New Summer Events Programme to boost city centre business

A new programme of summer events is being launched in the heart of Plymouth this summer to attract more visitors and provide a much-needed boost for city centre businesses.

The initiative is just one of many ideas dreamt up by the Plymouth City Centre Company to win back customers in the light of huge changes in the retail climate, including the increase in online shopping and customer expectations.

Called Plymouth Summer of Fun, a variety of free family friendly events will take place every Saturday from July 6 to August 31at various city centre locations.

Steve Hughes, chief executive of the Plymouth City Centre Company which is a not-for-profit Business Improvement District (BID), said:“ Plymouth has a very strong programme of major events such as Flavour Fest which we started 16 years ago and has grown into the biggest food and drink festival in the South West.

“But in a recent survey we carried out with our businesses there was a strong demand for more regular events and to include more locations. Plymouth Summer of Fun is our response to those requests. We have a great retail offer and an increasing number of good restaurants and cafes and we want to give customers even more reasons to come and see what our city has to offer. It’s all about the experience, so we are working hard to create a vibrant city centre that people want to return to again and again.”

Plymouth Summer of Fun gets underway on July 6 with a spellbinding circus act and circus workshops on the Piazza and finishes with the West End Carnival all around Plymouth Market on August 31.

In between are a host of activities including street dancers, children’s arts and crafts workshops, vegan festival, Plymouth Bike Day (a daytime version of the popular Plymouth Bike Nights) and Summer Reading Challenge.

The city centre is undergoing huge change with almost £300 million pound of investment on the way, including:

  • The £50 million Drake Leisure cinema and restaurant complex which opens this Autumn
  • The £60 million redevelopment of the old Derrys building, including student flats and 110-bed Premier Inn Hotel, opening this Autumn
  • The Box, the city’s new £43 million cultural attraction which opens next Spring
  • Conversion of the Civic Centre into high quality apartments along with redevelopment of the Civic Square

Mr Hughes added: “For a strong city centre we need a much more diverse offer, giving people more reasons to visit and to stay for longer. That is about to change in a huge way and that should give investors and existing businesses confidence for the future. But we need the support of the business community. We want to encourage more office development in the city centre  and we want existing businesses from all over the city to use our venues or come back at the weekend and enjoy what we have to offer.”