Lisa Brown who is one of two town centre managers from Melton Borough Council tells the Melton Times what it’s like being in charge of tourism and what events are planned in Melton this year.
Q What is your background?
A I was born at St Mary’s Hospital and lived in Asfordby before moving to Melton when I was seven years old. I attended King Edward VII Upper School and sixth form and after successfully getting my A levels I moved down to Bournemouth to study business and marketing with a specialism in tourism.
Three years later with a diploma under my belt I bought my first car and started a career in marketing at Kitson’s Insulations head office in Leicester.
Q How did you get involved with the council and becoming a town centre manager?
A I became a marketing officer at Charnwood Borough Council which involved working with the Loughborough town centre manager. I got seconded into economic development and tourism and ended up as a communication and press officer. I later moved to Melton to become town centre manager and share the role with my colleague Shelagh Core.
Q What does your role involve?
A I have never known a job which is as varied as this one. In the 10 years I’ve been in the role I’ve been involved in highway landscaping schemes (Sherrard Street, High Street and the market place), electrical installations and calculations (lighting schemes and Christmas displays), events signage and visitor information. Shelagh and I have separate ares we deal with but we do cover for one another occasionally. I tend to manage promotion and tourism whereas Shelagh handles business support.
Q What are some of the difficulties you face in the job and what do you enjoy best about your role?
A The role requires good time management and a strong focus on priorities.
I thoroughly enjoy the variety of my duties. Christmas is really difficult organising all the events but I still get a buzz when I see thousands of people in town with big smiles on their faces to watch the lights switch on. All community events are great. It’s a time we can get out of the office and speak to people directly and feel that we are making a difference.
The Olympic Torch Relay was probably the highlight of my career and an event that I will never forget. There was soo much work involved behind scenes but the reward was amazing.
Q How did the design for the new Town Centre App come about and did you help with the design?
A I hope everyone loves the Town Centre App. It took hours to gather the information to get this project off the ground. I had to input every single latitude and longitude reference for each business along with all the contact details and URLs for images. It was a huge project and a hard slog but all worth it now it’s up and running.
Q How does Melton’s trade compare to other towns in terms of its revenue?
A We work closely with the other Leicestershire market towns and have a huge advantage of actually being a tourist destination. The market is a key attraction for Melton along with the brand of food and drink.
We have a low shop vacancy and business is trading well despite the hardship felt nationally. It’s not easy being in retail in the current climate but our small independents are thinking outside of the box to attract trade.We will be setting up training courses in 2015 to help traders grow their business through social media and online.
Q What new events and activities are planned in Melton during 2015?
A We have just set up a new Events Partnership which involves all the major event organisers in Melton. We are going to be looking at which events could be developed further and whether there are any obvious ‘gaps’ for new activity.
The big one for 2015 is extending the Victorian Christmas Fayre to a three day event to cover the Friday and the weekend. The event has become so successful it’s time extend the coverage.