Business funding delivers

As we launch into this exciting year for Milton Keynes as European City of Sport, we wanted to take a look back at 2019 and the range of improvements that MyMiltonKeynes has delivered. Showcasing the prosperity of business levy funding and tangible benefits the business community is now receiving, as well as enhancements planned for this year.

Connecting the city

The MyMiltonKeynes mobile app has now seen its first full year of activation, attracting over 7,500 active users already. This innovative initiative continues to deliver services to employees working within the Business Improvement District. The free-to-use app gives employees access to a number of services including intelligent parking assistance showing minute-by-minute availability across more than 10,000 spaces within the city centre, which helps keep the city moving at its busiest times.

The app also gives employees access to exclusive offers, promotions and money saving deals across a wide range of businesses including restaurants, shops, MK Theatre and many more. In fact, more than 100 reward offers have attracted nearly 8,000 redemptions in the first year of use. Completing the app is the highly successful free-to-use My Bus shuttle service which provides efficient mobility for the workforce, allowing them to navigate the city centre in just minutes, without the use of individual cars. This service is truly encouraging employees to step away from their desks (and workplace) to discover more of what the city centre has to offer. Since launching, user journeys have exceeded 41,000 trips across Central

Milton Keynes.

The MyMiltonKeynes app was shortlisted at the National Transport Awards for ‘Most Innovative Transport Project’ and the MK Business Achievement Awards in the ‘Innovation’ category.

We’ve also introduced a brand-new platform for businesses to communicate with the city centre workforce through both the reward section, but also through in-app messaging and push notifications, meaning the city centre business community is now more connected than ever to the immediate day-to-day population.

Strengthening the city

MyMiltonKeynes continues to fund two full-time Thames Valley Police officers, equating to 4,000 hours of police time every year. This helps to bring a greater police presence within the city centre as well as much needed support to businesses dealing with issues such as anti-social behaviour and loss prevention. They also deliver personal safety advice to employees in the workplace.

Taking a pro-active step to combat homelessness, MyMiltonKeynes has committed £75,000 funding to help furnish the interiors of the new YMCA stage one development, which will open this spring.

Cleaning up the city

One key objective for the BID was to make the city centre sparkle again, and so far we’ve managed major programmes of deep-cleaning and other initiatives to help transform many areas of the public realm. Landscapes in high footfall areas including underpasses and walkways have seen thousands of litres of waste, rubbish, needles and even excrement removed. Making way for more than 12 tonnes of bark chippings to brace the landscapes against future deterioration and embed the introduction of hundreds of new plants

and shrubs.

Our management of the landscapes not only brings a safer feeling environment for employees going to and from offices with clearer sightlines and more efficient street lighting, but also creativity in the shape of recycled filing cabinets on the central reservation of Midsummer Boulevard.

Animating the city

In 2019, MyMiltonKeynes supported and hosted a series of events to animate the city centre with the community at heart, from the MK Soap Box Derby and our free outdoor cinema in the summer through to the festive period with the biggest ever Christmas Lights Switch On, as well as brand-new tree lighting on Midsummer Boulevard and a charitable winter fashion show in collaboration with John Lewis & Partners.

Transforming the Fred Roche Gardens with our free ‘MyCinema’ events attracted over 6,000 visitors to the central green space to watch Wimbledon, a variety of world sports, TED Talks and blockbuster movies at weekends. An activation encouraging healthier working lifestyle.

The annual Christmas Light Switch On took place in November with the city centre bought to life for the festive season with an additional 62,000 LED lights, a spectacular laser and pyrotechnic show, and it even snowed! The event itself attracted thousands of visitors who enjoyed live performances from local talent and welcomed the Mayor, Santa and panto star Joe Pasquale to officially turn on

the lights.

Last Christmas also welcomed our substantial MyChristmasMK marketing campaign which saw multi-channel promotional activity running across the region.

What does 2020 bring?

We enter the year with great news for safety, as central government funding has been allocated to Milton Keynes for additional police resources to tackle the homelessness issues. Our BID funded officers will focus on this activity, and we welcome two additional officers to the city centre to directly tackle anti-social behaviour, loss prevention in retail, and delivering personal safety talks in the workplaces of our businesses.

Complimenting this funding, our contactless payment donation campaign has been live at sites across the city centre – look out for our tap points, and help us make REAL CHANGE NOT LOOSE CHANGE as we support the MK Homelessness Partnership (see page 43 for more info).

Our auditing of the public realm remains consistent to ensure issues are reported and relevant organisations are instructed, and deep-cleaning continues in hotspot locations where necessary. Ongoing landscape management will ensure cleaner, safer, more accessible open spaces and we hope to embark on a long-term city centre revitalisation project in partnership with Milton Keynes Council - which will bring vast upgrades to paving, railings, painting, and MK’s infamous infrastructure.

To animate the city centre, we’ve committed £75,000 funding to support the International Festival which promises to bring truly experiential activities across the heart of the city. MyCinema returns in July for more sports, TED Talks, movies and more! And, we’ll be supporting the city’s status as European City of Sport by promoting business ’20 in 20’ pledges as well as providing sporting opportunities as part of the initiative to encourage a more active lifestyle for all.

As always, collaboration will be ingrained in every activity. If you’d like to know how you could be involved in improving Central Milton Keynes, contact our BID Manager Pauline Mitchelmore at or on 01908 395099.