Back the Bid Campaign
On Tuesday May 11th, we launched our Back The Bid campaign, to ensure Aberdeen Inspired can continue to provide much-needed support for the city centre businesses and wider North-east. As with other Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) around Scotland, Aberdeen Inspired must ballot the businesses within its jurisdiction every five years.

The ballot opened on Thursday May 13th and levy payers are urged to support the BIDs work by completing and returning their voting slip by 24th June.

Although we find ourselves seeking a positive vote at a time when every business is both financially and operationally challenged we firmly believe a positive vote will provide city centre businesses with a strong, unified and leading voice, with local and national partners, and government bodies to ensure we deliver the strategic ambitions for our city.

If the June 24th ballot is successful, we will be able to continue working on behalf of local shops, bars, restaurants, property owners, landlords, shopping centres, commercial sector and all other city centre businesses until at least 2026.

Supported by leading North-east businesses we hope to continue to deliver award-winning and transformative work for the city on behalf of all city centre businesses which is focused on revitalising and regenerating our city centre making it a place where people continue to enjoy coming to work, stay and play in.

We received great coverage on the launch in both national and local press and media, alongside news on the City Centre Masterplan and plans for Aberdeen City Council to purchase the former Aberdeen Market and BHS store on Union Street, all projects which will help revitalise the city centre.

If you haven't yet received your voting slip, please contact the team at

Read the coverage in the Evening Express.

Nuart set to return in June 2021
Nuart Aberdeen is back this summer, and we're bringing back a festival favourite Helen Bur!

Nuart Aberdeen 2021 will run throughout June and July with artists producing work over an extended festival period. These plans will ensure that the event can return safely and be COVID secure, working with a streamlined team of local producers, partners and volunteers to facilitate the production.

The first artist to be announced as part of the line-up is renowned UK artist, Helen Bur, whose dual mural disappeared as part of the demolition of Greyfriars House on Aberdeen’s Gallowgate in late 2020. Her return to the city will see her explore the festival’s theme of “Memory and the City” as she takes on a prominent city centre wall. Wielding brush, roller and masonry paint to create larger-than-life works on walls, Bur’s work can be found across the world including in Germany, Spain, Norway and India.
The city walls set to be transformed by Nuart artists this summer have also been unveiled and include two at the Unite Students building in Spring Gardens, then one each at the Aberdeen Community Health and Care Village on Frederick Street; Union Square’s Guild Square frontage, and The Meridian on Union Row.

We at Aberdeen Inspired are delighted to bring Nuart Aberdeen back to the city centre this summer for its fourth installation, and we can't wait to see the public back out discovering new works of street art in the heart of our city!

Read more about Nuart Aberdeen 2021 here and plan a route to explore works from previous festivals by using this digital map.

City business and cultural leaders pledge support Back the Bid Campaign
Leading figures in Aberdeen’s business and cultural sectors have thrown their weight behind Aberdeen Inspired’s Back the BID campaign, urging city centre businesses to vote in favour of retaining the Business Improvement District.

Martin Gilbert, former CEO of Aberdeen Standard Investments, was the first business leader to add his voice to the campaign, saying the importance of the city centre “cannot be underestimated” and that retaining the BID is vital to support the future success of the city and its people.

“We cannot underestimate the importance that Aberdeen city centre holds to the wider city and region,” he said. “It provides employment for many thousands and its state of health is often taken as a measure of the wider north-east economic well-being.

“As a proud Aberdonian, I naturally want to see our city centre thrive, but this will require even more of a focus by the private and public sectors to effectively work together through the demanding period that lies ahead. 

“Aberdeen Inspired has already demonstrated the value it brings to the heart of our city and moving forward it has a crucial role in bringing about the required change.”

The top voices at two cultural venues in Aberdeen’s city centre have also added their support to the campaign, praising Aberdeen Inspired’s work in helping to position the Granite City as a rich cultural centre.

Jane Spiers, chief executive of Aberdeen Performing Arts, and Colin Farquhar, head of cinema operations at the Belmont Filmhouse, added their support to the campaign, saying the Business Improvement District helps to bring “people to culture and culture to the people”.

Jane and her team at Aberdeen Performing Arts, which runs city arts venues His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen Music Hall and The Lemon Tree, work closely with the Aberdeen Inspired team to bring festivals such as Nuart to the city. The acclaimed international street art festival will return to Aberdeen next month. She said the continuation of the BID “would be a boost for the region’s cultural scene” and urged businesses to vote positively.

Colin Farquhar also praised Aberdeen Inspired’s partnership work in the arts, he said “The city centre is a diverse community of businesses, but we’ve always been impressed by Aberdeen Inspired’s openness to working with the cultural and night-time sectors, who have been so important to Aberdeen in the past but will be even more important in the future as we aim to take people back into the city.”

To read the full press releases outlining all the support so far click here.

2021 - 2026 Business Plan
Following a year of unprecedented challenges to public health and the economy, Aberdeen Inspired has remained a steadfastly vocal and unified force for the welfare and fortunes of our city centre.

As part of the ballot process, we have outlined our priorities and plans for the next five years in our Business Plan which was published in April.

These have been identified by businesses in the city centre through surveys and consultation. They build on the success of the last five years, during which Aberdeen Inspired has achieved some remarkable results, working collaboratively with levy payers and stakeholders to deliver initiatives which have had a tangible, valuable and lasting impact on our city centre and all who depend upon it.

Find out more about the business plan here.

Welcome Back Aberdeen
What a difference a week makes!

This week most of mainland Scotland has moved into protection level 2. We have welcomed back non-essential retail and hospitality, gyms and leisure complexes, visitor attractions, cinemas and much more and for the first time in many months people are now able to meet inside (and out) to enjoy food and drink in pubs, cafes and restaurants which can stay open until 10:30pm. Big sigh of relief!

Of course, there are still important rules and guidelines to follow such as the limit of six adults from three different households in indoor public places like a restaurant, pub or café and face coverings should be worn when moving around a public indoor space, but it’s so great to see people back in the heart of our city, meeting up, shopping, walking and chatting it makes life feel just that little bit more normal again.

We have been out and about taking photos, making reels and speaking to businesses across all sectors about what it means to them as they re-open, offering any help and guidance where we can and creating some ‘marketing magic’ around the city.

There is an overwhelming wish from all the businesses we spoke to in the city centre to welcome the public back safely so that they can enjoy the city and all it has to offer. Our fantastic city centre businesses need your support now, more than ever so we encourage you, if you can, to come in and say hello to these local businesses employing local people, after such a long period of closure, they have really missed their customers.

Remember to respect each other, be patient and kind and follow the FACTS guidance.

Check out some of our #WelcomeBackAbdn posts on our Instagram.

Suspended signage scheme is given the green light
A scheme of suspended signage in Aberdeen City centre took an important step forward in early April by securing approval from Aberdeen City Council's planning department to proceed.
Work has started and two contractors have been appointed to manufacture and install the new signs at twelve locations by September 2021.

Brought about as a direct result of lobbying by Aberdeen Inspired, funding for the city totalling £1.6 million was granted in late 2019 by the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund which was established to support projects that encourage town and city centres to thrive. Aberdeen Inspired was instrumental in securing this funding for the city through its unique position within the Scottish City BIDs organisation.
Of the funds granted to the city, £480K was awarded to Aberdeen Inspired of which £400K was allocated to developing a new Suspended Signage Scheme for Aberdeen City Centre.

Commenting on the project Adrian Watson, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Inspired said “This £400k investment will see new suspended signs delivered at twelve locations in the city centre, enhancing the streetscape and providing fresh signage which will help people navigate both daytime and nigh-time economies. I am sure the investment will be welcomed by all as we continue to work closely with our partners in the council to regenerate our great city.”
“We have engaged at length with businesses throughout the city centre on the suspended signage plans and have received overwhelmingly positive feedback and support for its installation"

Welcoming the news, Council Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing, said: “At a time when all efforts are being made to safely welcome visitors back to the city centre, it is incredibly welcome news that the suspended signage project is on track for completion later this year. Recent engagement with businesses has highlighted the need to continue to make the city centre a welcoming place for visitors and the new suspended signage will help people to explore different parts of the city centre as we continue to work towards recovering from the impact of the pandemic.”

Ewan Mclean, General Manger at The Spiritualist in Aberdeen eagerly awaits the installation of the new signage and welcomed the engagement and progress made by Aberdeen Inspired, commenting “The signs will provide a sense of place and help define the individual areas and their unique offerings as well as making the city more welcoming for the influx of people we hope to see return to our city centre’s many excellent bars and pubs as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Read more here.

Business Rates Relief application 2021-2022
Aberdeen Inspired are supportive and excited by the Aberdeen City Council plan to transform the former BHS site at the east end of Union Street into a contemporary permanent market. As part of the City Centre Master Plan, this would make the area a ‘destination space’ for pop up’s, local traders and social gatherings and it is hoped it could serve as a business incubator, allowing fledgling firms space to grow.
These ambitious plans would transform an area which is strategically so important as a key link route between Union Square Aberdeen and Union Street at the heart of our city. Regeneration of the ambition shown here would breathe new life and opportunities back into this much loved area of our city centre.

There will no doubt be many challenges ahead to make this happen but we will do all we can to support this development and move at speed to help turn these plans into reality.

Read more here.

Spending begins with the Aberdeen Gift Card

Now that restrictions have begun to ease, customers have had their first chance to use their Aberdeen Gift Cards many of which will have been given as Christmas gift in December!

With over 160 businesses in Aberdeen City already signed up, the Aberdeen Gift Card is delivering a much needed boost directly back into local economy. Looking at the first few weeks in May alone retailers are (unsurprisingly given the appetite for visiting the shops) among some of the most popular places customers are using their gift cards. Our top ten places to spend so far are M & S, Primark, Next , Waterstone’s, Amarone, Boots, Café Andalux, Costa Coffee, James Dun’s House and Costwolds Outdoor.

Our Aberdeen Gift Card team have prepared some useful materials to help you remind your teams about how to process the Aberdeen Gift Card, including a handy till point guide.

If your business is opening soon and you have not yet heard from our team - or if you would be interested in getting involved with the Aberdeen Gift Card - please contact us directly by emailing

And find out more about the Aberdeen Gift Card here.

New indoor market set to open on Friday 4 June on lower level of Bon Accord

Aberdeen Inspired’s successful Christmas Market held in Bon Accord last year has provided the motivation local charity Charlie House and Bon Accord to team up and bring a permanent new weekend market to the city centre.

Named ‘Curated Aberdeen’ the market will be located in the lower mall of the Bon Accord, and will be home to around 30 stallholders with stallholder fees going directly to the charity. The market will be open Friday - Sunday every week from 4 June.

Speaking at the launch of the new venture Adrian Watson said “Our Christmas markets have always proved popular with both stall holders and the public alike, with the most recent one attracting footfall of over 5,000 every weekend."
“It’s important to offer a mix of retail opportunities for customers to enjoy and the Curated Aberdeen market will give locals and visitors another good reason to come and shop in the city centre."
“It’s great to see prime retail space being used like this, allowing smaller retailers or those from out of town the opportunity to have a presence in the city centre."

Funds raised from ‘Curated Aberdeen’ will go directly to Charlie House and enable the charity to continue its work to support people in the NE of Scotland.

Stall enquiries should be emailed to -

Aberdeen International Comedy Festival 2021

From Fringe favourites to stand out headliners Aberdeen's the funniest place to be every October. Now that restrictions have begun to ease, why not book some tickets for Aberdeen International Comedy Festival?

This year we have acts such as Jon Richardson, Daniel Sloss and Jack Dee, we have something for everyone with more great acts to be added soon.

Keep an eye on our website and on our social channels for up to date news on our acts which are added to the line-up frequently….stay tuned comedy fans!

Check out whats on here.

Aberdeen Inspired
The period since lockdown in March last year has been exceptionally difficult for Aberdeen City Centre. Aberdeen Inspired works hard to be the positive and strong voice for our city centre at a time when it is most needed. We not only deliver on the ground but strategically influence at a local, national and international level for the best interests of our city.

As we head towards BID ballot later this year we would be delighted to hear from you on what you would like us to prioritise in the next five years. Our CEO Adrian Watson appreciates your continued support and would welcome any feedback to bring our city centre forward. He is always available to meet one to one with levy payers in support of this.