New hub created to support town improvement districts

A new national hub to support town “improvement districts” has been launched in the capital.

Improvement Districts, the next generation of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), aim to encourage local businesses to work together with other public and private sector partners to improve local economies and communities.

It is hoped that by pooling and sharing resources, local businesses – working with other private, public and third sector partners – can take a leading role in improving local economic conditions and deliver an agreed package of investment and initiatives over and beyond that delivered by local and national government.

The new hub in Edinburgh, delivered by Scotland’s Towns Partnership, aims to encourage more collaboration, partnership and innovation.

Phil Prentice, Scotland’s Towns Partnership programme director and chief executive, said: “Today is much more than just launching a new organisation – it is about setting out a new vision for Improvement Districts in Scotland that has been developed in collaboration with them.

“At their heart, Improvement Districts are the realisation of a meaningful corporate-community-public partnership.

“Local businesses and people are best placed to understand the needs of their local economy.

“Improvement Districts provide the forum to develop and deliver an agreed action plan that addresses those needs by bringing people and business together.

“By working collaboratively to deliver better local economic and social outcomes through a focus on towns and cities across the country, Improvement Districts are an important driver for the wider Scottish economy. Improvement Districts have a local focus but deliver national impact.”

Scotland’s Improvement Districts, part of the wider Scotland Town’s Partnership project, is funded by the Scottish Government to provide a national supporting mechanism for Improvement Districts in Scotland.

The new hub was launched by Communities and Local Government Secretary Aileen Campbell.

She said: “I’m delighted that Scotland’s Towns Partnership will be providing a new national hub to support Business Improvement Districts across the country.

“This has the potential to develop more flexible, expansive, and innovative models of business partnerships based on the BID model.

“And it will build greater capacity through stronger public, private and community partnerships which are strategic and sustainable, enabling BIDs to make an even bigger contribution to the vibrancy, vitality and viability of our town centres, neighbourhoods, and communities.”

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