Minister gets BIDs off the ground with Neath visit

Funding to help town centre businesses work together to boost their local economy is now open for applications.

Housing and Regeneration Minister Rebecca Evans will announce the £270,000 funding with a visit to meet local traders in Neath to learn about how their Business Improvement District is making a difference to the town.

Business Improvement Districts are an innovative way of bringing local businesses together by pooling their resources to work as a team. Once the BID is agreed via a ballot, each business contributes financially via a levy, which is then used to fund the agreed activities set out in the Business Plan. These could include marketing, promotion and events, car parking, tackling anti-social behaviour, improving access to towns, or work to make the area more attractive.


Rebecca Evans said:

“The momentum for BIDs is growing across the UK and we’re aware of the real impact they create in towns across Wales, but setting them up takes time, effort and support, which is why we provide Welsh Government funding to get them off the ground.

“Neath Inspired, the Business Improvement District, has developed effective partnerships with the town and county council on several projects, including supporting events, providing hanging baskets and Christmas lights. Members can access social media and marketing training, and their website advertises some fantastic local festivals.”

Economy Secretary Ken Skates said:

“Collectively, the eight established Business Improvement Districts which have already received our support will generate over £5m private investment to support activities in their area over the next five years. These projects are supporting economic development and town centre regeneration, making our high streets more attractive and vibrant places to visit.

“We know that a number of towns across Wales are looking at this sustainable funding model, and I hope we see many more potential BIDs come forward as a result of the funding. We are also keen to encourage themed BIDs such as Tourism and Industrial BIDs alongside traditional town centre BIDs”

Andrew Shufflebotham who is the Neath Inspired BID manager, strongly recommends that other towns consider applying for the new funding. He said:

“Towns benefit from establishing a successful BID, especially smaller independent retailers and businesses, where the BID levy is used effectively to increase footfall into the BID area.”


More information on Neath Inspired is available here:

Be Your Own Boss @ Neath Job Centre



The event was aimed at budding entrepreneurs, people with who looking at potentially starting self employment and people who are already in business and looking to expand or who need extra support.

There was much marketing activity in the lead up of the event though partners, TWITTER and Facebook. This resulted in 216 people attending on the day.

In addition to the 13 providers who attended, we had 4 individual representatives from local businesses in Neath who were on hand to act as advocates and mentors, and on the day there were motivational sessions from Carolyn Parry the winner of the PRIME Cymru Business Start Up award in 2016.


Known outcomes recorded in Neath Jobcentre so far have shown 46 new registered businesses following the event, which is excellent news for the individuals and wider economy in Neath.

Neath’s Eggcellent Response

Over 800 Easter Eggs have been collected in Neath to be distributed to disadvantaged children.

 Neath Town Council, Neath Inspired Business Improvement District, Poundland, Morrisons, Wilko and Swansea Bay Radio all teamed up to encourage the people of Neath to donate Easter Eggs.

The generous public in Neath have kindly donated over 800 Easter Eggs to the Neath Town Council Mayoress Appeal. The eggs will be distributed to disadvantaged children in the Neath area through Social Services, Calan and the Neath Food Bank.

A big thank you from the organisers to the people of Neath and participating businesses and a special vote of thanks to Benjamin O’Loughlin from Poundland whose efforts in encouraging local people to donate was outstanding.

Neath Inspired Business Breakfast in the Castle

The second Neath Inspired Business Breakfast, held in the Castle Hotel, Neath attracted  over 50 guests representing 35 Neath BID Businesses.

Stakeholders attending included Neath Port Talbot Council, Neath Town Council, Neath Round Table, Job Centre Plus, the Police, Swansea Bay Radio, national multiples, independent retailers and several professional businesses.

Lesley Pearson from gave an interesting presentation on keeping utility bills under control and Gareth Harris of Rowland Jones Surveyors gave an insight into the Business Rate system in Wales.

Kevin Hire and Gayle Ware from Swansea Bay Radio introduced the Neath Port Talbot Business Awards, new event.

Andrew Shufflebotham, Neath Business Improvement District Manager described the past achievements of the BID and outlined the exciting future for Neath town Centre.

Notably the new development on the site of the old Tesco/Wilko property.

The next Business Breakfast will take the form of a “speed dating” format where Neath BID businesses will be able to pitch their businesses to other attendees, keeping the strong roots of Neath growing.

If you would like to attend the next Business Breakfast that will be held in the Bluebell Hotel and La Mancha please get in touch


Neath Vacancy Rate Half the National Average

A survey of  377 businesses in the Neath Business Improvement District shows that  Neath has a vacancy rate of 7.95%.

According to the latest figures for Wales as a whole, from NFRN Federation of Independent Retailers Retail Report 2017, Welsh towns, on average have a vacancy rate of 14.6%.

Neath with a vacancy rate of 7.95% is close to half the national average.

Well done Neath!

BID Businesses Apply for Membership of the Neath Inspired Limited BID Company

The board of Neath Inspired Limited is looking to extend the membership of the company.  It has therefore been decided to invite all BID levy payers to become a member of the company.  If you are interested, please email

There is no cost and as the company is limited by guarantee any personal liability is therefore limited.

On being a member, you will be notified of general meetings and be invited to attend and vote at those meetings.

Multi Media Marketing Training Coming Up

The next Multi Media Marketing Training is coming up in February, Tuesday 13th and Tuesday 27th. It will include training on how to use Facebook, Instagram and other marketing channels to make the most of new technology.

The training is available to all Neath Inspired BID Businesses.

Are you a neath shop that already has a Business Facebook page but want to use it more effectively this training workshop is for you.

Or, if you haven’t started using multi media channels yet, now’s your chance to increase your shops visit.

The training will be held in the Bluebell Hotel in Neath. Sessions on both dates will start at 9.30am – 12.30pm. Workshops will be tailored to the requirements of beginners and advanced levels.

If we have enough demand we will also be running workshops on Linked In, a great way to enhance your personal profile and a workshop on Mail Chimp. Direct emailing customers regarded by experts as the most effective multi media marketing tool.

Please let us know if you are interested in Linked In and Mail Chimp workshops.

Record your interest by emailing:

Neath Inspired Business Breakfast Event

The next Neath Inspired Business Breakfast will be held in the Castle Hotel on Thursday 15th February.

The Business Breakfast is open to all BID Businesses and will provide an opportunity to network with other Neath business people.

  • Lesley Pearson from will be giving a presentation on how commercial utility bills can be reduced.
  • Gareth Harris from Rowland Jones Chartered Surveyors will give an update on Business Rates and the potential for appealing them.

The first Breakfast brought together over 40 people representing national and independent retailers, accountants, solicitors, financial advisors, estate agents and other businesses.

For more information contact Andrew Shufflebotham by email:

Or visit neath inspired

Your Shop Doesn’t Have to Look Like This!

Neath Inspired Launches it’s £600 Shop Frontage Grant for BID Businesses

The purpose of the grant is to assist shops and businesses to upgrade & improve the appearance of their shop frontages thereby providing a more attractive environment for shoppers and visitors to the town centre. Grants of £600 excluding VAT are available.

A budget of £6,000 has been set aside for this project and grants will be awarded on a first come first served basis.

The process is straightforward with two quotes for the agreed work required.

To apply for the grant contact Andrew Shufflebotham by email: