Wednesday, 29 February 2012

#Warwickportaspilots is born!


And so it is born. The idea, that less than a week ago was just a few tweets, was tonight a packed meeting room full of passion and enthusiasm.

So often I get lost in my little world of tweets, blogs, likes and follows that I forget to look up and take it all in. This is just what I seem to do. Get people connected, get them to a place and help them help each other. I think it's quite simple really. I guess what I have achieved in a few days with Twitter and this blog is impressive but to me it's simple. It's all there already, I'm just connecting all the dots. Warwick has so much to give and so much passion. We lit the fire, but the fuel is already there in abundance.

Although this all started on Twitter and then with this blog, tonight was about real networking, real connection and real communication. Tonight was also about learning from each other. Building on what Warwick already has is key to our Portas Pilot proposal. With skills from all demographics and passion for one focus, this is surely the best business that has never been started. Warwick 'the brand' is in its infancy, but I hope it will grow to become a powerful mechanism of communication, information and a sense of community.

A stone's throw from the beating, but slightly weak heart of Warwick's Market square, we met at the Rose and Crown. The first meeting was never going to produce a proposal which fulfilled Mary Portas' 28 recommendations. I never thought this for a second. The first meeting was just that, a meeting. A meeting of Warwick, a meeting of different channels of Warwick - channels who work hard on their own, but will now hopefully combine knowledge and powers together. United we are the perfect combination. Skills in all different areas of work. Experience in all different areas of life. A combination that matches the people who should come to our town, understanding them all from one perspective impossible. Understanding them all from many different perspectives, targeted through one that's a powerful team.

In a town everyone is dependent on everyone else. One failure in turn leads to another. Success can only lead to success.

So what did we decide?

Well we decided that the buzz surrounding Portas Pilots was a very positive thing for Warwick. Working with this excitement and obvious enthusiasm will be difficult. We must focus on the proposal, what's do-able in 31 days? We can't change the town in that time, and indeed £100,000 doesn't fix all the problems.

What is important? What will get us a winning bid? What is the Portas Pilots crowd-pleasing plan? Well we have some incredible ideas! Some have been ideas for some time, and we can't wait to get started. We're a market town with gorgeous architecture and a positive community. Let's build on what we have, and not create what we haven't. That was key to tonight's discussion.

With backing from the Mayor, the council (district and town) and of course Chris White our MP, we really have everything in place to put forward a winning proposal to Mary Portas and her team. We are Warwick, we are proud and ready to show the country what we're made of.

It goes without saying that nothing is set in stone yet. If you are reading this and think you should be on the 'Portas Pilot' panel or committee or whatever we chose to call it, then contact us NOW. As you may have guessed I do things now, instantly, no waiting. I would never get on with red tape or barriers. Time is ticking and the deadline has been looming since before we started. Back foot? No chance. With this momentum we're already ahead of most towns.

The key to this campaign is communication. Openess to all. Let others know about this blog, listen out for our touch FM interview and look out for our Warick Courier article on Friday. I'm fully aware that not everyone is on Twitter, and I'm fully aware that not everyone has internet access. Print this off and pass it on. Tell them in the post office queue - let people know! Mary Portas has challenged us and it's inspired some seriously motivational people in Historic Warwick. Get on board, but be quick because this train won't be late for its final destination...

Many thanks for reading. As always comments are not only welcome, but responded to.

Cheers for now

Todd @Underwoodwines & @Warwicktweetup


  1. Hi.

    Apologies for not making the meeting, Sarah from Smith St Vintage and I planned to be there, but work got in the way!

    We are both on board, and will do what we can, just shout.

    I have just emailed Edge of the Web regarding the Smith St Quarter website, which I assume most people don't even know about. I am very keen to get the site up and running, probably in a different fashion to it's current format. Have a lot of ideas, but can't do it alone. People need to start thinking outside the box, we are all in this town together, the us and them nonsense going on between the Square and Smith St needs to stop.

    Smith St more than matches the square in terms of quality of outlets, culinary and retail. Yet we should all be working together to bring people in and putting pressure on the council to sort the sign problem out.

    In my own little part of the town, a decision needs to be made as to whether the passage that runs above Pancho is in fact a public right of way. We regularly have people in our private car park, walking up from Priory car park turning around and walking up Priory Rd. Missing out Smith St all together.

    Likewise, people getting off the train at the station, walking to Smith St, taking one look at Jury St, and assuming that Smith St is 'IT'! Smith St appears to be a village within the town centre. With little except Pizza Express joining the town centre and Smith St, until you get to Aqua, which is not visible from the East Gate.

    It appears to me that this is all known, yet nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing is done about it. I agree with Todd, "Whether you like it or not, people are lazy, and busy". It is about time the bickering that I witness upon meeting the Town Manager last week, and we all sit down and work together.

    I am clearly passionate about this, this is my living. I need my business to work. I sometimes wonder if it even matters to some people if they see a customer of a day.

    Let's get this going on.

  2. Smith St Quarter website nope that's news to me

  3. With regards to Dales Comment.

    There shouldn't be a Smith street website in more than there should be a 'Market Square' website. One message. One Website. Advertising Wawick as one united Town.

    Together we are a great and powerful team. Let's not keep the divide open, let's close it and join forces. Your comment about people thinking S it's street is it is bang on Dale, they do it from the top of your hill too.

    I am working with the Castle for a similar 'referral' deal. Let's move people all around our town. They are missing out and so are we.

    Great to have you on board Dale. Passionate people are what this Pilot needs.