Charities which have benefited from Aberdeen Inspired’s work in the city centre have backed a campaign to encourage businesses to vote in favour of retaining the Business Improvement District (BID).

Friends of Anchor, Charlie House and Mental Health Aberdeen (MHA) are among those who have been supported by Aberdeen Inspired through initiatives such as the indoor Christmas Market, particularly during a challenging time for fundraising.

Aberdeen-based Balmoral Group makes a voluntary contribution to Aberdeen Inspired as its premises at Loirston are outside the BID footprint.

Chairman and managing director Jim Milne CBE, established the company in 1980 and also founded Friends of ANCHOR to support cancer patients.

He said: “As a long-established business in Aberdeen we want to see the city continue to thrive and flourish and we fully support the work Aberdeen Inspired does to help improve the city centre. We choose to make a voluntary contribution despite being located a few miles away.

“A vibrant city centre benefits businesses of all sizes, from local independent shops and cafes and High Street retailers to multinational companies which are located outside the centre but want to attract the best talent to Aberdeen and encourage employees to spend their leisure time enjoying all that the city has to offer.

“Aberdeen Inspired also provides valuable support to charities including Friends of ANCHOR, which has hugely benefited from fundraising initiatives such as a silent disco at the Christmas Village. We wholeheartedly encourage businesses who are eligible to vote to Back the BID.”

Balmoral Group specialises in subsea buoyancy, flotation, insulation, elastomer and renewable energy products, property development, civil/environmental engineering liquid storage and treatment solutions.

Susan Crighton is director of fundraising at Charlie House, which provides support in the North-east of Scotland to children and young people with complex disabilities, medical needs and life-limiting conditions.

She said: “It’s no secret that the pandemic has adversely affected charities across the country. Our income has been down and the opportunities for fundraising have been limited due to ongoing restrictions. At a time when fundraising for charity has been extremely difficult, Aberdeen Inspired’s support has made a big difference to Charlie House.

“The Christmas markets which ran last November and December, in association with Aberdeen Inspired and Bon Accord, were a great success and inspired Curated Aberdeen, the new city centre market which launched on June 4.

“We’re delighted to have an additional income stream which will deliver much needed funds to support babies, children and young people with complex needs and life limiting conditions and their families. It also gives us another opportunity to support local producers by giving them access to prime retail space in the heart of the city.

“Aberdeen Inspired plays a vital role in promoting Aberdeen City Centre and we’re grateful for their continuing support.”

MHA is also getting behind Aberdeen’s city centre, with plans to move its counselling hub to a central location.

Graeme Kinghorn, chief executive of MHA, said: “Mental Health Aberdeen (MHA) has been supporting local people, organisations and businesses for 70 years so we are delighted to Back the BID, which will undoubtedly play a part in improving the wellbeing of everyone who is a stakeholder in the future of the city.

“However, our support is not just in words but more importantly, by moving our counselling hub into the city centre. The occupation and refurbishment of a prominent listed building during 2021 will provide a permanent home from which MHA will continue to deliver its vital counselling services and bring the narrative around mental health awareness right into the heart of Aberdeen.”

In line with Scotland’s other BIDs, Aberdeen Inspired must ballot the businesses within the BID footprint every five years.

A successful ballot will ensure it can continue working on behalf of local shops, bars, restaurants, property owners, landlords, shopping centres and all other city centre businesses until at least 2026.

Aberdeen Inspired was established to attract, sustain and boost investment in Aberdeen’s city centre for the benefit of its levy payers and all those who live, work, shop and visit there.

In addition to the levy payments, which go to support city centre improvements and initiatives, the BID brought in an additional £2million in other funding in 2020, almost double what is collected by levy. The average levy equates to around £5 per week - at just 1% of rateable value, it is the lowest in the country.

In recognition of the challenging times faced by businesses as a result of the pandemic, the levy in Aberdeen would be reduced by half in the first term (2021-22), dropping to just 0.5% of rateable value for the first year. 

 The BID footprint covers Union Street and the surrounding streets, including Broad Street, Market Street, Bridge Street, Huntly Street and Holburn Junction.

Eligible businesses have until 5pm on Thursday (June 24) to have their say. For more information, visit

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