Bishop Auckland’s Town Ambassadors, a group of volunteers established in 2018 to promote Bishop Auckland and its opportunities to residents, visitors, businesses and investors, are hoping their new website will put the town they love well and truly on the visitor destination map.
One Stop Shop
The new website, bishopauckland.org.uk, has been developed with the help of local Bishop Auckland business, AByte Solutions, to provide visitors with a ‘one stop shop’ page of information relevant to Bishop Auckland, including where to stay, where to eat, things to do, comprehensive business directory, history, news, transport etc.
To meet a predicted boom in tourism over the next five years, the Town Ambassadors will be on hand to meet and greet visitors when they arrive.
Drawn from local residents, the Town Ambassadors are known for their warm welcome and invaluable help signposting visitors to where they want to go to shop, eat and visit as well as promoting new and established businesses.
Not all of the website features are visible at the current time. A comprehensive Business Directory has also been prepared with hundreds of Bishop Auckland businesses and services listed, but due to COVID-19 restrictions many of them remain closed.
Similarly, a directory of places to eat and drink cannot be promoted until lockdown restrictions are lifted. However they will be turned on at the click of a button as soon as shops and businesses reopen.
COVID-19 restrictions have limited the volunteers’ activity, but nevertheless, 546 posts were uploaded onto their Facebook Page, generating a total of 318,240 views during 2020 alone.
The website was paid for out of a grant from the Bishop Auckland and Shildon Area Action Partnership, via Councillor Joy Allen’s Neighbourhood Budget.
Cllr Allen said: “The Town Ambassadors have been doing a sterling job over the last couple of years promoting new and established businesses and encouraging residents to shop local.
“Their Facebook Page has been a roaring success and highlights the amazing variety of independent businesses in the town and often attracts thousands of views for each post.
“I am extremely proud of their achievements and have backed them 100% from day one. Bishop Auckland is extremely lucky to have such a dedicated team of volunteers who love their town and I admire their commitment to put Bishop Auckland on the map.
“This new website couldn’t have come at a better time to support local businesses when they reopen and will go a long way to ensure that those choosing staycations choose Bishop Auckland.
“There is so much to see and do in Bishop Auckland, it’s great to have this one stop top visitor landing page that signposts visitors to key places, sites and useful sources of information.”
Nigel Bryson, Secretary of the Town Ambassadors said: “The website is a ‘one stop shop’ to find key information about Bishop Auckland.
“It will provide a great support in promoting the many attractions that are in and around our great Town.
“When the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, we are anticipating a tourist boom in the next few years and the website will be a great support the Town Ambassadors in welcoming visitors.”
Becci Nye, Manager of the Fifteas Vintage Tearoom said: “I think it’s fantastic having all the information about the town in one place. We often get customers – even locals – saying they didn’t know we were there or they’d heard about us but weren’t sure of our exact location.
“I will personally use the website and will be directing customers to use it also. We often get asked by visitors to the town about things to do and places to go.
“It will be a fantastic guide and aid to tourism that is heading our way in the next few years. I’m really excited for the town and our future.”
Andrew Jackson, owner of Abyte Solutions, who developed the site said: “We are over the moon to see the launch of the Town Ambassadors’ website.
“This is the culmination of countless hours of work from a group of hard-working volunteers, each of whom has the success of Bishop Auckland as their priority.
“Having this website available to list all of the benefits of our town will enable residents and visitors to find all of the various attractions on offer in Bishop Auckland”.
It is predicted that the projected boost in visitors will occur within the next five years and a staggering one million additional visitors to the town are expected year by 2029.
In recent years, the town has benefited from an estimated £120m of major investments, from the award-winning Kynren historical extravaganza, the £18 million refurbishment of Auckland Castle, a £1.5 million refurbishment of Bishop Auckland Town Hall, the iconic and award-winning Auckland Tower and the Mining Art Gallery.
Many other top class attractions are in the pipeline. The Auckland Project’s international Spanish Art Gallery and the Weardale Railway line are due to open for business this year and the UK’s only Faith Museum is scheduled to open in 2022.
Investment will also be put into Binchester Roman Fort, often referred to the Pompeii of the North for the size and scale of the site. For certain, Bishop Auckland’s past will be its future and it is certainly a town on the move.
Over the next five years, an additional £19.9 million will be invested in Bishop Auckland from the Government’s Future High Street Fund. A £46.8 million bid to the Government’s Stronger Towns Fund was submitted recently.
The additional funding will continue to build the infrastructure of Bishop Auckland so it can become a visitor destination of choice with international importance.
As these plans are developed, huge opportunities will open up for investors, residents, visitors and businesses alike.
The future for Bishop Auckland looks bright and its popularity as a destination town locally, regionally, nationally and internationally is bound to grow.
As it does, the Town Ambassadors hope more and more people will fall in love with area and keep returning to Bishop Auckland year after year!