By Kevin Ward

Newport Now manager

IT’S been a busy end to the year for the Newport Now Business Improvement District.

Last month, thousands of people gathered to enjoy our Countdown to Christmas event in the city centre.

We were blessed with good weather and delighted to see so many people having fun on the fairground rides in Commercial Street, High Street and the riverfront, enjoying live music throughout the day with X Factor stars Misunderstood topping the bill, and watching Wales football manager Ryan Giggs and little Marley Nicholls switch on the Christmas lights.

Last Saturday saw the BID celebrating Small Business Saturday.

We funded free advertisements for BID levy payers in a special South Wales Argus pull-out marking the day. And we helped promote a fantastic Festive Day run by traders in the historic Newport Arcade.

Today (Tuesday, December 4) is launch day for our German-style Christmas Market.

Based in Commercial Street and running until December 23, the market is a first for Newport.

There is a German bar in Westgate Square and up to 25 other stalls selling Christmas gifts, goodies, and food and drink.

These include hats and gloves, crafts, German sausages, paella, tweeds, and a charity stall run by the NSPCC.

Christmas is the most important time of the year for city centre retailers, and the BID has worked hard to deliver and promote initiatives that will drive footfall for our Levy payers.

There is plenty more for shoppers and visitors to the city centre to enjoy in the run-up to Christmas.

Santa has a grotto in the Kingsway shopping centre and in Newport Market.

And youngsters can post their letters to Santa in a special postbox in Newport Arcade.

Newport Now would like to wish all city centre businesses, staff, shoppers and visitors a very merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.