A project to get businesses to work together to transform Southend town centre is coming to the end of its five-year term.

The Southend Business Improvement District - known as Bid - has transformed the town centre in the five years that it has been in operation and it is now seeking the go-ahead from businesses for a second term.

Roughly 350 businesses are currently signed up to Bid, with those with a rateable value above £1,500 contributing cash to the scheme and those below, supporting by become a Friend of Southend Bid.

Bid and its £2.5million not for profit budget, has improved security in the town centre with the introduction of street rangers and child safety wristbands.

It has boosted trade for businesses with a range of promotions on its website and on social media and it has made the town a nicer place to visit with planters and hanging baskets and bins to ensure litter is kept to minimum.

Alison Dewey has managed Southend Bid for more than three years. She is hoping businesses will recognised what has been achieved and back the Bid again.

She said: “Bid started in 2013 and we’ve done quite a lot of things it was voted in for, whether looking at safety and security, marketing events and greener and cleaner infrastructure but it has had to be above and beyond what is done by the public sector.

“We introduced full-time street rangers to work with businesses to cut crime and antisocial behaviour. They have dealt with 1,500 visitor inquiries and 5,000 retail crime issues. These might be reports of shoplifters or someone looking as if they are going to shoplift. They are trained to use defibrillators and are also have mental health awareness training. They have administered first aid more than 500 times and they work with other agencies to help the homeless.”

Ms Dewey said Bid’s child safety wristbands which help lost children be reunited quickly with their parents had helped police. She said: “If a child is missing it is always a police priority. We’ve reunited more than 400 kids with their parents, allowing police to be redeployed to other incidents.”

Bid is looking forward to even more schemes if it is voted in, including enticing in big name stores. Ms Dewey said: “We are trying to get more premium brands in the town centre and have been meeting with economic development officers at the council.If we get through the ballot we are looking at a range of projects, including a beach cleaning scheme.”

Businesses which have backed Bid haven’t regretted it.

Nicola Seymour, manager of Animal in the High Street said: “We feel that the Street Rangers Bid provides are an invaluable asset to the high street and have provided a great support to our business.”

Glynn Morgan, from Chinnerys pub, said: “The Southend Bid has made a massive difference to the feel of Southend, hosting annual events such as six weeks of firework displays, the Italian festival, Purple festival, and Christmas lights to name just a few.

“The website they have set up has enabled us and others to reach a far wider audience for our events which has increased visitors to both our venue and the town. In the 5 years of the Bid’s existence it has made a huge difference.”