30 government officers and business representatives from Northern Ireland descended on Shrewsbury yesterday to see how Shrewsbury’s Business Improvement District (BID) is making a difference in its first year of operation.

The BID team, led by BID Manager Kirsten Henly, treated the delegation to a traditional Shrewsbury welcome with a guided tour of the town led by town crier Martin Wood, as well as a meeting and dinner at the Prince Rupert. The meeting provided an insight into Shrewsbury BID’s key initiatives from its first year, in particular looking at how the town has been marketed as an attractive place to visit and shop as well as plans for improving car parking and access.

Henry McArdle, Head of BIDs Policy and Legislation Northern Ireland commented: “It’s been an enlightening experience to come to this lovely historic town and hear what this relatively new BID has already been able to achieve. There are evidently such benefits from working as a collective with a common interest.”

“We are all impressed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of Kirsten leading the BID and the strong support demonstrated by the other BID members who we had the pleasure to meet today. All in all a very enjoyable and worthwhile visit and no doubt we will be able to use this valuable learning as we embark on the BIDs journey in Northern Ireland.”

The Northern Ireland BIDs Academy has been set up with government support, with the aim of drawing up legislation for pilot BIDs to be established in six towns and cities, including Belfast.

The party travelled to Shrewsbury from Rugby on Wednesday 4th February and will continue its tour with a visit to a Birmingham BID today, Thursday 5th February.