We’re proud of Clare
A new site for visitors to Clare is now available – Visit Clare. This extends the contents for local tourist-related businesses and groups to an inner ring of Cavendish, Belchamp St Paul, Ovington, Ashen, Stoke-by-Clare and Poslingford, plus an outer ring of Boxted, Stanstead, Glemsford, Foxearth, Pentlow, Belchamp Otten, Tilbury juxta Clare, Ridgewell, Wixoe & Baythorne End, Kedington, Brockley Green, Hundon & Stansfield. Paid advertisements will be allowed on this new site, provided they do not offend editorial policy.
Tourism Clare, a working party of the Town Council has been created. It consists of:
- Phil Gryce, Chair, Councillor
- Derek Blake, Clare Castle Country Park Trust
- Margaret Godwin, Councillor, Clare Community Association
- Gill Hind, Ancient House Museum
- Steve Kimminau, Councillor
- Susan Moore, Clare Business Association
- Bill Perceval-Maxwell, Clare Churches
Both the Chair of the Town Council, Paul Bishop and the Borough Councillor for Clare, Alaric Pugh attend many of the meetings.
The Town Council has agreed for its working group, Tourism Clare, to become an independent organisation run within the rules of the Charity Commission as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, based on representative members of the town: Ancient House Museum, Churches Together, the Park, Clare Business Association, the Council itself, plus our district and county councillors. The object is to attract funds for promoting Clare and its hinterland. Cllrs Paul Bishop and Margaret Godwin have been elected as councillors to become trustees.
The new group, Visit Clare was launched last month in the presence of our local MP, James Cartlidge in an event shared with Clare Park Golf Course and its new conference facilities, well attended by local businesses and well covered by press and radio – see Suffolk Free Press article. Our county councillor, Mary Evans has written an approving article for the Parish Pump, the newsletter for Stansfield,
Denston & Stradishall (July 2017 issue, p13).
Comments from participants included: James Cartlidge praised one of Visit Clare’s main aims, to make the area one that can rival the Cotswolds, adding: “I think the really good thing about it is that it will be proactive and promote the area.” Jon Miles, economic development officer for St Edmundsbury Borough Council, emphasised how the authority’s main aim was to “ensure the growth of the local economy”, including offering support and helping Visit Clare to access funding streams. Paul Bishop, chairman of Clare Town Council, said: “What we are trying to do is to get more people to come to visit Clare. “Once you get them here, they will continue to come back – that’s what this project is all about.”
Visit Clare has a Business Plan which outlines a programme for marketing our area and targets a several measures:; this will cover signage, tourist information points, illuminations, website and brand design. It will prepare a bid to the Leader programme. SEBC and Bury St Edmunds have recently announced funding to establish a destination marketing organisation (DMO) for ‘Bury & Beyond’; we will endeavour to link our work into theirs, and establish how far their ‘beyond’ extends.
As part of this work, we have conducted a 1-1 survey of the shareholders in the town, business & voluntary organisations.
A second group has been created to extend our tourist/visitor offer to walks in and around Clare. This Walks Group, sponsored by a grant from Suffolk Community Foundation to Clare Castle Country Park Trust, has currently drawn up a set of six circular walks; the leaflets are now available. See the Clare Walks website for details and other walking information. The Walks Group has been invited by the Town Council to set up Clare as a Walkers are Welcome town.
The Wool Towns Association has been formed: Clare is an equal partner with Hadleigh, Lavenham and Long Melford and Sudbury. A bid to the Leader programme aims to create a nationwide image of Suffolk Wool Towns which will form a tourist destination in its own right. The WTA is now constituted as a CIC, a non-profit charitable organisation.
Page updated: 11 July 2017
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