St Ives-born Sarah Stevens is eager to help businesses in her hometown to thrive after being appointed Manager of the St Ives Business Improvement District (BID).
Sarah, who is also Chair of the St Ives Town Deal board, took over the position from previous BID Manager Helen Tripconey at the start of October, and is passionate about using her experience and skillsets to boost opportunities for local businesses.
Sarah Stevens, Manager of St Ives BID, said: “I’m looking forward to getting going, and I see the position as an opportunity to use my knowledge and expertise to benefit my home town. My voluntary role on St Ives Town Deal board focuses on regeneration, transport, training, skills and sustainable economic growth and this, combined with the excellent work Helen has already done, will continue to improve things for St Ives. I will offer a new perspective and vision, and I bring commitment, enthusiasm and drive to the role. I will work with local partners and stakeholders to find new ways of doing things, secure new sources of funding, and deliver effective lobbying for the benefit of local businesses – and hopefully have fun along the way!”
Sarah grew up in St Ives and understands the town and its business landscape well. She worked as a freelance cultural heritage consultant for many years and has a background in research, developing partnerships and project design, development and management. For the last three years, Sarah worked for Pluss in partnerships, community engagement and development to help people with disabilities and disadvantages to move into employment.
Sarah, who lives in St Ives with husband Sam and their two daughters, said she has a “deep-rooted sense of place and belonging in St Ives” and invites levy payers to make contact with her to chat about what’s working and what may not be working for them, and to listen to their ideas and solutions.
“I want to help St Ives be the best it can be,” Sarah added. “I’m keen to focus on increasing opportunities for local businesses and residents, and to promote the town to local, national and international visitors, as well as to potential businesses who may wish to relocate here. I want to look at opportunities to attract out of season visitors to St Ives, improve the welcome and visual appeal of the town, and exploit opportunities to promote St Ives in a sustainable way to help businesses thrive year round.”
Sarah took over the role from Helen Tripconey, who was appointed BID manager in August 2019, shortly after St Ives BID’s second five-year term was approved, generating a further approx. £127K a year to be spend on delivering projects and services in the town.
St Ives BID has completed a number of projects to improve the trading environment of St Ives, including 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 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.
The BID has also supported major local events including St Ives in December, the St Ives Food and Drink Festival, September Festival and the Longboard Surf Event and worked on key projects to benefit the town and its businesses, addressing commercial waste issues and working in partnership with Cornwall Council to install new recycling bins, as well as refurbishing benches and maintaining planters along the wharf.
Helen’s tenure was especially eventful with the BID working hard to support local businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting UK lockdowns, as well as managing the huge impact on St Ives of the international G7 summit held at Carbis Bay.
Helen Tripconey said: “It’s certainly been an especially challenging two years, and 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.
“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 fantastic support I’ve had, which enables me to leave a positive legacy of established business support for the BID team to build on.
“Sarah comes from a local fishing family who have run several businesses in the town and I’m leaving the BID in safe hands.”
Businesses in St Ives can contact new BID Manager Sarah Stevens by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01736 792121 or drop in visit her in the Guildhall BID office.