Walking through The Walnuts, there was one 'Orpington 1st' vertical banner in the market area - which I only noticed on my way back
out! Where was the 'event'? I wandered into the covered part of the Walnuts and nearly missed the activities in the empty shop which used to be a marvellous toy emporium. On entering, there was a large Orpington 1st freestanding poster on the left. Along the wall and on the adjacent table, there was a display of Orpington 1st 'vision' and the new Walnuts development, with some loyalty card wallets scattered on the table. I took one and filled in the form which requested name, address and email, but then looked around to see where it should be handed in, as no one appeared to be in charge. As I ventured further, a young lady at the far end of the tables waved a loyalty card wallet and asked if I would like one. Explaining I had already taken one, I proffered the form which she willingly took from me.
Expecting to find someone promoting Orpington businesses, I was most disappointed to find only 2 stalls - Bibby's Bakery, with some delicious looking cakes, and an unmanned one promoting some holistic therapies or similar. The rest of the tables and displays covered 1230 (a women's networking group), The Cray Festival (6 July at St Mary Cray Recreation Ground), Orpington History group and Friends of Hoblingwell. At the time (2-3pm), there were very few people in evidence, apart from surrounding the Orpington History area (behind and to the left of the photo). It is a shame that better use was not made of the space available, as there was not enough to hold one's attention for long.
On returning home, I visited the Orpington 1st website but could find no mention of this event! Neither did the Library, Leisure Centre nor Walnuts Shopping Centre websites reveal any information, despite
What a pity there was not more support in promoting the various venues and activities, in order to point shoppers towards the businesses taking part, as members of the public who were not aware of this 'Showcase' would only have encountered the events by chance. I wonder how much the marketing budget was for this 'promotion' and what exactly has been achieved. Was this really good value for government and local business funding?
Businesses have approved an exciting initiative to boost Orpington Town Centre. Orpington 1st was established on 1st April, with the simple aim of developing a high street in which businesses and visitors enjoy spending time and feel proud of.
With that in mind, Orpington 1st is hosting Saturday Showcase on 4 May 2013. Attractions and information about what Orpington has to offer will be available from10am to 4pm in and around the town centre.
Events will be taking place in:
- Walnuts leisure centre (Saturday and Sunday)
- The Walnuts Shopping Centre
- The Library
- Market square.
Retailers will be offering in-store promotions and there will be free-to-enter competitions, free gifts (while stocks last) and events, including:
- free kids arts and crafts at Wilkinson’s
- a range of free fun activities at the Walnuts leisure centre
- children’s vegetable planting at A Time 4 flowers.
Shoppers, visitors and businesses looking for retail opportunities can find out more about what Orpington has to offer and the exciting plans Orpington 1st has for the town centre.
Local groups will be exhibiting, including The Orpington History Organisation. Visitors can learn about the rich history of Orpington from the Doomsday book up to today.
Local Friends of the Parks groups will be promoting up and coming events. Visitors can learn how to volunteer with one of Orpington’s many voluntary groups, and save money by signing up for the loyalty card and enjoy savings of up to 30% with town centre businesses.
For full details of the line up for the day, visit the website: www.orpington.towntalk.co.uk/events
If you would like more information, please contact BID chairman, Martin Price, at The Walnuts Shopping Centre on 01689 832 923 or email: Martin.Price@walnutsshopping.com