You can’t please all the people….



Town centre management is a tricky one. I meet a lot of people up and down the UK all doing a similar task.

Town centre managers everywhere given the job to run and manage a place. Places full of businesses, large or small, established or new, thriving or not, bustling or quiet, busy or dead. Either way, we don’t really  ‘manage’ a town.

That would be a HUGE undertaking for anyone surely? I have a very prescribed schedule of work, decided by the Board who hold my contract. A schedule that includes the coordination of town centre events, developing a digital high street (from public wifi to online portals), supporting local businesses and trade and encouraging footfall. Inviting local residents and visitors to the town to spend time and hopefully, their well-earned cash at the local shops, bars and cafes. Liaising with landlords, tenants, customers, investors, grant funders, stakeholders, people.

Town centre management, or place management (as it’s now known) is a very public, outward facing role. One not for the faint hearted or those who lack the tough skin of a rhino! I used to think I had tough skin – NO! But I am developing it now.

It’s a role I thoroughly enjoy. I carry out this role to my best ability, I know what I am doing. I am the best person for the job. My creativity and skills mean that the events, initiatives, schemes and ideas I create are fit for purpose, within budget and for the best of the town I am working with.

But I also find it equally as frustrating. Just when I think I have nailed it, come up with the best idea to revolutionise the town centre, someone, somewhere will cast their valued opinion. Opinions that are entitled, but not always the most helpful. Opinion matters. Even those opinions which come in from all directions and are not always filled with the most useful or positive comments. When working with people, it comes with the territory. When working within a place full of people, where the people are loyal, caring and passionate about that place, creates only more opinion.

I will never please everyone, nor do I want to. Town Centre Managers everywhere, I salute you. Continue to do good, mean well and strive for excellence in making your place the best it can be.

Author: Rachael Kennedy

As a keen ambassador for empowering communities and enabling local business growth, Rachael founded Olio Projects Ltd, delivering first class project management for SMEs, larger corporates and organisations. Rachael's ongoing contracts include Town Centre Management for Morley, working with local businesses and partners to promote the town as a key destination for retail, leisure and culture. More recently, Rachael worked with the Leeds BID team, involved in place management and developing relationships with trade and commerce in Leeds city centre. As a busy mum of two, Rachael is also proud to be the first President of Morley Women's Institute, set up in 2015 to bring exciting new opportunities to the town for women of all ages.

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