Following the success of its Free Food Parcel scheme, which delivered food packages free of charge to local residents in need during the initial lockdown, Kings Mall Shopping Centre (London, UK) and Hammersmith Business Improvement District (BID) expanded their partnership to host Free Touring Kerbside Entertainment. Described as the next stage of a community-focused response to COVID-19, this program tackled the nation-wide lack of access to arts and culture with its door-to-door service of live entertainment. With venues closed and shows on hold, the community has been denied the pleasure of film, theatre, music, dance, poetry, and art. As a result, the team organized free live entertainment not only on the streets and in the public areas of Hammersmith, but on residents’ doorsteps.

Since the impact of COVID-19 has been equally challenging for both residents and performers, throughout August and early September, the team worked with artists and companies such as the English Touring Opera, H&F ArtsFest, and DanceWest to bring life and energy back into its area twice a week. Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, participating artists and performers made a number of separate visits during each session. From communal gardens and public squares to office foyers and housing association blocks, this service caused smiles, laughs, and tears. Supported by e-cargobikes as its transport partner, Touring Kerbside Entertainment prioritized offering engagement and promoting sustainability. Using the same entry process as for Free Food Parcel, recipients requested a performance via a dedicated online form and those selected received e-mail confirmation to schedule a date and time. Following the selection process, the team devised appropriate itineraries according to the addresses and neighborhoods of registered residents. Each afternoon, the performers started and ended in a public space to ensure that a general audience experienced the same live entertainment.  

With the need to adhere to social distancing, the team was unable to organize the scope and level of outdoor performance that it had done in the past with events such as its Summer Festival. Therefore, Kings Mall and Hammersmith BID sourced entertainers that could be transported easily and avoided blocking pavements, impacting lines, and/or effecting traffic stops. Collaborating with a number of organizations that have a strong foothold within the West London entertainment district, the programming and promoting of Touring Kerbside Entertainment took place via e-mail, website, and social media. In addition to generating awareness via word of mouth from organizers, performers, and recipients, Hammersmith BID covered the activities on its own website through its news section. Requiring no spending, all advertising of this initiative consisted of earned media. In particular, an unprompted tweet by television and radio presenter, Tony Anstis for the initiative led to a great amount of engagement on social media.   

As an indicator of success, throughout the program’s duration, all available slots were either pre-booked or filled by those interested in taking part. For individuals and businesses unable to experience or attend a live performance, the team created a screen installation in Lyric Square, which provided an additional physical outlet for entertainment. Showing clips and scenes from Touring Kerbside Entertainment, the screen attracted shoppers, workers, visitors, and strolling families. 

“[Through Touring Kerbside Entertainment, we have continued positioning Hammersmith BID as a community resource as well as focusing on B2B. This would provide added value to our levy payers, as it would expand our marketing reach, raise our profile, and allow a new audience to engage with the BID’s market messaging],” noted Julia Gosling, head of marketing and events for Hammersmith BID. 

“[Many of our levy payers rely on footfall in the town center so our engaging more closely with the community would serve as a long-term advantage for them. We already have a B2C tool, the Privilege Card, and this initiative has built toward the success of the loyalty program].” 

More than seeking to achieve conversion into retail sales or new shoppers, this collaboration aimed to build a sense of community and improve wellbeing. As evidenced by its Made in H&F (Hammersmith & Fulham) pop-up boutique, Kings Mall constantly strives to foster “a deep current of creativity” and provides a marketplace for local artists, makers, creators, and craftspeople to display and sell their creations. A dedicated space to showcase art, jewelry, accessories, bags, cards, urban wear, and upcycled furniture, Made in H&F is a popular stop among shoppers in search of a special gift.

Described as “being based on the ground” in Hammersmith, it’s believed that the BID is able to connect with its community in a way that can’t be done only digitally. Supported by Parcels not Pollution, its zero-emission delivery service, the BID intends to continue working on the ground and in the community. Next on the list: Implementing its Parcels to Home program to assist residents and businesses throughout the second lockdown and beyond. 


Free Food Parcel:

  • Executed in partnership with Kings Mall and Sainsbury’s throughout the month of July
  • Delivered by Parcels not Pollution within the borough on a “first come, first serve” basis
  • Essentials available: Milk (1.000 pints), bread (500 loaves), fresh produce, and eggs (3,000)
  • In total, 500 basic food parcels were delivered directly to local residents’ homes across the borough

Parcels to Home:

  • This new seasonal program will feature an assisted shopping service and a click-and-collect service to serve both residents and businesses throughout the holiday season
  • Delivered by Parcels not Pollution within the borough free of charge for residents or business owners who would like to deliver direct to their friends/ family or customers, respectively 
  • As part of its Shop Local Shop Safe campaign, Parcels to Home is an exclusive service for Privilege Card members 
  • Dates for this program: November 16 through December 25

(Source: Hammersmith BID.)