Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Town Team Take-Off

Town Team Take-Off

Warwick hosted a Town Team initiative this week; an event organised by Action for Market
Towns (AMT). The AMT, who were already working with Town Teams before Mary Portas,
thought that it was a real shame to let all the energy and ideas created by the Portas Pilot
campaign to disappear. Led by Jamie Veitch, the AMT invited all the 'unsuccessful' Town
Teams to their "Town Team Take-Off" workshop at the Lord Leycester Hospital on July

The AMT contacted me via Twitter after our very high profile and positive Portas Pilot
campaign. The sheer energy and get-up-and-go attitude of Warwick has inspired many,
and Jamie is certainly one of them. It was a great honour to be asked to help to organise
the workshop, and even more so to present a session about the use of Twitter to get a
Town Team off the ground. As I’ve said before:

"We didn't lose the Portas Pilot, we won so much more than £100,000."

This AMT event echoes that. Opportunities and a new energetic profile are bestowing
themselves on Warwick. We certainly need to keep the Warwick Rocks brand and
community spirit going... and there's plenty of plans to do so!

Today's workshop was aimed at getting Town Teams from across the country to share ideas and stories with each other. We are all unique towns with unique issues, and the day enabled us to learn from each other. 35 different towns came to Warwick's historic Lord Leycester Hospital, from far and wide. With representatives from Essex, Shropshire and even Ilfracombe, it certainly shows that Warwick is on the map in a whole new network. Many were already aware of the success Warwick has had during the Portas campaign, and it was great to see the visitors descend on Warwick for lunch too.

I sat in on the morning workshop presented by Mike King from AMTI (working in partnership with the AMT). Mike told us of a simple yet effective model for measuring footfall, car parking, customer demographics, and more. Having recently found my head attached to a desk, because I was told there are no official figures for businesses in Warwick, this was an exciting prospect. They can measure anything from footfall to businesses category and survey the demographic of visitors. The data is then collated and sent back in English (you know, that language anyone can read without the help of a Masters degree). This is certainly something I'll be chasing up for Warwick... £250? Surely there should be another zero on that?!

Lunch was not part of the free workshop, so the Town Team were thrust into Warwick. I wandered off to Cafe Catalan with a few new contacts, whilst others used the on-site Brethren’s kitchen. Some commented on our new "shared spaces" on High Street and Jury Street, and certainly seemed to like the Warwick Beach (our nickname for the new surfacing).

The afternoon saw more workshops from Alison Eardley of the AMT. Alison works on development and influence of central and regional policy relating to market towns. I gave a presentation on the use of social media - mainly Twitter - and how to use it get a Town Team off the ground. Joined half way through by former Mayor Trudy Offer, it certainly cemented the story that Warwick not only uses Twitter a lot, but that it uses it effectively. There were some great questions from Councillors, Town Team members, and also a representative from the Co-op group. It’s always great to chuck ideas around about my favourite subject... especially when they come round to the idea that Twitter can work for anyone.

I was sorry to miss a workshop from Barry James. His 'Social High Street’ initiative has many direct connections to the work that WarwickTweetup does:

"Driving footfall from Facebook"

It certainly sounds very appealing to us social media types in Warwick! I hope to hear more about that later this month. is well worth a look.

It wasn't all about social media though; far from it. Many Town Teams had grown from far more traditional beginnings. It was great to hear the points of view from Councillors and town centre managers, they too had struggles and failings similar to ours. I do believe the day helped us all to improve, and more importantly to continue the work. It would be such a shame to give up just because we didn't win the Portas funding.

Thanks to Jamie and to also to Chris Wade from the AMT. They clearly don't want the Portas Pilot to be the end of our journeys... and I fully agree! It was a great event and having it in Warwick only cements the Warwick Rocks phenomenon further. Who knows what's next for the rocking market town...?

Thanks for reading, comments always welcomed.
Todd @WarwickTweetUp


  1. I love the positively & energy of this whole movement. Great blog.

  2. Simon Armstead19 July 2012 at 22:21


    Congratulations Todd on another fantastic achievement in the history of Warwick TweetUp!

    A year ago next Saturday on the 28th July 2011, I bought my first Smart Phone, a Galaxy II. Little did I know that within days I’d be hooked on Twitter! Friends still say to me that they never thought they’d see the day, when I not only owned a Smart Phone, but also had become an avid Tweeter! (Although, not on the same scale as @WarwickTweetUp!)

    Tweeting for me first began with my crime writer friend @PoodlePowered. I knew she Twittered, but I had always thought it was a fad that would pass (Tweeting all her academic and crime writing friends – a complete waste of time, or so I thought!) But once I got started on Twitter I couldn’t stop. Initially, I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and some would say I still don’t! But thanks to your regular Warwick TweetUp Blogs, I pick-up new Twitter tips all the time.

    Although I don’t work in Warwick, I do live in the town and as a resident I think the work you have done in the community has been marvelous. Bringing businesses, councils and residents closer together. I’ve had such a lot of fun this Summer Tweeting photographs of some of the people and events going on in the town. So many people know about WarwickTweetUp and when I ask if I can Tweet a photo of them, many of them say excitedly “are you from WarwickTweetUp?” When I say no, they are often disappointed. But with an explanation that I will Tweet a photo of them right across Warwick, either working in their business or on the Tombola at the school fete etc - they are soon proudly posing for a photo. One lady even said to me last weekend at the Westgate School Summer Fayre, does this mean “I’ll be famous!” Of course I replied – thinking, I hope this photo gets a RT!!

    Keep Tweeting for Warwick Todd! When I’m out and about Twittering with my camera, many Warwick residents, Warwick organisations and Warwick independent shops tell me that they would love to Twitter, but are not sure what to do and are generally daunted by idea. Many folk seem to think we Tweet in a special coded language (where did that come from?) It goes without saying that I always mention you and the WarwickTweetUp Twitter School. In fact, last Saturday, I nearly Tweeted you to see if you had any WarwickTweetUp business cards! I could have handed out half a dozen to potential pupils for the next Twitter class! Maybe you should try a Twitter school aimed specifically at Warwick residents, perhaps a “mini class” on a Saturday at one of the many Warwick school/charity fetes with a slightly more relaxed fun theme! Last Sunday’s Myton Hospice Summer Fete would have been an ideal venue. I reckon there were some newbie Tweeters there (I certainly saw plenty of iPhones and Smart Phones!)

    Anyway Todd that’s enough of me Twittering on! Not sure if I should have sent this missive to my neighbour @pinky_princess for proofreading first! But, thanks once again for helping to make Warwick such a fun and great place to live and work.

    All the best

    Simon @felphamuk

    1. Simon,

      Although we have never met, I know you so well. I really do look forward to one day meeting you. I think the way you use Twitter is very similar to myself and that is why many have mistook you for me. Keep up the live stream of photos on the weekends, it's awesome to share your journey as you 'shop local' or actively promote important events in town.

      I would love to teach the people you speak of, it's my passion and I'm very proud of Twitter school. (I do have business cards you can have :)

      Thanks for the comments, it is these alone that keep me fighting for Warwick.

      Cheers Todd.

  3. Aww you guys! *smiles*