Blackburn BID: The Power Of One


Blackburn BID were named as a finalist in the ‘Power of One’ category of the national Good Retail Awards 2023.  The award recognises organisations that have successfully made one small change in their business that has made a significant impact.

Blackburn BID’s entry details the 75% reduction in energy consumption during the Blackburn Glitter Ball Christmas Lights Switch On event as a result of the steps taken by the organisers.

The annual festive event, which is something thousands of people from Blackburn and surrounding areas look forward to each year, was designed to be sensitive to the challenges facing people this year – including the price of energy.

According to the ONS, electricity prices in the UK rose by 65.4% and gas prices by 128.9% in the 12 months to December 2022.

Catherine Price, Blackburn BID Manager, said: “With households struggling to pay their energy bills, and families worried about keeping warm in their home this winter, we wanted to ensure the event was as sustainable as possible without compromising on the quality.”

Blackburn BID commissioned Blackburn-based TecAudio as the supplier of the stage, sound, lighting, and video for the event. They were tasked with ways to make the event as low energy and sustainable as possible.

Lighting, sound, and special effects can all add to the energy requirements of a stage show, with a five-hour stage show with traditional lighting and projection screens using up to 7,500 kWh of electricity.

Instead of incandescent lighting, where up to 90% of the energy used is emitted as heat rather than light, all generic incandescent lights were substituted with LED fixtures. LED lighting is highly energy-efficient, using up to 75% less energy than incandescent lighting.

The Blackburn BID Christmas Lights Switch On show equated to around 1,875 kWh – a saving of 75%.

Catherine added: “Where possible, the stage team didn’t use any high-powered required equipment, for example raising the screen was done with manual chain hoists rather than hydraulic equipment.”

In addition to the energy savings, visitors to the Blackburn Glitter Ball Christmas Lights Switch On event were asked to donate tins and toys to help families in need at Christmas.

Blackburn BID supported Secret Santa Ltd who distribute toys for disadvantaged children in Blackburn with Darwen each Christmas. The BID also supported Blackburn Foodbank who were urgently looking for tinned items to support families through the festive season.

And, the star of the show, Blackburn’s very own AJ Odudu travelled to the event by train and was taken to her mum’s Blackburn home in an electric vehicle loaned to Blackburn BID by local car dealer Evans Halshaw.

The event attracted huge crowds to the town centre in November 2022 and footfall even matched 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels.

On the night Blackburn BID was pipped to the post for the award, but this hasn’t deterred Catherine.  “We are always looking at ways to innovate and be creative in showcasing our amazing town centre and businesses.  I’m proud that by being a finalist, the BID has been recognised for making a significant change to a traditional event which had a hugely positive impact, and I hope it will inspire other event organisers to do the same.”

It’s the second time Blackburn BID has been named a finalist in the Good Retail Awards. They were shortlisted in the 'Retail District' category in 2022.

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