If someone had said this time last year, that we would be almost a year into a global pandemic, with all its effect on each of us, our colleagues, our customers, our loved ones and our industries. No one would have believed them.
I’ve spoken to many of you, our members and partners, over the past year and I know the decisions that every single one of you has taken have been hard, and in many instances, you are choosing between a multitude of bad outcomes against a backdrop of a volatile future. I do not envy you and I am utterly struck by your resilience & perseverance.
From a New West End Company perspective, I could not be prouder of what we’ve achieved with you.
Through supporting you in a time of crisis, I’ve seen how truly remarkable the collaboration with our members, the public agencies and the policymakers has been. We’ve worked seamlessly across the West End together in a way I’ve never seen before and we will build on this collaboration as we face our West End recovery; together.
A Year Like No Other…
I think this year has also shown us – across the West End – at our very best. We have all drawn on collaboration and flexibility to respond stoically. Agility is the buzzword of the pandemic; the ability to pivot quickly when confronted with a problem and turn a risk into an opportunity – or at least work to mitigate the risk. To engage with customers in innovative ways, and to keep the West End going.
One very recent moment of the West End coming together (and there have been many this year) was our Traffic-Free Regent Street Days with our partners at The Crown Estate, where the London Minister, Mayor of London and Leader of Westminster City Council all came together with businesses to support the West End. You can watch our highlights below:
There is much commentary about the future of the West End, especially about the retail and office sectors structural transformation. My diagnosis has always been positive and one of opportunity. I was struck when the Chief Executive of Shaftesbury Plc said recently “it is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ the West End recovers” which all of us at New West End Company truly believe. This, however, does not mean it won’t be without its challenges, and a real partnership approach will be vital for us all to succeed.
The Westminster City Council £150m Oxford Street District Transformation coinciding with the opening of the Elizabeth Line along with a concerted strategy by all the West End players to make us truly sustainable and a viable global city centre again are our top priorities going into 2021. We have some key member events with our partners in January on these specific areas, which we do hope you will join as we start the New Year.
Christmas Time & My Thanks…
For now, our thoughts are with all the brilliant frontline heroes of the West End working tirelessly as we trade through Tier 3, to serve our West End customers in a safe and sustainable way.
To our West End security, cleaning, property management and customer facing colleagues, we are in full of admiration for you, the job you have done and continue to do so well for the West End, every single day; thank you.
I am full of immense pride for the New West End Company team, for what has been achieved with you and what we will continue to do for our member and partners in the future; thank you. We will come back from this stronger and the full team at New West End Company are here every step of the way with you.
I would like to wish you a very Happy Christmas, I do hope you have some time to reflect, reset and enjoy the season with your loved ones.
Here’s to a healthy, happier and much better 2021 than the year that we have just endured.
Yours in partnership