INSPIRATIONAL people who live and work in Basingstoke are the focus of a new campaign being run by Basingstoke Together.

The Basingstoke Business Improvement District (BID) which supports businesses in the town centre, launched the campaign on International Women’s Day, focusing on influential women.

One of those was Rachel Moss, business performance manager for Festival Place, who highlighted that the shopping centre is outperforming the trend for footfall and sales, ranking 17th in the country.

Looking to the future, she said: “In the next five years, I can see us building on that with development work and bringing bigger brands to the centre.”

She encouraged young women starting out on the career ladder to “be confident in yourself” adding: “Don’t doubt yourself, stand up for yourself and take risks. The world of shopping centre management is very male-dominated so it’s important to not be intimidated.”

Another influential woman who featured in the campaign was Mary Swan, artistic director and chief executive of Proteus Theatre Company.

Mary joined 13 years ago said the arts are still a very male dominated field, adding: “My own journey, especially being working class, was not as straightforward as people would expect; as a woman you have to bring 25 per cent more into the room.”

She encouraged women not to allow themselves to be undervalued, adding: “Women are taught to be ‘pleasers’ but don’t be afraid to disrupt.”

The campaign, called Basing Folk, will showcase people from across the town centre who help make Basingstoke a great place to work, visit shop and be part of, including members of the community, young people, long-standing residents, workers and business owners.

Lucy Boazman, chief executive of the BID, said: “The campaign is a tool we want to use to promote the town centre focusing on the people. Everything we do is about the businesses but we find that when we profile the people behind the businesses that works really well. Basing Folk is about highlighting key or well-known people within Basingstoke.”

She said people could look forward to finding out some interesting stories about people in the town, including a member of staff in Café Nero who is a test pilot for rocket propelled jet packs.

Lucy said the campaign launch was a big success, with social media posts reaching 60,000 people and 5,000 of those engaging.

She added: “It showed that women are contributing and playing as equal a role as men in Basingstoke and showed women who are successful in their own right.”

The BID has plans to focus on the influential men in the town centre as part of International Men’s Day.