On a mission to spread hope and happiness in Cheltenham
By David Wood
A recently-launched campaign to 'Find your happy place' in Cheltenham is already bearing fruit, according to the manager of Marketing Cheltenham.
David Jackson spoke to Punchline editor Mark Owen about the campaign which is set to run throughout the summer.
"It's really our way of trying to lift the spirits and trying to lift Cheltenham as a town out of lockdown and into some sense of hope and of joy," said David.
"We did a campaign when we came out of lockdown last year and it was all about returning to the things we had missed out on. I think our mentality was still very much Covid was a short-term thing and wasn't it nostalgic to look back on the things we had missed.
"But I think as we've come through this last year we've all been through so much we wanted something a bit more joyful, a bit more celebratory, a bit more almost emotional because it's been such an emotional rollercoaster for individuals and businesses in particular.
"What we all ultimately want to see in our daily lives is to find our happy place whether you are going away on holiday or coming to Cheltenham as a visitor or as a local and a business as well.
"Those businesses in returning to their happy place are actually back doing what they love in the restaurant or back serving customers or for locals returning to meet their friends or the places they love to spend their time or the events they want to go to. So with finding your happy place we thought it just speaks to those audiences and it's something everybody can get involved in and it's something everybody can identify in their own way.
Asked about the state of the economy in Cheltenham, David said: "I think there's absolutely challenges but there's genuinely a spring in the step if you like in Cheltenham. There's a sense of confidence returning. Footfall is significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels for the same period in 2018 and 2019.
"There is that cliche, 'pent-up demand', to actually come back in and see people and have that human interaction. We are certainly seeing the bums on seats, as it were, whether that's translated into spending on the high street and retail.
"Clearly the weather over the last week has helped enormously. May was a bit of a washout as people were trying to dine outside and couldn't go inside.
"Let's see what the summer pans out like. The demand is there and the interest is there and we're seeing a lot of new businesses opening all the time.
"Cheltenham has got that added edge and that sense of demographic and an audience which is there when it isn't perhaps elsewhere." David said they would love local businesses to get involved in the Find your happy place campaign.
"The community as a whole are starting to embrace it. We've created a content hub on our consumer sites on visitcheltenham.com and there's loads of assets and tool kits for businesses to use. Businesses are free to use copy and graphics and join in on social media.
"We've seen some lovely support from a lot of businesses already. We want to run the campaign throughout the summer. It isn't just here today gone tomorrow, this is about seeing us through the whole of the summer, a real joyous uplifting sense of happiness across the town. Please do get involved and come to us at Marketing Cheltenham if you want to know any more."
For more information, visit Find your Happy Place in Cheltenham (visitcheltenham.com)
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