Jo Coburn, General Manager at Victoria Leeds, today explained her role at the destination, her passion for working with the community, and its latest bold campaign, Love Wins - the chance to win a wedding conducted by TV's Anna Richardson celebrating Leeds Pride.
For full details and how to enter the competition see below. But hurry. The deadline is Sunday, July 14, at 11:59pm.
Jo has been in her role, which incorporates Victoria Gate and the historic Victoria Quarter, for just over a year. She moved to Hammerson, which owns the destination, after working for six years at MacArthur Glen and 15 years at House of Fraser.
Retail has changed a lot during Jo’s career; today, consumers have more choice than they ever have before, both in terms of where to shop, and how they do it. In that context, retailers and landlords alike have to work hard to engage and excite shoppers, to earn their loyalty.
For Jo, the key lies in delivering a consistently high customer service, creating unique and memorable experiences, and maintaining a strong relationship with the local community.
Jo said: “At Victoria Leeds, what sets us apart is our commitment to delivering the best possible experience for our customers, and the active role we play in the local community. We’re not just a place local people come to shop, we deliver experiences, and are a destination where friends and families meet, eat and create memories.”
“We know how important supporting our local community is to our continued success. We have a structured charity programme, implemented through our Positive Places strategy, and every year we nominate two local groups as our charity partners. Over the past 12 months Victoria Leeds has supported Bone Cancer Research Trust and Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Each charity received a £2,500 bursary which was topped up by employee fundraising”.
Hammerson supports dozens of cultural, educational, business and community initiatives in Yorkshire, including cultural partnerships like its work with Opera North’s Access to Opera programme and the West Yorkshire Archaeological Services Artist in Residence exhibition. It also supports business and enterprise initiatives, such as via its annual Pop-Up Business School, which encourages local start-ups.
Jo continued: “We’re committed to playing our part in the local community, and to creating lasting relationships with local people, whether that’s by providing space in our premises for charities and community groups, sharing our staff’s expertise, or simply devoting our time to a good cause.”
One event that the business is particularly passionate about is Leeds Pride. In previous years, the destination has hosted the Leeds Pride photography exhibition, housed a Pride community mural, and installed a rainbow pedestrian crossing on Vicar Lane.
To celebrate this year’s Pride event, which comes to the city on Sunday, August 4, Victoria Leeds has launched its biggest ever competition, Love Wins, which will give one lucky couple the chance to win a fully-paid for wedding.
Jo said: “This year we wanted to go all out for Pride…and what’s bigger than a wedding? We shared the idea with our retailers and have been overwhelmed by the response. Everyone was so keen to get involved, and they have been really generous; it’s going to be a fantastic event.”
“We’ve put together an incredible wedding package, including champagne, outfits for the happy couple, and much, much more. There’s still lots of elements to announce, which we can’t wait to share with you all yet; it’s going to be a truly unique, money-can’t-buy experience.”
One aspect of the ceremony which will really set it apart is its host – TV presenter Anna Richardson. Anna is known for presenting lifestyle and dating shows for Channel 4, such as Naked Attraction and The Sex Education Show. She spent her teenage years in Leeds, where her father was a local vicar, and she has a real passion for the city and great memories of Victoria Arcade.
Jo said: “We are so excited to have Anna on board for the ceremony, I’m sure her involvement will make it extra special. She is a huge advocate for LGBTQ rights and the perfect person to host this incredible event.”
Couples have until the end of the week to enter the Love Wins competition . To enter, simply download the Victoria Leeds PLUS App, register and explain in 150 words or less why you think you are the perfect couple for this fantastic prize.
Entries close on Sunday, July 14, at 11:59pm.
For further information please visit www.victorialeeds.co.uk/plus.