago is celebrating providing almost a million free parking spaces for visitors to the town centre. ‘Free from 3’ operates in the town’s short stay and on-street car parks on Tuesday afternoons, making a total of 1,635 parking spaces available at no cost during the promotion.

‘Free from 3’ was an idea put forward to the then St Edmundsbury Borough Council (now West Suffolk Council) by the Business Improvement District (BID) organisation Our Bury St Edmunds BID in January 2013 as the local authority considered its budget for the year ahead.  The council had been reviewing its car parking charges at the time and had commissioned a report which looked at various options.

Chief Executive of Our Bury St Edmunds BID, Mark Cordell, said: “Car parking is something that almost everyone using the town centre has an opinion on and in 2013, as it was under review, I engaged with councillors and officers to make the views of businesses known.  I am delighted that West Suffolk Council has now continued to support the ‘Free from 3’ initiative for more than a decade and we know that it makes a significant difference to businesses in the town – especially those where customers need to make appointments to visit.

“I hear from a number of established BID businesses that since its launch, Tuesday afternoon has gone from a quiet trading time to one where people will seek appointments knowing that they won’t have to pay to park.  Free parking is, of course, always welcome but especially when the cost of living has risen sharply.”

The initiative was formally launched at the start of the council’s financial year in April 2013.  The Abbeygate Cinema is one of the many businesses in the town to have benefitted since it was introduced.  General Manager Gareth Boggis commented: “We offer a number of screenings on Tuesday afternoons and evenings because the free parking is a bonus for our audience members.  Some like to take in a film first at around 5pm and then enjoy a meal in town. Others like to know that they have time to get here for a 7pm screening because they haven’t had to wait until the usual night time tariff begins.”

Councillor David Taylor who is West Suffolk’s Cabinet member for Operations said:

“We know that availability of long and short stay, as well as flexible pay on exit parking, all managed through tariffs, is important for the town centre and the local economy and our car parks have been busy with lots of people visiting the town centre throughout the week.

“Free from 3 was introduced to encourage visitors on what was originally a quieter afternoon in the week.

“West Suffolk Council continues to work strongly with partners including Our Bury St Edmunds to support the sustainable growth of our town centres and it’s great to hear the feedback around the success of this initiative.”

Details about car parks, street parking and tariffs can be found on the Council’s website at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/parking.  Our Bury St Edmunds continues to work closely with partner agencies, including local authorities, to maximise opportunities for businesses in the town centre.  For more information visit www.ourburystedmunds.com.

Dinosaurs to roar into Bury St Edmunds for Spring Fayre

Two giant dinosaurs and a number of baby dinos are to be the star attractions at the Our Bury St Edmunds Spring Fayre at the end of May. A Stegosaurus and a Tyrannosaurus Rex will stomp into Charter Square at arc Shopping Centre where they’ll be just one of numerous free attractions as part of the bank holiday event.

Although the dinosaurs are first-time visitors to the Spring Fayre a group of baby dinosaurs entertained children at the Wednesday market recently to celebrate the end of the Our Bury St Edmunds Easter dinosaur egg trail. The hugely popular activity allowed children to get up close to a baby Spinosaurus and an Ankylosaurus as well as a number of others.

Chief Executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, Mark Cordell, said: “We are really looking forward to having the dinosaurs here and they will offer a chance for our visitors to learn about these pre-historic creatures in a fun and interactive way. I know that dinosaur activities have been very popular in the town and it’s wonderful to see the way youngsters interact with them.

“Of course it wouldn’t be the Spring Fayre without the family-favourite urban beach and, as ever, we’ll have deckchairs and a Punch and Judy show to enhance the feeling of being at the beach, without having to drive more than 40 miles to the coast. Plus our town has so much to offer with all the food and drink businesses and other shops it promises to be a great weekend for all ages.”

The free admission event will also have numerous stalls focussing on flowers, plants, crafts and food as well as a vintage market area. Astronomy, face painting and virtual reality games are set to be among the free activities. The helter-skelter and carousel will also make a welcome return.

Admission to the Our Bury St Edmunds Spring Fayre is free and it runs from 10am to 4pm on Sunday 26 and Bank Holiday Monday 27 May. For more information visit www.ourburystedmunds.com or follow Our Bury St Edmunds on social media.

Join in the Our Bury St Edmunds Dino Easter Egg Hunt Trail this April

If you’re looking for some exciting fun for the children over the Easter holidays, then Our Bury St Edmunds has a brilliant trail to follow around the town centre, and your kids could even win a prize.

Starting Wednesday, March 27, our local Bury St Edmunds businesses are hiding dinosaur eggs in shop windows or around their businesses—there are 46 participating businesses. All you need to do is find 10 dinosaur eggs, numbering 1-10, and list the business name you found them in. Remember that some businesses will share the same number. 

All the correct forms received by midnight Sunday, April 7, will be entered into a draw to win a hamper packed full of Easter goodies from our Bury St Edmunds businesses. There are three prizes to be won: the top hamper up to the value of £100, the second up to the value of £75, and the third up to the value of £50. 

The trail is FREE, and you can pick up the trail forms at participating businesses or cut one out of the Bury Free Press newspaper in the issues of March 29 and April 5. 

If you don’t know where to start the trail, head to our website for a list of participating businesses or follow the Dino Posters in shop windows to guide your search. Or you could start on Abbeygate Street, where businesses like Ada Baby and Quest Gifts are participating, as well as the Cathedral Shop and Lottie’s Waffles on Angel Hill. And if you’re coming in from a different side, why not see what’s hiding around Risbygate Street or St John’ Street, with businesses like Primal 8, 3cats Vintage, Midgar Coffee, Bay Tree Cafe and many others? 

Businesses on Langton Place and Whiting Street are also taking part, with an egg lurking inside Buy the Light, so extra attention must be paid. As you make your way back into town through the Buttermarket and the Cornhill, remember to keep an eye out for the Dino posters. 

Once you have found all the egg locations, you can hand your form in at one of the participating businesses or the Our Bury St Edmunds BID office, located at 2 Woolhall Street, IP33 1LA. Winners will be announced on our social channels on Monday, April 8. 

Meanwhile, we have a special FREE event to end the school holidays, where there’s a chance to meet some baby dinosaurs and other Easter characters, like the Easter Bunny and Charlie the Chick. 

The Dino Adventures takes place on Wednesday, April 10, in the heart of the market, and there will be a Crafty Foxes area where the whole family can get creative. To find out more, visit the event and trail pages at www.ourburystedmunds.com or follow us on social media.

Our Bury St Edmunds backs innovative recycling machine

Bury St Edmunds businesses could soon be benefitting from an innovative recycling scheme that offers rewards to those recycling their drinks bottles and cans.  Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District (BID) has teamed up with West Suffolk Council to provide a Reverse Vending Machine at the multi-storey car park in Parkway.  It aims to increase recycling rates and reduce litter – similar machines have already been installed by West Suffolk Council and partners at West Suffolk College and in Newmarket’s Leisure Centre and Guineas shopping centre.

The machines are being trialled for six months and, if successful, more could be installed in suitable locations.  West Suffolk Council is the first local authority to support the initiative promoted by Trovr which uses an app to reward points for every drink container recycled in the machines.  Since the campaign was launched in February more than 2,000 items have been recycled with around 700 of those at West Suffolk College.

Chief Executive of Our Bury St Edmunds BID Mark Cordell said: “Some will remember as children collecting up empty pop bottles to take back to the corner shop for a refund on them for some extra pocket money – this is a 21st Century version of the same idea.  The real benefit though is that as well as encouraging recycling and reducing litter the rewards on the Trovr app can be spent in the town centre which is good news for our businesses.  The BID is delighted to have worked in partnership with West Suffolk Council and Trovr to bring the Reverse Vending Machine to the town centre.”

A national Deposit Return Scheme is to be introduced by the Government from next year.  This means that certain products will have a deposit charged on them which is refunded when the empty container is taken to a designated return point. It aims to keep more containers out of landfill and reduce littering.

Jill Korwin, Strategic Director at West Suffolk Council said: “West Suffolk Council is continually looking at initiatives that can bring about environmental improvements, therefore we were delighted to take the opportunity to work with Trovr and partners on this trailblazing scheme. The reverse vending machines offer a unique way to incentivise people to reduce litter and shop locally, whilst increasing recycling and making it easier and more accessible. By keeping our streets clean and supporting our local high streets, we are helping to ensure West Suffolk remains a great place to live and work.”

Chief Executive Officer of Trovr, Nick Yeatman, commented: “As champions of innovation and environmental responsibility, Trovr is thrilled to partner with Our Bury St Edmunds BID and West Suffolk Council in launching a visionary rewards-for-recycling trial. This initiative serves a dual purpose—preparing the local community for the upcoming national Deposit Return Scheme and pushing the boundaries of recycling of single use drink containers with digital rewards. By combining technology with environmental consciousness, we aim to inspire meaningful change and create a blueprint for the future of recycling. This trial not only reflects our commitment to sustainability but also positions us at the forefront of the digital evolution within the recycling industry.”

The Reverse Vending Machine is located in the ground floor foyer of the Parkway muti-storey car park.  Users need to download the Trovr app and create an account before depositing their empty plastic bottles or cans in the machine. After pressing start on the machine, inserting the containers is simple.  A printed receipt includes a QR code to scan for rewards.  The app has already been downloaded more than 400 times.

 

Mum’s the word – Make Mother’s Day perfect with Our Bury St Edmunds

If you’re looking to choose a Mother’s Day treat for your Mum or mother figure, there’s no better place to do so than Bury St Edmunds. Whether you’re looking for gifts she’ll treasure or a yummy afternoon tea you’ll find it here.  And with our reputation as the foodie capital of Suffolk there’s no end of places for a delicious Mother’s Day Sunday lunch too.

It’s a day of the year when Mum really shouldn’t be cooking lunch and certainly not washing up.  For somewhere really special – that isn’t usually open on a Sunday – try Maison Bleue in Churchgate Street which is open just for this special celebration – do make sure to book.  Meanwhile Mums who dine at Gastrono-Me in Abbeygate Street on March 10 will receive a complimentary ‘Mumosa’ cocktail. Make sure you quote it on your booking so she receives it on her arrival.  Or a little further up the same road, why not treat her to the special Mother’s Day menu at Mowgli.  The three-course menu with a glass of bubbles and yoghurt chat bombs to nibble first is just £35 per person. The Fox in Eastgate Street is also looking forward to welcoming mums across the weekend.

Afternoon tea is another fabulous way to treat your beloved mum on Mother’s Day.  At Lotties Waffles on Angel Hill, Mums can enjoy a special pink afternoon tea from March 8-10 and Mum gets a glass of pink prosecco too.  Or pop along to Procopio’s Pantry in Langton Place where the Mother’s Day tea includes a Lavendar scone and a pistachio and rose loaf – you’ll need to book to make sure your mum doesn’t miss out though.  Meanwhile at Harriets in the Cornhill you could order an afternoon tea to enjoy at home through delivery or takeaway or book to eat in on the Saturday or Sunday.

As well as treating Mum with a delicious lunch or afternoon tea – you might want to buy her a lovely present as well.  Have you seen the gorgeous handbags, purses and even umbrellas in the Leather and Luggage department at Croasdales on the corner of The Traverse in the heart of the town? There are discounts to be had for Mother’s Day including 10% off if you spend £75 or 15% on purchases over £150 but don’t forget to check the full terms of the offer. Buy the Light in Whiting Street is always a popular choice for special gifts and this month’s featured fragrance is called ‘Lighthouse’, as always with the feature there is 20% off.  In addition there are lots of mum-themed gifts and some wonderful crystals to really make Mum sparkle with delight.  At Quest in Abbeygate Street you’ll find some beautiful and colourful scarves as well as plenty of other irresistible gift ideas.

If your Mum has a sweet tooth then head for Mr Simms in the Buttermarket where you’ll find grazing boxes just for Mum and lots of other treats especially designed for Mother’s Day.  And if you are looking to say it with flowers – but you want a bouquet that will last forever then there are a couple of choices.  Find Neptune’s range of flowers that last a lifetime at the branch in St Andrews Street South and create your own unique arrangement or visit Starlings Toys in Charter Square which currently has a special offer on the LEGO Bouquet of Roses at just £40.  Or perhaps there are little ones in the household who want to craft their own special gift or card for Mummy.  In which case Little Wood Worms in Churchgate Street can help – book your youngsters in on Saturday March 9 for a special crafting session where they’ll be able to make their own card.  A pampering or beauty treatment is sure to be a winner on Mother’s Day too and Amanda Janes Beauty salon in St Andrews Street North has a range of experiences or vouchers to give Mum the gift of relaxation.

And we know that some Mums might like to choose their own gift too.  Here at Our Bury St Edmunds we’ve also got that covered.  Pop one of our Gift Cards inside your card and you are sure to make Mum’s day.  With over 70 shops and businesses accepting it she’ll be spoilt for choice.  You can buy them online or pick one up at a number of outlets in town and just download the amount you want to give.

Love is all around – for Valentine’s Day with Our Bury St Edmunds

It’s the most romantic time of the year – and where better to share the love than in Bury St Edmunds where you’ll find everything for the perfect date night or romantic surprise? Whether you want a card, flowers and chocolates, a candlelit meal for two or a romantic overnight stay you’ll be spoilt for choice in our wonderful historic market town.

Starting with a card, you’ll find all the big name card retailers here of course but also check out some of our independent gift retailers too – many of whom also sell cards.  At Buy the Light in Whiting Street, February’s featured fragrance is Classic Candles Rose Petals and there’s 20% off the range.  A lovely alternative or indeed accompaniment to a dozen of the real thing.  Quest on Abbeygate Street has all its new designs in for spring and over the road The Parsley Pot has plenty of ideas for a surprise gift too.

Of course nothing says Be My Valentine more than flowers.  Luxury florist Tudor Rose at the top of Hatter Street has a gorgeous range of bespoke Valentines bouquets.  And if you want to add a bottle of wine to your Valentines Day gift then pop into Vino Gusto also in Hatter Street. Adnams on Cornhill might be better known for beers and spirits, but why not check out their wine range too for your Valentine?

Chocolates make a lovely gift whether you’re celebrating your first Valentines Day as a couple, or your 50th.   Choose from Marimba’s ‘I love you’ collection or really go to town with their Valentines hamper and much more at the shop in the Butter Market.  Also in the Butter Market you’ll find Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe with Love lollipops, chocolate hearts and even chocolate roses.  And there’s Hotel Chocolat at arc Shopping Centre too.

Afternoon tea is another great way to celebrate Valentines Day and make sure you catch the stunning window design by the talented Bethany for Procopio’s Pantry in Langton Place.  Choose a rose hot chocolate – yes it’s pink – and a cranberry scone at Bay Tree Café in St Johns Street. Or maybe you’re after something quick and on -the-go?  Then why not pop into Baileys2 and grab their creamy hot chocolate, topped with cream, strawberry sauce and a heart-shaped biscuit to sweeten your Valentine’s Day celebrations. Or book a table at Lottie’s on  Angel Hill for a special Valentines afternoon tea. If little ones are part of your Valentines Day too then book a place at Little Wood Worms in Churchgate Street on the 14th for Valentines-themed biscuit making.

Before a romantic dinner for two why not cosy up at the cinema as part of your date night?  February 14th is the opening night for the new Everyman cinema at arc Shopping Centre and ‘One Love’ is their first screening.  At Abbeygate Cinema in Hatter Street you can catch a classic romance with Casablanca and Breakfast at Tiffanys both showing and enjoy a three course meal at its No. 4 restaurant. There’s more romance at Theatre Royal where Romeo & Juliet is on until Saturday. For something completely different try a couples escape room at The Evidence Room in Risbygate Street

Whether it’s breakfast, brunch or dinner Gastrono-Me in Abbeygate Street is sharing the love on Valentines Day.  With music from Ella-Rose in the evening quote ‘Love is all you need’ when booking for a complimentary glass of fizz.  Every dish tells a love story according to Orissa bar and grill in Risbygate Street with bookings being taken for Valentines.  Or try a special ‘Taste of Spain’ night on the 14th at Queen’s in Churchgate Street. At Verve in Woolhall Street enjoy a candlelit two or three course dinner for two with a cocktail such as Cupid’s Cosmo included.

The Italian for ‘love’ is amoré and Pizza Express in Abbeygate Street has a two or three course date night set menu on Valentines Day.  Or try a special ‘Taste of Spain’ night on the 14th at Queens in Churchgate Street. Keep with the Mediterranean flavours by booking your table at Francela, open all day on the 14th on Angel Hill. And if you want to extend your celebrations then a few doors away

The One Bull has a special Valentines menu until the 17th.  Can’t stay in town for dinner? Order a take home box of starter, main and dessert for two with a box of macarons from  Léa in Churchgate Street.

And if you are looking to celebrate in style with your true love then book a luxurious one-hour couple’s massage at Amanda Janes priced at just £100. Or maybe you’re looking to celebrate with a romantic night away? The Angel Hotel on Angel Hill has a special offer for a one-night stay, which includes sparkling rose wine on ice, a box of luxury chocolates and dinner followed by a full Suffolk breakfast the next morning – see the offers section of their website for the full terms.

But if you really, really want to spoil your loved one why not put an Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Card inside their Valentines card too.  With over 70 shops and businesses accepting it they can choose their own special treat.  Find out more about it at www.ourburystedmunds.com and follow our social media channels or download the LoyalFree App for more promotions and trails.