Many people know the value in a local independent retailer, local service provider or the countless other businesses that provide money and jobs to so many in our seaside town. Perhaps what many people don’t realise is that the DTA is a collective of trades’ which seek to improve our local community, working tirelessly behind the scenes to make Dunbar an attractive place to visit and live.
Dunbar is blessed with a vibrant high street with an incredibly low vacancy rate for shops, a wide choice of items which can be sourced locally and some innovative and creative shops which give us great choice when shopping, eating or enjoying our spare time. The reason independent traders are so important to a small town is that they attract and retain money in the local economy, through jobs, support for good causes, investment in infrastructure. Beyond this they play a vital role in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour in our town centre, keep our town clean and tidy and giving services to those unable to travel further afield. Using your high street instead of your supermarket or nearest city helps improve the services you see locally, attracts new businesses and services and helps our town prosper in these difficult economic times. Not forgetting that the people who operate the shops, cafes and services you frequent are local families, your neighbours and your friends.
The DTA work to promote Dunbar at every opportunity they get, contacting over 250 national coach companies in the last 12 months to promote the town as the place to be. With promotion taking place at major events across Scotland from the Highland Show to the Fringe festival we have put Dunbar on the map as a tourist destination. This year over 50,000 Discover Dunbar brochures have been distributed across the globe.
This year saw the long awaited launch of the Dunbar.org.uk website, a place for people to find information about what there is to eat, buy and enjoy in and around Dunbar. From our snazzy events calendar to our news and blog we have promoted some great events and appear as the first website for any visitor searching for Dunbar. This platform is open to people out with the DTA to share events and news and has been proven to really boost foot flow, can you afford to not take advantage. With QR codes on our marketing literature we have taken a huge leap into the modern world of electronic information and promotion.
Not to forget traditional methods of advertising we have managed to get updates to signage on the A1 and Spott road areas which will point any would be visitors to our historic high street and harbour.
Keeping Dunbar high street clean and safe is something, as traders we have continually sought to do, from cleaning our pavements to erecting banners we constantly strive to improve the atmosphere and appearance of our wonderful town centre.
Beyond our own initiatives and promotional work we have also supported many of the wonderful local events. From shop window competitions to treasure hunts there is always an active role that trades can play in local events. Recently the Small Business Saturday demonstrated nationally how important small business are to a local area, not only in providing jobs and keeping capital within the town but also as a main source of funding and support to the hundreds of charities and good causes. Estimates from 2013 show that together there has been over £20,000 donated in money and gifts to local good causes, helping those less fortunate and saving lives.
In September we opened our monthly meeting to the general public to help address any concerns there were. Utilising our long standing and strong relationship with East Lothian Council we had representation from the council who could address many of the raised concerns. We had a great response and many of the items addressed have materialised into action plans and project teams working to improve these issues. Whether it be parking arrangements or cleaning of our historic closes there are now actions being taken both by volunteers and council to address the concerns raised and you will hear more about them from early 2014 when they begin to come to fruition. We pride ourselves on being transparent and having a great relationship with the people of this town, after all we serve you every day. This unique insight into your issues and concerns leads us to recognise and address the concerns you bring to our attention on a daily basis, from dog fouling to signage we listen, we care and we act.
In 2014 we will improve even further on the successes of 2013 and look forward to not only providing you with a service but with showing you the people of Dunbar, your local trades association cares about this town and the residents.
Finally we would like to publicly recognise the amazing efforts of our Secretary Pauline Jaffray, without her efforts none of this would have been possible. Pauline passionately cares about Dunbar and has been responsible for so much that this town has enjoyed.
We would also like to publicly recognise Graeme Webb who has brought our website up to a great standard and created a platform not only for the DTA but also the people of Dunbar to use. His efforts have really helped to put Dunbar at the top of the map as a coastal tourist destination.