The Hildreds are a Workman-managed and New River REIT-owned shopping centre in Skegness. Learn how they have delivered a virtuous circle of commercial and social value.
In the past month, a brand new, upsized JD Sports has opened, along with new arrivals The Original Factory Shop and Pavers Shoes. The launch of the new JD Sports store boosted footfall by 81%. However, the new openings didn’t only increase visitor numbers; the stores have so far created an extra 50 jobs.
Steve Andrews, Workman’s Centre Manager at The Hildreds said, “We are proud to welcome these national businesses to the Hildreds family. With the improved confidence after the pandemic we have seen a surge of new national and independent retailers. They are keen to invest in both Skegness and The Hildreds.”
Meanwhile, The Hildreds’ kiosks and retail merchandising units are fully let for 2023. The centre has a waiting list for pitches within the mall. Its footfall for the year to December 2022 was up +11.3% against 2021. In total, 9,709,976 visitors during 2022.
The Centre is renowned for its commitment and links to the local community. A year-round calendar of social value events is organised by Steve and his team. They collaborate with local groups, schools and residential care homes. In addition, they support 35 local charities. This year’s events will include Star Wars day, the School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, a Pirate Academy, a Super Hero event and an Alice in Wonderland Coronation.
Here are just a few examples of social value delivered at The Hildreds:
Linking children to the elderly
The Hildreds’ onsite property management team works with three local schools and two residential care homes. Children link to the elderly in several projects. These include gardening, making seed bombs, or growing fruit and vegetables in the planters around the centre. The centre utilises its own compost, created from food waste collected from the on-site café, to nourish fruits, vegetables and flowers. Some of the veg produced goes back to the café for them to use too.
Reaching out to community groups
Last year, The Hildreds expanded their green seating area in the car park as part of their ongoing efforts for environmental improvement. They partnered with County Care Lincs, a group of young adults with learning difficulties. They played a vital role in creating milk bottle container heads filled with plants. Additionally, they installed bee and insect hotels around the centre. With centre staff, the youngsters also took part in the Skegness Carnival parade, for which the entry won first place.
Bringing people together with Book Benches
The Hildreds’ Book Benches, painted by Centre Manager Steve Andrews, are designed for children to sit for a photo with a visiting book character or at certain times of the year hear a story read by performers and collect free children’s books from them during World Book Week.
The Book Benches also form a central point for the scheme’s Banter Buddy scheme, a simple idea where centre staff wearing a “Banter Buddy” badge will sit down on the designated benches and talk to anyone who looks lonely.
Creating enlivenment through popular events
The Hildreds stages its own events throughout the year, with Centre Manager Steve Andrews and his team, designing, building, and installing displays created mainly out of redundant shop fittings and materials.
These events and displays have built a reputation and help to attract thousands of visitors to The Hildreds each year. For example, last year’s Christmas Switch On attracted more than 40,000 people.
This year, there are lots of events planned at The Hildreds; Star Wars Day, the School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, a Pirate Academy, a Super Hero event and an Alice in Wonderland Coronation.
There will also be Street Orchestra Live, who will bring an orchestral flash-mob to the centre, Grandma’s Eco caravan, which will help highlight environmental issues and Live & Local – a group of varied artists who will visit once per month to perform.
Read more about Workman’s approach to creating social value across its managed Retail and Leisure portfolio.