Celebrating 20 Years of Business Improvement Districts

As Blackburn’s bustling streets hum with life, it’s hard to believe that just two decades ago, the town centre faced challenges that threatened its vibrancy and economic viability.

However, thanks to the innovative approach of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), Blackburn, like many other urban areas, has benefitted from combining resources and expertise to invest in the town.

As we celebrate 20 years of BIDs, it’s worth reflecting on how these initiatives have not only revitalised town centres but also brought invaluable additional value to communities like Blackburn. Across the UK, over £1bn has been invested in UK towns and cities since 2004.

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) emerged as a response to the changing landscape of urban economies in the late 20th century. Facing competition from out-of-town retail centres and the rise of online shopping, traditional town centres struggled to maintain footfall and economic activity.

Recognising the need for a coordinated effort to rejuvenate these areas, BIDs were established, pooling resources and expertise from local businesses to invest in the improvement and promotion of their shared space.

Over the past two decades, the Blackburn BID has worked tirelessly to enhance the town centre driving forward initiatives that have not only attracted visitors but also fostered a sense of community pride.

Moreover, the Blackburn BID has played a crucial role in supporting local businesses, particularly during challenging economic times. By providing tailored support services, networking opportunities, and marketing initiatives, the BID has helped enterprises thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

From independent retailers to hospitality venues, businesses in Blackburn have benefited from the collective strength and advocacy of the BID, enabling them to weather storms and seize new opportunities for growth.

But perhaps the most enduring legacy of the Blackburn BID lies in its ability to foster a sense of community spirit and civic pride.

Through a diverse program of events, festivals, and art installations, the BID, which has recently secured a third five year term, has brought people together, creating shared experiences and memories that bind the community together positioning Blackburn town centre as a vibrant hub of activity, where people come not just to shop but to experience.

As we celebrate 20 years of Business Improvement Districts, it’s clear that initiatives like the Blackburn BID have brought immeasurable value to town centres across the country.

Here’s to the next 20 years of progress, innovation, and community spirit.