Celebrating one year in the life of the KBA

It’s just over a year since local business owner, Peter Telfer took over as chair of Kilmarnock Business Association (KBA), and in that time the group has worked very closely with East Ayrshire Council’s Town Centre Regeneration Team and Celebrate Kilmarnock on a programme of initiatives to fuel economic growth through community regeneration.

Despite the constraints of Covid, KBA has been instrumental in supporting new developments such as the East Ayrshire Gift Card and ShopAppy.com, which proved a vital lifeline to shoppers and retailers throughout the lockdown period and beyond. By making it easy for even the smallest of businesses to list their goods and services online, it gave consumers the chance to support their local traders, browsing and ordering from the safety of their own homes without deserting their local high street.

The association, which caters for all Kilmarnock’s businesses, no matter their size or type, was  instrumental in working with the Council to raise funds to install new Christmas Lights on Titchfield Street. It also used some funding to create promotional videos featuring local traders to promote the gift card and ShopAppy.

Banners were also installed in the town centre, encouraging people to shop online, but shop local, when businesses were unable to open. And they helped Alan Brown MP to start hosting regular surgeries for the businesses to make sure everyone was supported through the pandemic.  

Town Centre Regeneration Officer Tracy Murray has worked closely with Peter on the projects. She said: “At a time when the whole world was struggling to cope, Peter and the KBA were amazing, working with us to do what we could to make that huge shift into online trading for many businesses who hadn’t ventured into it previously, and giving those who already had an online presence access to a completely new, one stop, virtual high street so  their products could be more widely seen and known.”

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader,  Cabinet Member for Community Wealth Building and Regeneration, East Ayrshire Council agreed: “Over the past year, the achievements of all concerned at KBA have been incredible,  whether it’s been their “Random Acts of Kindness” project in conjunction with Kilmarnock Football Club, or their competitions on social media to promote the Gift Card and local businesses, they’ve been encouraging and bringing hope  to traders and shoppers alike at a time when we all needed it. 

“We decided as a Council some years ago that improving our town centres could only be done through a collaborative approach, working with the community, business, third sector and other organisations to regenerate and innovate to increase prospects and prosperity from the ground up.

“The work that Peter and the KBA have done over the past year has exemplified that ambition. And we look forward to many more years of working with them and our other community partners to continue to build a bright future for our town.”  

Peter Telfer said: “It has been fantastic to work with the businesses, local authority and the community over this past year to try and make a small difference. It has never been more important to Shop Local and to support our valued businesses. Thank you to everyone who continues to do so. We are always looking to grow the association and have more businesses on board, so please get in touch.”