Archive for the ‘New Town Centre’ Category

Christmas lights switch-on goes off with a bang

Posted on Tuesday 18th December 2018 at 8:16 pm by SH (Editor)

Fireworks display at the Willow Brook Centre's Christmas Lights Switch-On event.

Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook shopping centre got the festive season off to a bright start on the evening of Friday 16th November with a programme of entertainment in the town square rounded off by a spectacular fireworks display.

Photo of a fire juggler.

A packed crowd enjoyed performances by Britain’s Got Talent finalist Andrew Bourn, who sang a selection of Christmas songs, and fire jugglers Loz and Marky who wowed the crowds with their daredevil act which included fire eating and firecracker whips.

Children enjoyed fairground rides and a giant inflatable slide set up in the bus stop corner of the square while food and drink stalls did brisk business throughout the two-and-a-half hour programme.

The culmination of the evening was the switching on of the centre’s Christmas lights, which occurred simultaneously with the start of a five-minute fireworks display launched from the roof of the centre.

More photographs from the event, including some great shots taken from a drone circling above the centre, may be viewed on the Willow Brook Centre’s page on Facebook.

Just a few of the comments left on the BSJ Facebook page:

  • “Brilliant, thanks to the Willow Brook and BSR for a fab Christmas lights switch-on”
  • “Kids loved it; brilliant night”
  • “Definitely best one yet! Fireworks were a brilliant addition!”

More photos from the event »

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Firework spectacular to round off Willow Brook Christmas lights switch-on event

Posted on Monday 12th November 2018 at 11:45 pm by SH (Editor)

Christmas Lights Switch-on Event at the Willow Brook Centre in 2015.

New Friday evening spot for popular festive function.

The official start of Christmas festivities at Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook shopping centre will be celebrated with a spectacular firework display on Friday 16th November.

This year’s seasonal lights switch-on is set to be nothing short of sensational, with live music from Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) finalists, fire jugglers and more.

The town square will start to come alive around 5pm with music being played by Bradley Stoke Radio.

Centre manager Andy Wynn, said:

“We’ve got a build-up of music and entertainment for more than two-and-a-half hours before the official Christmas lights switch-on at 7.30pm. We’re extremely excited about all the events we have planned for the evening. This will definitely be a night not to miss!”

Born to Swing, who reached the final of BGT in 2014, will take to the stage with live performances at 5.30pm and 6.45pm. Meanwhile, at 6.15pm, fire jugglers Loz and Marky will wow the crowds with their daredevil act.

The big lights switch-on will take place at 7.30pm and will be followed by a firework display high in the Bradley Stoke sky.

Andy said:

“We’re always trying to think of ways to make the start of the Christmas season a fun, family time to bring the whole community together, so we’re delighted to have a whole evening of entertainment planned.”

More: Christmas Craft Fayre on 24th/25th November »

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Summer set to return to Willow Brook Centre

Posted on Thursday 1st November 2018 at 4:05 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of beach and flying umbrellas in the town square.

Beach lovers will be delighted with the news that Bradley Stoke will welcome back sand, smiles and deckchairs next summer.

Whilst the Willow Brook Centre can’t promise the return of the ‘summer of sunshine’, it will be reinstating its very own beach in the summer of 2019.

Thousands of visitors to the shopping centre relaxed, played and enjoyed the artificial beach that took pride of place in the town square.

Centre manager Andy Wynn said:

“We shipped in around 38 tonnes of sand, as well as dozens of deckchairs and a giant parasol to keep the little ones cool in the scorching weather.”

“It was a huge success and a real focal point for visitors who would stop and spend time in the town square. It was so popular that we knew we’d have to bring it back next summer.”

Hundreds of photos of the beach, and the dozens of suspended umbrellas that hung overhead, were posted online.

More than 1,000 people entered various competitions to win prizes at the Willow Brook Centre, by including the popular hashtag #summeratwillowbrook on social media posts.

Andy added:

“We wanted to encourage people to share their summer of fun with us and a photo competition was a great way to get everyone doing that.”

During the nine weeks of its summer promotion, the Willow Brook Centre saw visitors increase by seven percent, which is impressive as the number of people paying a visit rarely fluctuates to that extent.

Of course, the star of the summer was the Willow Brook Centre’s very own Swallows and Amazons themed Gromit sculpture, which took pride of place helping to raise money for charity.

It was the first time the centre had been involved in the award-winning arts trails from Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital charity which supports sick children, babies and their families.

More than £1,000 was raised in donations and sales for the appeal during Gromit’s stay at Willow Brook.

More: Centre also worked on Wallace and Gromit project with schools »

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Milestone reached as Willow Brook turns ten!

Posted on Saturday 13th October 2018 at 12:21 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of mayor Robert Jones cutting a ribbon, surrounded by a crowd of onlookers.

As our ‘new town centre’ reaches the tenth anniversary of its opening (today, 13th October), centre manager Andy Wynn reflects on its first decade…Andy Wynn, manager of the Willow Brook Centre.

I think that, on the whole, the local community can be proud of the effect Willow Brook has driven over the last ten years. Whether it is the thousands of people who have, at some point, worked on site, or the awards and accreditations that the team have worked so hard to achieve; or the close working relationship we have developed with local organisations ranging from the local police beat team to Olympus Academy Trust; or from Bradley Stoke Journal to the local hotels that benefit the wider community beyond each of our businesses.

The team here, led by myself for the last four years and Scott Lahive before me, have really placed Willow Brook at the heart of the community, and we are really proud be there. As the centre has matured, we have been able to use our position to promote wider benefits to the community. The jewel in the crown of our community work is the Stars of the Stokes Awards, which have been more successful than we could have imagined when I first began making calls to try and secure sponsorship for our idea three years ago.

Ultimately, and particularly in times of pressure for retail across the UK, I believe that community shopping centres like Willow Brook should operate as more than just somewhere to grab a pint of milk and a coffee. Our kind of centre does not have the budgets of large town or regional centres to blow customers out of the water with money thrown at every aspect of their experience. Centres like Willow Brook exist at the focal point of the community and, in my view, have a duty to act in the interests of the community, both inside and outside their walls, wherever possible.

More: Centre’s ethos is to create a "culture of community" »

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