It’s been another fantastic year for Cheapside Business Alliance (CBA), with some fantastic projects, schemes and initiatives being delivered. Join us as we look back on 2023 and the work of the CBA team.
We kicked off the year with a series of free, interactive Mental Health First Aid training courses for the Cheapside business community. Delivered by MHFA England, these half-day courses resulted in all attendees receiving their Mental Health First Aider certification, which is recognised by MHFA International.
January also saw the launch of the CBA Community Fund, a new initiative to support communities across London’s Square Mile. The programme focused on funding innovative community projects, groups, and charities that are helping to create stronger neighbourhoods and communities. To date, the fund has provided £30,000 towards various initiatives and charities and supported an estimated 600 people.
Valentine’s Day took centre stage in Feb, with the ‘London for Lovers’ project. The project encouraged people to write their ‘love letters to London’, sharing what they love most about the City. Twenty branded post boxes were then placed across various locations for people to post their letters. The project received hundreds of letter deliveries and helped to drive footfall back into the City of London.
With Spring fast approaching, the CBA team partnered with local floristry company, Jar & Fern, to deliver a series of gardening workshops for Cheapside businesses and their staff. These workshops taught guests how to hand-tie their own bouquet of flowers, sending all attendees home with their own bouquet.
We rounded out the month with more MHFA training courses, as well as the delivery of the first ‘Reframe the Night’ session for 2023. ‘Reframe the Night’ is a collaborative project between the City of London Police, CBA, and City of London Corporation to look at improving night-time safety for women, ensuring everyone feels safe and secure at all times.
March welcomed London Repair Week to Cheapside, an annual celebration inviting workers and residents to gain repair skills and new tips & tricks. The project focuses on repairing items instead of replacing them, showing how we can all do our bit to help the planet. To coincide with this, CBA delivered a number of ‘Tech Takeback’ workshops and tech training courses for local staff.
We were also delighted to continue our support of The Ward of Cheap Club, helping to deliver their March business breakfast. The breakfast discussion welcomed Richard Burge, Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry and was well attended by the Cheapside business community. We look forward to our continued collaboration with the Ward in 2024.
April saw the first ever Open Iftar take place in Cheapside, in celebration of Ramadan. We partnered with the Ramadan Tent Project, Landsec, and the City of London Corporation to deliver an open event in One New Change. The celebration welcomed over 200 to Cheapside and plans are already underway for more Open Iftar’s next year.
May was a big month of celebration for London, with the coronation of Charles III. CBA marked the occasion with our ‘Big Afternoon Tea Party’, welcoming Cheapside businesses to a day of food, drink, conversation, and celebration at Saddlers Hall. Celebrations continued across the City, with the Parish Dinner at St Mary-le-Bow and the English Garden Display at The Royal Exchange.
With June marking the start of Summer in Cheapside, we welcomed the return of ‘Live in the Churchyard’. Delivered by CBA and St Mary-le-Bow Church, this annual community festival brings live music and entertainment to the Churchyard and is completely free to attend. We welcomed more than 800 people to the Churchyard across the week-long event.
The CBA team also worked to bring a little floral flare to Cheapside, with various eco-friendly floral displays being installed across the City. We also welcomed the London Festival of Architecture (LFA) to Cheapside, with the installation of a Mobile Arboretum. Funded by CBA, this mobile garden installation offered a haven of relaxation for those visiting the area and workers on their lunch break.
June saw the launch of Morph’s Epic Art Adventure, an interactive city-wide trail featuring 56 six-foot interactive Morph sculptures. CBA were delighted to sponsor our very own Morph; the project welcomed hundreds to the area, with the Morph sculptures being auctioned off to raise thousands for the Whizz Kidz charity.
We were delighted to also help deliver Fortnum & Mason’s summer networking drinks at their stunning Royal Exchange location. The event welcomed local businesses and staff for a fantastic afternoon of drinks and networking.
In July, writer, journalist, and television presenter, Mike Read launched his latest book ‘A Thousand Years of a London Street: Cheapside’. Intended to be the first in a series documenting London Streets and their histories, this book explores a thousand years of Cheapside, exploring kings, queens, poets, playwrights, inventors, pioneers, politics, religion, and much, much more. We were delighted to support the book launch reception, welcoming local businesses for a networking evening.
August – September
With Morph’s Epic Art Adventure coming to an end in mid-August, focus turned to Bartholomew Fair, running from 31st August to 16th September. A reimagining of a historic London event dating back to the 12th Century, Bartholomew Fair 2023 delivered over 250 free events, live performances, and unique spectacles to the City of London. We were delighted to work with the City of London and its Destination City team to help promote the campaign to visitors and businesses.
In September, the CBA team also welcomed the Cheapside business community and our key stakeholders to the launch of our annual report. The evening invited businesses to take a look back on CBA’s achievements for the past 12 months, showcasing the brilliant work of our team and partners.
We were delighted to also support City Giving Day, The Lord Mayor’s Appeal’s annual celebration of philanthropy and giving. The day encourages businesses across the City to come together and take part in fundraising activities to raise vital funds for a selection of nominated charities. The CBA team joined The Lord Mayor at the London Stock Exchange, to kickstart the day with the launch of the markets. From there, our team and Ambassadors spent the day connecting with Cheapside businesses and promoting their incredible fundraising activities.
October focused on business networking and connecting the Cheapside business community. CBA sponsored another Ward of Cheap Club business breakfast, welcoming guests to a brilliant talk by Janine Hirt, the CEO of Innovate Finance, the industry body representing the UK FinTech sector. Janine explored the development opportunities of the UK FinTech sector and how this applies to the City of London.
We wrapped up the month with the City Giving Day Thank You Reception, an event that CBA was delighted to also be the main sponsor for. This evening event welcomed businesses who had participated in City Giving Day to reflect on their fundraising achievements and hard work.
November – December
November was a whirlwind month, packed full of city-wide initiatives and celebrations. Cheapside was delighted to support and attend ‘A Little Night Music’, The Passage Charity Dinner. It was great to bring a selection of CBA board and steering group members along for the evening, which raised thousands of pounds for The Passage Charity.
We then kicked off the festive fun in Cheapside with the annual switch-on of the Christmas lights in Bow Lane and St Mary-le-Bow. It was a pleasure to welcome the new Lord Mayor, Michael Mainelli, and the Lady Mayoress to switch on the lights. It was then onto Balfour at Bow Wine Vaults for an evening of food, drinks, and networking with the Cheapside business community. You can read all about our new festive lighting scheme and installations here.