A Wild in Art event in support of Heart of Kent Hospice.

Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade gives a mammoth boost to local economy

Young girl and woman smiling by Elmer

The results are in and in addition to the event raising £312,750 for Heart of Kent Hospice when 51 Elmers were sold at auction six weeks ago, feedback from members of the public who downloaded the Parade App, and visitors who completed the survey on the Parade website are phenomenal! Not only was Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade a huge success in raising awareness and funds for the Hospice in their 30th anniversary year, but also significantly boosted the local economy over its nine-week run this summer.

A survey commissioned by Wild in Art shows that the trail was enjoyed by 230,979 visitors – with 61% spending four days or more in the area finding all the Elmers. The Parade had a total economic impact of just over £7 million.

An impressive 19,302 miles were recorded on the App pedometer by visitors out exploring the trail, with many highlighting the trail as being a great reason for spending more time out in the fresh air with their friends and family.

Over two thirds of visitors enjoying the trail were from Maidstone, but the event also bought in visitors from further afield including from other areas of Kent, the South East and London.  Over 10,000 trail maps were distributed, and the trail app was a real hit with 10,377 downloads, enabling visitors to unlock and record the number of Elmers they found. Visitors were also able to have a printed version of the map and a copy ran in their local newspaper.

Ann-Marie Kelly, Heart of Kent Hospice Director of Income Generation said “We’re delighted to see that 98% of local residents were really proud to have the trail taking place in their town. We’re also pleased to see the trail attracted visitors of all ages with 56% of people surveyed telling us it was the main reason they had visited the town.  78% of people also said they stayed longer in the town because of the Parade and 50% extended their stay by more than one day to enjoy the trail. When we planned the location of the Elmer sculptures, we wanted to showcase all areas of the County town and a brilliant 53% of respondents said they visited new places.”

Over 1,300 people who took part in the trail responded to the survey and this also revealed that the average time spent on the trail was just over 4 hours, and 45% of visitors enjoyed the whole trail.

Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder at Wild in Art said “We’re delighted to see the figures from the evaluation, along with the incredible amount raised at the auction. Our trails are designed to get the public to explore their local area, visit places they might not have been to before whilst spending time together, getting some exercise and having fun. After a difficult 18 months, it’s great to see that the trail has enabled people to enjoy Maidstone again and also encourage visitors to the area. Thank you to each and every one of you that has visited the trail and supported Heart of Kent Hospice”.

Elmer's Big Heart of Kent Parade

Elmer's Big Heart of Kent Parade