Leading the estate through the COVID-19 crisis

Sara Homer helped secure the estate’s status as a BID for a third term last year and is now leading the estate through the COVID-19 crisis.

“Since coronavirus, Zoom has become a close friend! I am hosting board meetings, business surgeries and daily meetings online. We may be working differently, but Brackmills has never needed such support.

I am working particularly closely with Northamptonshire Police to ensure the estate remains safe and secure. Security is particularly important at this time as there are so many empty premises.

Our Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Ian Taylor is patrolling the estate, we have upped our security checks and are encouraging businesses to keep an eye on their neighbours’ premises.

Many businesses have come to me asking for help with funding applications, so I have also been working with Northampton Borough Council to assist with and chase business grants. This funding has proved essential for many of our businesses.

“Brackmills is a community and our job as the BID is to support everyone and keep the estate running.”

Our fortnightly drop-in surgeries used to attract a handful of employees. We now hold these on Zoom and are inundated with businesses and staff wanting to join us. Strangely, I have met more people and made a lot of new friends since the lockdown. This feeling of community has never felt stronger.

Since COVID-19 struck I have based myself at home and have two laptops permanently set up for webinars and Zoom meetings. I also drive around the estate and report any issues to Highways or the Police.

My favourite part of the job is the pure diversity of it - not knowing what is going to happen next, whether it is an incident on the estate, a new project, or a challenge to tackle.

No two days are the same and it is a real privilege to be a voice for Brackmills, spreading the word about our exceptional estate to the wider business community and our local MPs.

Once our lives are back to a ‘new normal’ I will start focusing again on one of my long-term aims – to re-open the disused railway track from Brackmills, so that it passes by the University and then stops near the railway station in Northampton town centre. We have already secured a lot of support but there is a lot more to do.”

For more information visit www.brackmillsestate.co.uk.

Sara Homer, CEO of  Brackmills Business Improvement District
Sara Homer, CEO of Brackmills Business Improvement District