Manager of St Ives Business Improvement District (BID), Helen Tripconey, steps down this autumn after two years in the role.
Helen Tripconey (right), pictured with St Ives BID chair Alex Ward
The new BID manager will be Sarah Stephens, currently chair of the St Ives Town Deal Board. She will take over from Helen at the start of October.
Helen took on the position of BID manager in August 2019, shortly after the organisation’s second five-year term was voted through by town businesses, generating in the region of £127,000 a year to be spent on delivering projects and services.
Since St Ives BID was established in June 2014, the not-for-profit company has completed a number of innovative projects as part of its work to improve the trading environment of St Ives.
Schemes included funding the popular Christmas lights and New Year fireworks, supporting the introduction of a CCTV system for the town, installing new wayfaring signage, and running annual summer seagull awareness campaigns.
Since Helen’s appointment in 2019 and the start of the BID’s second term, the organisation has drawn up a new business plan focused on four key themes: improving the town’s appearance and facilities, funding marketing and supporting local events, managing accessibility and security to tackle anti-social behaviour and petty crime, and supporting levy-paying businesses to represent their interests.
‘An especially challenging two years’
BID has also supported major local events, including St Ives in December, the St Ives Food and Drink Festival, and the September Festival, and worked on key projects to benefit the town and its businesses. It has addressed commercial waste issues and worked in partnership with Cornwall Council to install new recycling bins, as well as refurbishing benches and maintaining planters along the wharf.
Helen’s tenure as BID manager was made especially challenging by the covid-19 pandemic and the resulting UK lockdowns in 2020 and early 2021. BID worked closely with local businesses to support and guide them through the lockdowns and re-opening processes, ensuring they adhered to government guidance and regulations, and were able
to operate safely in line with recommended measures.
BID worked with Cornwall Council and St Ives Town Council on street closures and one-way systems for visitors after shops began to re-open, with marshals, pedestrianised zones, and signage in place, to ensure St Ives was safe for people to visit as lockdowns lifted. It also oversaw the social distancing flags, posters, and notices. A safe Welcome Back video was created for summer 2020 as restrictions eased, helping to explain the precautions in place for visitors.
This year, Helen helped to manage the impact on St Ives of the G7 summit, held at Carbis Bay. St Ives BID collaborated with the St Ives Tourism Association to produce an online directory of businesses to release ahead of the summit as the world’s spotlight fell on St Ives. Helen steered the BID through Cornwall’s busiest period, supporting local businesses at every step.
Helen said: “It’s certainly been an especially challenging two years, and nobody could have foreseen the covid pandemic and its resulting impact, which was tumultuous throughout 2020 and early 2021.
Schemes funded by St Ives BID include the popular Christmas lights and New Year fireworks
“The pandemic posed enormous challenges for town businesses, but it also showed the strength of community spirit in St Ives, and it was a privilege to work with and support our businesses as they did all they could to adapt and cope.”
Helen had previously lived in St Ives for 20 years before taking on the role of BID manager and was already a familiar face in the town. But the role meant a new challenge to build and improve relationships with local businesses to enable the BID to operate effectively.
Helen said: “I feel proud the BID is much better liked and understood now, as we have worked very hard to engage with local businesses and to build much stronger relationships, and achieved a huge improvement in that respect.
“I would like to say thank you to the town for the support I’ve had, which enables me to leave a positive legacy of established business support for the BID team to build on.
“And I am very grateful for the BID members — any BID is only as good as its members, and without their support, our initiatives would not work. I have had fantastic support from the business community and from local residents, and it’s helped us achieve such a lot in the last two years, on top of the covid pandemic and G7 summit posing extra challenges.”