Truro’s Floral Splendour

I have had the pleasure of a three hundred and sixty degree tour of Truro in all its floral splendour.  Truro in Bloom planted its roots in 1974, promoting the objectives of the national Britain in Bloom campaign, with the aim of enhancing the beauty of Truro and its immediate environment by encouraging businesses and residents to make their premises look beautiful with floral displays, which makes an attractive city.   Truro in Bloom created and opportunity for schools, businesses and communities to pull together to make Truro shine.  The sense of pride and cohesiveness made me feel proud of Truro.

On July the 19th I accompanied a representative from Truro City Council, Parks Department, Liam Shoesmith and Leslie Lawson-Kinross, a Truro in Bloom volunteer for the South West in Bloom judging day.  Together we chaperoned the judges around Truro.  South West in Bloom is one of the eighteen regional/national competitions that makes up the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom.  The goal is to improve our local environments and neighbourhoods through plants and keeping the vandalism, graffiti and litter at bay.  We walked around Truro, with Liam explaining the plants chosen to suit the environment of Truro with shady and lighter areas.  I explained to the judges about our city centre signage scheme and about our various events such as Children’s Day and Christmas lighting.   At various points throughout the city the judges met volunteers from Truro in Bloom. The street furniture, bollards, posts and drainpipes all had a spruce up for the competition.

One of the Truro BIDs objectives is to help enhance the beauty of the City with funded floral hanging baskets each summer and the aim for our third term, is to explore permanent planting such as trees and wildlife havens for the city centre.

Then, on the 1st of August I judged the shop window display competitions with Leslie and Peggy from Truro in Bloom.  From previous years competitions Truro is of a certain level and classed as National Finalists in the RHS Britain in Bloom Competition.  The Rhoda Mary on Trafalgar roundabout is a beautiful eye catching green display and the theme given to the businesses for their window displays was ‘nautical’.   The Mary Rhoda was built in 1868 at Point and originally made of English oak, Grey elm and Baltic red pine.  She was built incredibly well and her life ended in 1925  when she was decommissioned.  Newham is now home to the Rhoda Mary project and this is an exciting new initiative to rescue, rebuild and operate the famous West Country schooner Rhoda Mary.

It was wonderful to see so many businesses participate in the shop window display competition – with so much effort put in.   As judges, we looked for fresh flowers and the connection with the overall theme.  No.22 came first, followed by Lily’s of Truro and Malletts Home Hardware came third.  Highly commended included Cloisters, Oggy Oggy, the Tourist Information Centre, Uneeka, Trevails, Velvet Crystal, Klimek, Time Gone By, Mistral and Guild of Ten all received highlight commended.  No. 22 had an underwater scene with Dahlia’s as sea anemones and jellyfish!  I particularly enjoyed the suspended sail boats of Uneeka with their floral sails.

In the charity category, Cancer Research were first, British Heart Foundation came second and third was CLIC sargent.  Highly commended was Oxfam, Cornwall Animal Hospital and Children’s Hospice South West.   Nickys Flowers received an honoury award and all three florists in Truro, including Celtic Flowers and Rosewood the Truro Florist all offered discount to businesses so that fresh flowers could be displayed.

Finally on the 4th of August, the judges Kim Parish and Nigel Bishop came to judge the National Britain in Bloom competition.  Everything stepped up a gear, with Liam and Leslie whisking the judges on the route in double quick time to try to show them the best our City has to offer.  Bambu café owner, Sarah stepped out to briefly greet the judges on their tour.  Finally we all met at Trennick Mill for lunch with the judges, Truro City Parks Team, Biffa team, Truro in Bloom, John Tamblyn the Mayor and Lionel Knight, The Town Crier and many more.  Truro competes against several other places in the Large Town catergory including;  Altrincham – North West, Ballymena – Northern Ireland, Belper – East Midlands, Chesham – Thames & Chilterns, Farnham – South East, Kendal – Cumbria.  We hope Truro will do well and we will find out the results in October.

Signage and Clutch purse

I loved engaging with the judges and telling them about what the Truro BID does and little interesting nuggets of information about our ‘Great Little City’.


Children’s Fun Day Easter 2017

During the Easter holidays the Truro BID arranged a Children’s Fun Day on Saturday the 8th of April.  The event was mainly instore offers and promotions, who provided their own entertainment and offers.  More than twenty businesses participated and the weather was perfect!  Situated on Lemon Quay, next to Truro’s Farmers Market was The Entertainer, Malletts Home Hardware, Hawkins Bazaar and Sublime Boutique.


The Raymonds scattered their rides around Truro with the assault course on Lemon Quay and the music box, along with the chair swing ride in High Cross and the swinging boats in Victoria Square.

Jumping Out Duo performed in secondary locations in Truro and created some beautiful music.  Whilst Swamp Circus provided a talented juggler and diablo artist, as well as an elegant stilt walker.

There were meal deals, discounts, toy offers, lucky dip, face painting, helium balloons and bath bomb making sessions.  Not to mention the henna art, free give aways and toys.  The children had a great day and we hope to continue this event annually and build upon it year on year. Thank you to all who made an effort. Truro is our great little City!


Truro Businesses First Aid Training

On the 8th of March Totally Truro, the City’s Business Improvement District (BID) arranged for the businesses of Truro to have some basic first aid training, to enable them to recognise and use a defibrillator.  Cornwall Resus is part of the Truro Safe initiative and they facilitated the training.

Truro Safe is a partnership set up to respond to the need to improve safety in the evening and at night time within the city. It aims to make sure that anyone who visits Truro city centre on a Saturday evening will be looked after, if they find themselves in a vulnerable position. The street teams within Truro Safe each have their own specialisms, skills and training but work closely together to provide people with the best level of support to deal with various situations.

Alun Jones, the Truro BID Manager explained that Truro now holds more than twenty defibrillators, however many people do not know what one looks like or have the confidence in using one.

The three training sessions arranged were well attended.  Businesses who came along included employees from Seasalt, Saltrock, Tesco, Merchant House, Bang & Olufsen, New Look, Argos, Debenhams, Truro City Council, Cornish Mutual, Marks and Spencer, Primark, Weird Fish, Illustrated Living, Hendra’s and Hendra’s Hair and Beauty.

Tabitha Fergus and Amanda Seaton, qualified trainers from Cornwall Resus gave the Truro businesses an opportunity to recognise if a person is unconscious, how to administer CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and how to use a defibrillator.  Also, we had a brief look into the difference between coughing and choking and how to dislodge an object blocking the air way.

We were able to practice all the First Aid Steps – assessing the situation, checking if the patient is awake and breathing, telling someone to call an ambulance, locating a defibrillator and quickly applying CPR. Often the defibrillators are locked with a code, and by calling 999, you not only alert the paramedics, but also the access code to unlock and use the defibrillator.  In taking control of the situation you need to be assertive in giving instructions to others who are in the scene.

In applying CPR, we were taken through the steps of tilting the head back, chin open and applying thirty compression’s on the chest, followed by two breaths into the mouth, whilst holding the nose and seeing the chest expand with oxygen.  In practicing on the CPR models, you can appreciate the strength involved in applying CPR, let alone the adrenaline pumping round your body.  Tabitha elaborated that CPR can be quite strenuous and the quality of compression’s is essential in getting oxygen to the brain, to avoid brain damage.

We then had the opportunity to use a simulation defibrillator in following the instructions in exposing the chest, applying the pads in the correct location and staying clear for the shock to be applied.

We ascertained that coughing is different to choking. Tabitha explained that if no air is coming in or out – then that is choking.  We practiced on the model with five firm blows to the back, followed by five inwards and upward thrusts to the stomach.  Usually this method is effective in dislodging the item making the person choke, however if the person is still unable to breathe and loses conciseness, then CPR must be applied and an ambulance called for.

A big thanks to Cornwall Resus for taking the Truro businesses through their paces on Wednesday, you did a great job.  The instructors were excellent. Cornwall Resus is a lifesaving training and event first aid company.  They offer first aid training and all of their courses are taught by fully qualified trainers with extensive paediatric nursing experience.  They would like everyone to have the knowledge and confidence to be able to save a life.  If your business or organisation in Truro would like to receive first aid training, then please contact Cornwall Resus on 07503 834185 or email

Truro is fortunate to have quite few defibrillators if you would like to know where they are located, have a look at the list here.



The Plaza’s 5th Screen

The Plaza Cinema in Truro is a unique asset to our great little city.  This year the Plaza are celebrating their 80th anniversary and to mark this special birthday they have launched the 5th screen called ‘The Lemon Suite’.  The management welcomed the guests and the new screen was warmly received.

The 5th screen was constructed in just 29.5 working days and the project originally started in 1996.  The screen is fitted with a Barco DP2K-6E projector, Datasat AP-20 cinema processor handling sound and automation.  Dolby 5.1 Dirac theatre optimisation surround sound.  DVD & bluray playback including DTS surround sound.

Blend 71 provided the delicious canapés and we were welcomed with drinks from the fresh and well lit bar.  The seats were comfortable and the air conditioning perfect to enjoy our experience of the new screen.  Brett Harvey had compiled a clip for The Plaza and this was great to see the history and the images.  We then saw the latest previews (Bridgette Jones’s Baby, Finding Dory and  Jason Bourne) and I felt compelled that I needed to come back soon and watch a full movie.  Going to the cinema is a great way of relaxing and escaping to immerse yourself into the world of cinema.

Rob Nolan, Truro Mayor had the honour of launching the 5th screen.  He enjoyed the occasion thoroughly!

The Lemon Suite also caters for small conferences and can accommodate 55 seats.  If you would like to book this venue for a special occasion or for a conference, then please email the Plaza, Truro at

The Changing Face of Retailing in Truro

My first real experience in the retail trade was as a ‘Saturday boy’ in Debenhams of Northampton in 1977. I worked on the menswear department selling jeans – there were two sometimes three of us looking after one free-standing rail, about twelve feet of wall space holding nothing but different brands and styles of jeans and a single dressing room. Today you can buy jeans for under a tenner – less than the price I was selling them for almost forty years ago. Today you can go into large retail stores in Truro and find less staff in the store than were manning that small jeans department.

Victoria Square Bunting

What does this mean, what are the implications for retailers, how on earth can they make a profit these days? Aside from the obvious implications for the people who make the jeans and the costs and impacts of transporting them, the profit margin per item is tiny, meaning that they have to sell more units and squeeze every penny of their costs.

This doesn’t just apply to jeans of course but to all areas of retailing and, for me, the ‘demand’ for lower prices has been the single biggest change for retailers not just in Truro but everywhere – far greater than the ‘threat of online shopping’.

Truro has always been at the centre for retail in Cornwall – from its days as a stannary town, through to the days of independent department stores with the likes of Roberts and Malletts Home Hardware et al and to the current days which sees a strong mix of both independent and multiple chain stores.

We have low retail vacancy rates in Truro but also a high turnover of shops – this demonstrates both a high demand for retail space in the city but also a high level of failed businesses, which goes back to my jeans story – the streets of Truro are not paved with gold; the rents, rates and transport costs are high and there is plenty of competition. Truro is circled by any number of retail-led out-of-town development schemes which rattles the investment market – why open a new shop in the city centre with its costs, access and often restrictions on available space and complex buildings when you can open in an off-the-shelf unit on an ‘any-town’ retail development on one of the main approach roads? I’ll tell you why – because for me there is a magic formula for retail. It’s not easy but it means that you must get all aspects of product, service and environment right. Layer on top your communications strategy – this is where online comes in by offering superb ways of communicating with your customers – and you are set to achieve the differentiator, the essence that sets Truro apart from other towns or the soulless transactional worlds of Amazon or e-bay  – it is the retail experience you can enjoy in Truro.

Last week saw the opening of a Waitrose supermarket on the outskirts of Truro. As far as supermarkets go, it’s a good one. But for every penny spent there, it’s a penny lost from elsewhere – nobody is eating more food as a result of their opening, and it’s in the wrong place too. Back to the Truro experience though – we have a thriving Co-op in the heart of Truro. We have great fresh produce available from the likes of The Cornish Food Box, Thornes, Archie Browns and the Pannier and Truro Farmers Market – all delivered with a smile, a bit of banter and a known face. One of the real risks posed by supermarkets though is in their non-food offer – just look at how heavily Waitrose are promoting their John Lewis ‘click and collect’ service as part of their opening marketing campaign. This is a real threat and one that many of Truro’s businesses are already wise to as they integrate their online with their more traditional off-line business (have a look at The Uneeka website for a great example).

New Primark Store

With Primark due to open in Truro this autumn, what will that do for the city’s retail offer? In the first instance, I can think of no other brand that will attract more new customers into Truro than Primark. But the impact that this store will have on existing retailers, on the transport and parking infrastructures of Truro remains to be seen. Also, the sales volumes needed to generate sufficient revenues (back to the jeans again) will see a fleet of delivery vehicles servicing the store.

So to the future of retailing in Truro – what will it hold? No one really knows for sure but certainly the successful traders will be those that deliver excellence in the areas of product, service and environment and who fully embrace the online opportunities to communicate (not just to sell) with their customers. We may see further famous names following in the footsteps of Woolworths, BHS and Austin Reed and leaving holes in the high street but hopefully the holes that they leave will be seen as more attractive than out-of-town sites. I can foresee the growth in niche nationals building on Truro’s legacy of hosting such names as Apple (Stormfront), The White Company, L’occitane and Steamer Cookware and, in parallel, the growth in niche independents building on such names as Inhabit, Illustrated Living, Magpie & Fox and Uneeka. Then, in the hybrid area, I can see more ‘nationals acting like locals’ – Waterstone’s being the perfect current example – a national brand that acts like your local favourite bookshop.

Provided that collectively, Truro keeps itself clean, safe and welcoming and offers quality, choice and great value with the odd surprise then it’s retail future looks far stronger than most.

NEILL SCOTT, Truro BID Manager

Roarrrrrr – Dinosaur Zoo came to Truro!

The Hall for Cornwall offers visitors an opportunity to come into Truro and enjoy a fabulous performance.  I took my five year old to see the dinosaurs that ‘live’ at the Hall for Cornwall…….  We also made sure we had a quick ice cream from Angelato on Pydar street too!

What a delight to inspire youngsters to be passionate and interested in dinosaurs and perhaps become a Paleontologist!  Or encourage a child to find out something new and try exploring a past era.

Dinosaurs (2)

We saw a baby Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Diplodocus, several huge dragonflies called Meganeuropsis permiana, an Australovenator  (a recent discovery in Australia) and a few others that I cannot remember their names!  Dinosaur Zoo brought these awesome prehistoric creatures to the stage and allowed the children to engage and interact with the Zoo Dinosaur keeper!

Dinosaurs (1)

The children really did marvel and interact with these extraordinary life-like dinosaurs in this imaginative live show.  The stage was set with some dinosaur plants that looked like gigantic asparagus.  Some of the hungry reptiles did seem quite hungry and there were some very brave children indeed!

Dinosaurs (3)

Children watched wide-eyed from a safe distance and some did get right up close to the creatures in the danger zone.  The sound effects and the mastery of the puppeteers, as well as how real they look – is a true credit to the show.  Afterwards, the dinosaurs were brought outside onto Lemon Quay, where the children got to see them.




Get Active Truro – warm up!

On Wednesday the 1st of  June during the half term week we headed into Truro.  Get Active Truro held a short two day event – a burst of activity in Truro for you to discover something active and fun.

GAT day out (1)

Get Active Truro is part of the wider initiative – Get Active Cornwall, organised through Cornwall Sports Partnership and supported by Totally Truro, the Truro Business Improvement District.  The event linked into the national campaign ‘This Girl Can‘ developed by Sport England and a wide range of partnership organisations. A celebration of active women up and down the country who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets.  Its aimed at us all and encourages us to do fitness and the benefits we feel from it.  Get Active Truro is for everyone.

Whirlwind Sports did a great campaign offering 20% off during the two day event.  It was great to see them on board getting behind the #thisgirlcancampaign.  Whirlwind Sport have the latest clothing, shoes and equipment to choose from.

There were a host of different organisations and businesses giving out advice, demos and having fun, including : West Coast Clear, Belly Bolly Dance, Golf England, 4funxsake Youth Dance, Children’s Hospice, Cornwall Outdoors, Why Dance, Footsteps of Discovery, Truro Canoe Club, Cornwall BMX, Cornwall Womens and Girls Rugby, National Trust, Anytime Fitness, Koncept Gym, Stringers Gym, Intelligent Fitness, Bodeeworx, Heart FM, Tempus, Race for Life and Cornwall Yoga Centre.

My children particularly enjoyed the Footsteps of Discovery team who taught them how to make a fire.  These survival skills give us a sense of confidence, respect of nature, discipline and enjoyment.  We hope to visit them  in Grampound Road woods soon.

My eldest loved the music and dance fitness routines with pom poms!  It was great to see the quay buzzing, alongside the Truro Farmers Market.  People were shooting some hoops and trying out the inflatable kayaks.  Koncept Gym was there from Newquay and did you know that during the week day they offer free childcare for an hour while you do your workout at the gym or do a class.

After our visit on Lemon Quay and play with some of the hula hoops and weights, we had the essential merry go round ride, followed by lunch at Sonder Cafe Bar.  Mocktails all round, bunny chow with an assortment of ‘lite bites’ for the girls.

The next Get Active Truro is from the 15-19th August.  This will be the 6th year on Lemon Quay with plenty of FREE activities on offer!   ‘Get Active Truro’ promises something for everyone and you don’t need to be super sporty to join in; it is about getting active but also having fun… and all the events are free! Make sure to use the hashtag #getactivetruro