Our Colchester

Our Colchester BID launches collaborative board to guide recovery of the hard-hit leisure sector.  

Our Colchester Business Improvement District (BID) is launching the Leisure Recovery Board, a group of 25 stakeholders, to produce a focused and dynamic recovery strategy for Colchester leisure businesses.

The leisure sector across the UK has lost on average £90m a week. From severe restrictions and lack of funding pubs, eateries, cinemas, and theatres, all within the leisure sector, are estimated to be over a year behind in recovery from the effects of the pandemic. As other sectors within the town centre move into the recovery stage of the BIDs’ 4 stage Covid-19 Recovery Framework, the Leisure sector is still facing the crisis stage and likely has a long journey of recovery ahead.

The BID represents over 470 businesses within the town centre, and throughout the pandemic has worked to support all businesses providing tailored guidance and advice. The BIDs recovery framework includes five key steps: Crisis, Pre-recovery, recovery, and transformation. With other sectors between pre-recovery and recovery the need for a leisure focused support group was identified.

The strategy will work to support the sector through recovery and transformation. By working in collaboration with businesses and the local authorities, the BID will provide informed support aimed at accelerating the sectors recovery. The Leisure Recovery Board provides a key opportunity for hard-hit businesses to voice their concerns and work towards practical solutions and transformation.

The budget will focus on delivering, conversations with a leisure expert, research with leisure businesses and consumers, preparing for transformation with specific audience targeted offers, and adaptable solution development. By facilitating this board and recovery plan, Our Colchester BID is working towards sustaining a town centre with a wide offering for everyone and providing key individually tailored support for businesses.

Sam Good, Manager of Our Colchester BID

“Similar to when we launched the Indie Vision in May 2020 focused on investment and a clear plan for supporting Independent businesses, the BID has identified the need for a clear and concise roadmap out of restrictions from Covid-19 for our Leisure sector. We have listened to our businesses wants and needs and it is clear that we must recover together as one town centre.

“We must all understand that town centre’s need the Leisure sector, who often breath life into urban areas, certainly in our case for Colchester Town Centre. The strategy will be developed with a stronghold of business representatives for across the Leisure sector alongside the BID and partners including Essex Police and Local Authorities to ensure all area’s are considered.”

 Cllr Theresa Higgins, Colchester Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services, said: 

 “The hospitality and leisure sector, both locally and nationally, have been hit hard as a result of the pandemic and the resulting national lockdown regulations. It is both a key and growth sector, creating many jobs especially for young people in Colchester and like many other areas is one we need to support bounce back as quickly as we can.”

“We welcome the lead the BID are taking on this work, bringing together people across the sector who can help really drive the recovery for these local businesses that are enjoyed by our residents and visitors, as well as providing a livelihood for those who work in them."


Andy Starr, Chair of Pubwatch and Director for the BID

"Many leisure businesses have had to endure severe reductions in capacity or have not been able to physically open at all.  The creation of the Leisure Recovery Board and strategy provides an opportunity for businesses to work together with the BID and stakeholders towards recovery."


Osman Raish, Owner of Silk Road 

“Pubs and Bars have been hard-hit with the pandemic; restrictions have left businesses struggling to make enough to keep the doors open. With the April reopening outdoor only restrictions, we’re running at only 10% capacity. We’re keen to reopen but the reduced capacity makes it difficult to feel like progress is being made. The support that the BID and the Council are providing by creating the Leisure Recovery Board is of great value for wet-led businesses. It’s hoped that if the roadmap provided by the government is accurate, we can look forward to recovery.”