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Downtown Quarterly
Jan - Mar 2024

This year DIB celebrates its twenty-first anniversary, and we are determined to make 2024 a mega year for our partners, members, and supporters.

We have certainly hit the ground running in Q1 of this year. Here we review just some of the Downtown highlights.


It is hard to imagine a more spectacular place to kick off your New Year’s events programme than the House of Commons. DIB, business leaders, and decision-makers descended on the Palace of Westminster for a Parliamentary Reception that highlighted the economic potential of the great cities of Leeds and Manchester.

Among the speakers at the event were Shadow Ministers Jonny Reynolds, Lucy Powell, and Hillary Benn, and the leaders and CEOs from Leeds and Manchester, James Lewis, Bev Craig, Tom Riordon, and Joanne Roney. View the video from the event below. 

In February we hosted our annual ‘Talking ‘Bout Regeneration’ conference. This year the event focussed on developing strong private-public sector partnerships that deliver for places and communities.

An eclectic range of speakers included the chief executives from Newcastle, Wolverhampton, Leeds, and Manchester City Councils, executive Directors from Birmingham and Liverpool, plus the mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett, and the regional mayor for West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin. Delegates also enjoyed contributions from Phil Mayal (Muse), Jessica Bowles (Bruntwood SciTech), and the co-founder of Purple Bricks, now owner of Larne Football Club Kenny Bruce.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham was the guest at the pre-conference dinner.

March saw DIB mark international Women’s Day with our eleventh annual Women in Business Awards in Liverpool, where we celebrated some of the fantastic female business owners and entrepreneurs from across the Liverpool City Region and Cheshire. The big winners on a fantastic afternoon at the Crowne Plaza Hotel were Jo Henney, chief executive of Nugent, Catapult’s Alex Cousins, and Louise Stewart, the chief executive of Chester Race Company. Watch highlights from the day here.

The South of France, Cannes, and the international property festival MIPIM, was the DIB teams next port of call in March. Downtown hosted its annual ‘Leaders Lunch’ MIPIM fringe event, where guests enjoyed a presentation on the plans for the further development of Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter, and contributions from the chief executives of Manchester, Newcastle, and Salford City Council’s, and Cllr Liam Robinson, the leader of Liverpool.

Other event highlights in Q1 of ’24 included a Manchester Roundtable discussion with shadow Leader of the House Lucy Powell MP, the Leeds Property Club with councillor Helen Hayden, and an exclusive dinner in Birmingham with the chief executive of the West Midlands Growth Company Neil Rami.


Preventing suicides within the construction sector is the crucially important issue that has been taken up by DIB partner Causeway Technologies. It is estimated that 600 construction workers take their own lives every year, and the owner of Causeway, Phil Brown, along with the company’s Mental Health ambassador, former England international footballer Trevor Steven, have embarked on a mission to raise awareness of mental health challenges within the industry.

The main objective is to convince government agencies to include mental health support as a criteria within its procurement processes when tendering for work.

Causeway and DIB have already secured the support of many mayors, council leaders, and local authority chief executive’s to the cause – and we are delighted that Halton Borough Council is the first local authority to adopt the mental health policy officially.

You can sign the Causeway mental health pledge here and hear Trevor Steven talking about the campaign here.

DIB also welcomed many of the commitments made in the recently launch policy document ‘Power and partnership: Labour’s Plan to Power up Britain’. You can read the plan here.

Many of the things Downtown has campaigned for during the past two decades are included in the document, including greater powers to devolved authorities, a radical reform of planning policy, and the long overdue introduction of an industrial strategy for the country.  

We look forward to seeing the response from the government as we approach the, again long overdue, General Election.

Working with Partners

Old and New

Bruntwood SciTech, Causeway Technologies, DB3 Group, Glenville Walker, HPC, Laing O’Rourke, the Liverpool BID Company, Muse, oneHR, and Sutcliffe have renewed their DIB partnership deals for 2024.

We are also delighted to welcome as new partners House of Wisdom Group, Hospitality Hero, Hybrid Tec, Kroll Corlett, Nugent, Story Homes, VCG, and Morgan Sindall.

Among the new members to have joined the club in Q1 are Gleeds, The Jockey Club, NetDec Limited and Bridgewater Hall, and we are grateful for the continued support of Moore Media, Qube Residential, Sedulo and Uber and the many other DIB members.

Finally, a huge thank you to our sponsors the Festive Group, who do such a fabulous jog dressing the rooms for our awards events, The Printroom UK, United Wolves Productions, and Wild Thang. A special mention to the headline sponsor of the 2024 Women in Business Awards, Connor O’ Donovan and his team at Sefton Park Hospitality.

Member Highlights

Simon Krol climbs highest mountain in South America and Jet2holidays launch flights and holidays from new base at Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Bruntwood SciTech begins transformation of Manchester’s Pall Mall into city centre innovation hub

Mann Island move for Halcyon

Civil and structural engineering firm, Sutcliffe, announces host of new framework wins with work in excess of £1bn

DB3 Elevates Leadership in Strategic Promotions

What Next?

DIB Q2 Highlights

A bonanza of events and a hive of activity is planned for the second quarter of 2024. This month we host our annual ‘Change Makers Live’ conference’ – details here.

We have exclusive events with the chief executives of Manchester, Newcastle, and Leeds City Councils, and a special Northern Power Towns event featuring contributions from the CEOs of Halton and Warrington Councils. Philip Nell, Director of Property & Investment at the City Council, will be the speaker at the DIB Birmingham Property Club.  

DIB will also be at UKREiiF – let us know if you would like to meet with one of our team in Leeds.

DIB will host ‘Downtown Day’ at the Liverpool International Tennis Tournament in June, followed by our 21st anniversary bash at a top city centre Liverpool venue.  

There is much more besides and more to be announced – head over to our events calendar to see all the DIB upcoming events.

And don’t forget, voting is now open for the City of Liverpool Business Awards and the voting will open soon for the City of Manchester Business Awards and nominations are open for the City of Birmingham Business Awards.


To stay up to date with all things Downtown you can subscribe – for free – to our weekly bulletins.

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Q1 2024

In Numbers

Government Minister
Shadow Ministers
Local Authority Leaders
Local Authority Chief Executives
Local Authority Executive Directors
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in the room
Year So Far