March 2022 marks the tenth anniversary of the Bishop Auckland Town Team.
The inaugural meeting was arranged by Bishop Auckland Town Council in March 2012 to gather support from anyone who would like to help apply for a bid of up to £100,000 which the government was offering to town and parish councils for a dozen pilot schemes throughout the country.
The funding was provided after the publication of an independent review into the future of high streets, carried out by Mary Portas in 2011.
Tremendous support from the local community enabled the bid to come together with new ideas, new partners and a shared vision to revitalise the town.
An Events Team was established to organise events which could increase footfall into the town centre to help the shops and businesses.
From organising a couple of events initially in 2012, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Torch relay to the success of around 3,000 people attending Bishop Celebrating Together in 2017.
Other popular events have been introduced over the years and have included the Easter Eggstravaganza, Buskers Day, Vintage and Classic Cars, Busses Thru the Ages and Monster Saturday.
Bishop Celebrating Together was an idea brought to the Town Team by blogger, Andrew Corry, who wanted to organise a celebration event for the end of the first Kynren season to recognise the hard work of the volunteers throughout the town.
Andrew met with Lee Brownson of the Town Team and Colin Wilkes of Durham Markets and the Full Moon Street Food Markets and within six weeks the idea transformed into a full weekend event.
The first Bishop Celebrating Together event took place over one September weekend in 2017 and included everything from local singers and performers, children’s entertainment and food stalls with other partners and organisations joining in. It has since become a mainstay and is one of the highlights of the town’s events calendar.
One of the most popular Town Team events is Santa and Christmas Entertainment. Since 2012, they have brought Father Christmas to Bishop Auckland every December. Over three Saturdays, children are invited to see Santa for free with an opportunity to take home a colour photo of their experience.
Additional festive entertainment is also provided to entertain shoppers; from the Sound Waves Community Choir to Innovations and the Salvation Army. In addition, vocalists including Ruth Stapleton, Steven Berry, Charlotte Forman and Jenna Highfield have all sung the Christmas classics.
The quality of events has improved every year, including a change of staging company and local sponsorship, which has helped fund better quality entertainment.
Overall, the Events Team has been successful in organising bigger and more varied events in the last four years, building on the events established in 2012. The original goal of increasing footfall and bring customers to local businesses has been a resounding success.
If you are interested in being part of the Town Team, then simply get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org