As part of our Totally Locally commissioned work we recently visited Ripon in North Yorkshire to work alongside Ripon BID to help support local businesses. We were accompanied on a walk around the city, talking to key ‘doers’ to hear about their views and experiences, and to help learn about any specific concerns and issues they have.

As a city, Ripon has a lot to offer – a historic market centre, a visitor-boosted economy due to the famous Cathedral, almost 300 bricks-and-mortar businesses and a strong sense of local pride. The BID wanted a way of supporting the local independent businesses, without the sense of something being done “to them”, instead to give them the tools to help themselves. This is exactly what Totally Locally does – creates the spark of collaboration and gives a local group the tools and motivation to start something special, a new sense of working together and the feeling of not needing to wait around until something happens. As we say, “you are they ‘they’ in ‘they should do something about that”.

Our Mentoring package for BIDs, Councils and other organisations combines the resources of these with the community-led energy of volunteer groups and creates long-lasting change in villages, towns and cities alike.

We presented the history of our campaign and the effect it’s had on other parts of the UK and further afield. It was clear from the packed meeting that there is a LOT of enthusiasm in Ripon to work together for the benefit of the city, it just needs a banner to work under and a direction to head towards, this is what we help provide from our experience of working on high streets for over 10 years.

Sparks started right there on the night as neighbouring businesses had an opportunity to collaborate and talk about a single cause – something that a lot of businesses don’t get the chance or excuse to do normally!

The traders and BID kicked off their campaign by launching Totally Locally at a street party in the city. This was a packed event that included loads of independent businesses, live music, a choir, Bollywood dancers, 2 dragons and the most Totally Locally bunting we have ever seen!

Photos: Studio Colson

Lilla from Ripon BID and Richard Hughes were interviewed on BBC Radio York during the event (listen from 22 minutes).

Richard from Manchego restaurant “I have made more friends in the last 3 or 4 weeks than I have in the rest of my life! It’s the only way forward: positivity, all pulling together. We’re all meeting together regularly, pushing and promoting each other. All common sense. It’s a lot easier when people work as a team and want to support each other. This is just the beginning.”

Lilla from Ripon BID: “So many people have come together, all offered their time for free, it’s a real community feel today and not just from the traders but amongst residents too.”

We look forward to working with the team in Ripon, helping them build community collateral to do good things for a very beautiful city.

Totally Locally Ripon.