Our City Centre Recovery Plan (Autumn 2020)

To see a general update on our recovery plan projects you and can view our Autumn newsletter here.

The last few months have been like no other for businesses and residents and the coronavirus pandemic has led to Southampton’s doors temporarily closing to the public.

Now a vast majority of sectors and businesses can safely reopen in the city and we are here, as always, to support all of our levy payers to help them through lockdown and into successfully and safely trading again.

Life for the GO! team has not stopped. We have been working extremely hard to adapt and react to the ongoing crisis, finding the most effective ways to support our businesses. On this page you will find our 4-stage recovery plan, highlighting our response through the crisis and pre-recovery phases, how we’re journeying with you through the current recovery period, and our plans for transforming the city in the future.

Partnership Working
Work with national bodies (such as the BID Foundation, local agencies (Southampton City Council and Hampshire Constabulary) and fellow business groups on joined-up initiatives, communications and lobbying to support businesses.

Preventing Crime
Monitor closed businesses and provide enhanced security service including revised hours and new vehicle patrols. Closer coordination with Hampshire Constabulary for more effective crime prevention and information sharing and intelligence.

Communication & Insight
Issue regular updates to levy payers through letters, email bulletins, GO! Southampton website and social media channels on policy updates, support and funding news. Distribute COVID-19 Business Impact Survey.

Adapt cleaning service in partnership with the Council, to focus on disinfecting high contact surfaces such as traffic lights, bus stops and street furniture with anti-viral materials.

City Reopening
Deliver city reopening plan with the Council. Focus on measures to support safety, social distancing & active travel.

Communication & Insight
Share national/local updates to help businesses prepare for post-lockdown. Issue Recovery Support Survey with the Council to gain further knowledge of how best to support levy payers out of lockdown and into recovery.

Transport & Travel
Work with the Council and public transport operators to ensure safe travel and support the Council’s Green Transport Recovery Plan.

Business Procurement
In partnership with Meercat, provide businesses with access to PPE materials and other products to assist with a safe reopening.

Preventing Crime
Confirm security team, delivered in partnership with SWL Security, as ongoing service based on a successful four-month trial.

Preventing Crime
Joint operation with Hampshire Constabulary to support city centre reopening w/c 15 June via patrols to deter crime/ anti-social behaviour.
Launch the Southampton Business Crime Partnership (SBCP) in July.
The SBCP has now launched and levy payers are able to have free access to the DISC portal and hire out radios as part of the SBCP, find out more on our dedicated page here.

Business Events
Move our Urban Lecture Series online to facilitate continued discussion about the role of place making and the public realm in the city. Make considerations for our proposed September City Networking event.

Communication & Insight
Continue weekly e-bulletins. Provide guidance for levy payers to help them with the safe reopening of businesses and workplaces. Work with the Council to deliver a new footfall camera network in the city.

Transport & Travel
Work with the Public Transport Recovery Task Force on initiatives to promote sustainable travel e.g. securing increased cycle park provision.

Be Smart Stay Apart
Work with the Council to implement and promote new measures to support the city’s reopening funded via the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund. This includes the floor markers, digital assets and physical posters, designed by a local artist.

We have also created a dedicated consumer page on our Visit Southampton website, which provides updated information for residents and visitors coming into the city of what to expect and the measures put in place to make Southampton a safe place to come to.

Southampton Inside Out
Partner with the Council to increase and simplify opportunities for outdoor dining space in the city, to help mitigate the impact of social distancing requirements for hospitality businesses. Supporting survey distributed to relevant businesses to gain feedback and insight.

We have now made significant progress with this initiative, please head to our dedicated page here for updates.

Southampton From Your SOfa
Launch a digital hub for cultural venues across the city to promote online content to a wider audience. Aims to support & showcase the sector whilst venues are closed. Host content on visitsouthampton.co.uk

The #SotonFromYourSOfa pages have continued to be updated and promoted over the last three months, giving venues the platform to host their online content and events. We have also worked with three local artists to bring to life the campaign by designing artwork which represents the city and our diverse cultural offering. Read more here.

Public Art Project
Work with Solent Showcase Gallery and John Hansard Gallery to deliver a vibrant public art project through three phases. July: install existing artworks in the city. August: paint selected items of street furniture. September: install large-scale mural(s).

In addition, look to collaborate with local artists to create bespoke artwork for display in windows of vacant shop units.

Install busking pitches in the city for performances from local artists, to support Southampton’s music sector whilst live venues are closed.

The city centre busking project launched over August bank holiday weekend in partnership with SoCo Music Project and Solent University. Performances will run every Friday and Saturday until at least the end of the year (weather dependent). The aim of this project is to support local artists by giving them an alternative platform whilst many music venues remain closed. Read more here.

We have also supported The Grid Experience, created by ZoieLogic Dance Theatre which launched over August bank holiday weekend. Read more about the project here.

City Marketing
Deliver a destination marketing campaign to encourage and entice visitors and residents to return to the city for leisure, focusing on a combination of reassurance and inspiration.

In August we launched our ‘We’ve Missed You SO Much‘ consumer marketing campaign, in partnership with Southampton City Council, which welcomes people back to the city. The campaign targets those living in and around Hampshire offering reassurance that the city is a safe place to visit and is ‘still the same at heart’. Promotion has included digital display and Facebook advertising, outdoor media, radio advertising, print ads and a leaflet drop as well as the production of the campaign video.
The campaign was part-funded by the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

As part of this campaign, we promoted the Eat Out to Help Out scheme through a dedicated page and created a blog post for all the businesses who decided to extend the offer throughout September to give a further push. Read more here.

Linking Our Businesses Together For Mutual Support
Identify catering outlets willing to deliver to office-based businesses.

Urban Room
Collaborate with partners to bring to life a currently vacant site in the heart of the city centre turning it into a modern ‘Urban Room’.

Christmas 2020
Review options to deliver a – physical or virtual – safe and enjoyable Christmas lights switch-on experience, or alternative celebration, which will align with our UK City of Culture bid.

UK City of Culture
Work in partnership with the UK City of Culture bid team in order to develop the city’s commercial strategy which will underpin the delivery of the bid activity and programme.

On 17 September, the commercial strategy launched in Southampton and the first major sponsor, toob, was announced. Read the full story here.

Re:Claim Festival
A new festival taking place in May 2021, showcasing grassroots activities such as skate, music, art & performance.

Future High Streets Fund
Support Southampton City Council’s application of the Future High Streets Fund. The fund hopes to renew & reshape high streets in a way that improves experience, drives growth and ensures future sustainability.

Transforming Cities Fund
£57m Government funding to deliver sustainable and active travel initiatives in the Southampton City Region including significant transformation of the city centre. We assisted Southampton City Council with their successful funding application.

Other Useful Links

  • For more details on the city centre’s reopening and how we’re supporting members click here.
  • For more general details on COVID-19 funding and initial lockdown guidance go here.
  • Read more about our Southampton Inside Out initiative visit our dedicated page here.
Click on the image to view a PDF version of the plan.

*Page last updated 5 October 2020.