When Salisbury was thrust into the news for all the wrong reasons last year it was a wake-up call for all the business organisations, Salisbury Chamber, Salisbury BID, Night-time Economy (Purple Flag) and FSB to start working together for the benefit of our members and to ensure the business voice was not only heard but listened to.
Our Area Lead Mary Webb has run hospitality businesses in Salisbury for over 20 years and was able to step in and get involved from the outset.
As an active FSB member for the last 14 years and a proud resident she was happy to put in whatever effort was needed to support local businesses devastated when visitor levels to the town plummeted.
Initially all communication came from the police and security forces and as one of the business organisations in Salisbury the FSB were invited to attend weekly recovery meetings to hear first-hand what was being done. Mary worked with Development Manager Nicola Bailey to contact members to ensure they understood if and when needed FSB was there to help.
The second incident in June had a far bigger impact on the city as it was seen as random and people stopped coming to Salisbury to visit or shop with a drop in footfall of over 40%.
During a visit to Salisbury, Chairman Mike Cherry OBE met members and hosted an FSB round table discussion with members of the local business community, council and John Glen MP. The message from Mike was “Work Together” which Mary grasped and got stuck in.
Mary arranged and Chaired the first meeting of the business organisations, this group was quickly recognised as the collective voice of business, respected as consultees as part of the recovery plan.
As a small business owner Mary says “sometimes we just do what we do, and it produces some fantastic outcomes. Salisbury will get back to where it was before 2018 – actually we will be even better as plans to create a Cultural Centre in the Maltings area of the city have been bought forward to help with the recovery.”
“I highly recommend collective working, and invite you all to visit Salisbury soon.”
The SWLEP has given the city £6.1m to bring forward plans to enhance the Maltings area of the city into a Cultural Centre. £1.1m is being used as seed funding for a Future High Street Fund bid and seed funding will also help create a bid for a city illuminations city project. FSB are involved in every one of these projects due to Mary’s activism and love for her city.
At the recent FSB National Volunteers Conference in London it was wonderful to see Mary presented with an excellence award to recognise her work in the City and we are sure that through working together the businesses of Salisbury will come back stronger than ever before.