Who is Viv Kenny?
I have been Folkestone town centre manager since November 2014.
Having been born in Folkestone and lived all my life here, it is great to be using my experience and expertise to bring benefit to my home town.
My previous role was as town centre manager in Ashford for 8 years, throughout these years I gained considerable experience of working in partnership with many different organisations from the public and private sector and dealing with planning and delivery of major events and initiatives for the town centre; themed event markets, Festive light switch on events; music festivals and a range of other events relevant to that town. In Partnership with Ashford Borough Council we launched a loyalty card too which proved to be an excellent initiative supporting the businesses and encouraging residents to spend locally. I hope to bring some of these initiatives to Folkestone, but many are dependent on funding, which may prove problematical.
What are you known for?
I hope that people appreciate that I am a ‘do’er’. I certainly like to get fully involved in my work and deliver what needs to be done.
A town centre management role encompasses many things and skills have to combine to bring marketing and promotional activity and event management to benefit the town and the trading environment. Having shared best practice through the professional body the Association of Town and City Centre Management (ATCM); our work strives to bring the business community together, creating a stronger voice and it can act as a key business support mechanism through our different trading arms of Folkestone Area Partnership Against Crime and the Discover Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh tourism marketing partnership. Town centre management remains non political and non biased. In the early days of the Government’s Portas Review of the Nations High Street, my comments and submission to the ATCM earned me an invite to Parliament to attend the first APPG session with Mary Portas debating with the MP’s which was very interesting.
Why do you help Folkestone?
Folkestone is my home town and is a great place to live. Having seen the changes over many years, it is good to be in a position working for a not for profit organisation which can really try and do something to support the town’s business community.
It is difficult trying to persuade others that there is strength in working together and that if we all move in the same direction, then things will start to improve.
Businesses in town centres have suffered with the economic recession and with this decline there are added threats from internet shopping and out of town stores, we have to ensure Folkestone remains vibrant and welcoming; safe and secure. No one organisation is responsible for all of these elements, but by working alongside many other agencies and organisations, we can ensure everyone does their bit to make Folkestone a better place.
What is your favourite place in Folkestone?
Being a lifelong resident, many places have special meanings and memories; growing up and adventuring over the hills, days in the surrounding countryside and along seafront, special memories from streets where friends and family lived. I do love to see the Sea and am lucky enough to enjoy the best view in Folkestone coming into the Asda Car Park on work days, seeing the magnificent view over the town and East Cliff. It certainly has the WOW factor.
It’s great to walk along the sands what-ever the season and the Warren is a unique place.
It’s very good to be able to go on holiday, but it’s fantastic to come back home to Folkestone!
What is your most embarrassing moment?
I don’t really recall anything in particular as I try and ensure I am ready and prepared for all eventualities. …the only thing I can think of recently is tripping and falling over coming off the train on my holiday, I guess that was pretty embarrassing but only my pride was hurt thankfully !
How would you describe the colour yello to someone who's blind?
This is a very hard question…..to me yellow is soft and calming, but to interpret that to someone who has never been able to experience sight, it may be that by thinking of the warmth and strength from the sun, that an image of yellow can come to mind…as I say, very hard to interpret!