Aberdeen Football Club has signed up as a voluntary levy payer in support of Aberdeen Inspired’s work in the city centre and has called on other businesses outside the BID footprint to do the same.

In line with Scotland’s other BIDs, Aberdeen Inspired must ballot the businesses within the BID footprint including local shops, bars, restaurants, property owners, landlords and shopping centres every five years.

Pittodrie’s location near the beach means the Club is not eligible to vote in the BID’s current ballot, to ensure Aberdeen Inspired can continue working on behalf of city centre businesses until at least 2026.

However, to support city centre businesses financially impacted by COVID and recognise Aberdeen Inspired’s role in aiding recovery and reinvention, the club has chosen to make a voluntary contribution to the organisation.

Rob Wicks, commercial director at AFC, hopes that others will do the same.

“Aberdeen Football Club plays a major role in our region and the city centre is the beating heart of Aberdeen. We’re a huge fan of Aberdeen Inspired - whether it’s Nuart, Aberdeen Restaurant Week, the Comedy Festival or simply making the city centre safer and more welcoming, we think they’re doing a great job in supporting the diverse businesses which make our city culturally and culinary richer and more vibrant and appealing to residents and tourists.

“Many of the businesses which support the Club are based in the city centre and many of our fans are employed in those businesses which have been severely impacted by COVID-imposed restrictions. For these reasons, we are backing the BID.

“Pittodrie is outside the city centre boundary which means we’re not a levy-payer and have no vote so we’re showing our support by making a voluntary contribution. We hope that others will follow suit and, together, we can support our city centre when it needs us most,” he said.

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.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Aberdeen Football Club for this demonstration of support for our city centre at a time of unprecedented challenges.

“All the income from levy payments and additional funding such as voluntary payments like AFC’s go to support improvements and initiatives to bring people back into the city centre and encourage them to spend time and money in our shops, bars, restaurants and leisure facilities.”

The BID brought in an additional £2million in other funding in 2020, almost double what is collected by levy. An achievement that would not have been possible without Aberdeen Inspired, it means that for every £1 of levy collected, at least £2 is invested in the city centre.

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 June 24 to have their say while those looking to sign up as a voluntary levy payer can find out more on the Aberdeen Inspired website at www.aberdeeninspired.com