Samantha has worked at Harpur Centre for fifteen years. In addition to her dynamic day job as Centre Manager, Sam holds the voluntary position of chair of Bedford BID supporting 630 town centre businesses and extended her term to help through the pandemic.

During COVID-19, Bedford was one of 101 towns chosen by the Government to bid for funding by designing projects to improve, urban regeneration, planning, skills and infrastructure. She was unanimously voted as the front-facing, Chair of the town Deal Board by the elite private and public sector board representatives. To ensure she could oversee the transition from business case to the delivery stage, she signed up for a unique Towns Fund Place Leadership Programme for specialised placemaking training whilst still dealing with the everchanging pandemic impacts and lockdowns.

Following Samantha’s bid, Bedford was granted a £1m grant for public realm works and the nation’s first app-managed bike shed. She made national/local news in June 2021when it was announced by GovernmentthatBedford was successful in receiving £22.6million to drastically improve the area for the local community across all six major projects submitted. Over the past two years, her additional efforts and tireless work for both the centre and the town were noted locally within the Bedford’s Everyday Heroes awards and nationally as one of Nat West Bank’s 100Inspiring Women. After filling five vacant units after lockdown, Santa needed a Grotto…so she built one in the mall! Her goal has always been to make Bedford an amazing place to live and visit and to ensure it stays that way long into the future.

Even though her role extends outside of the centre, Samantha is proud to say that the Centre stakeholders’ benefit from her outside of the centre thinking and thanks to her whole tea master centre always comes first.


“Samantha Laycock is an inspirational woman who has transformed Bedford BID since taking over the role of Chair in 2016. She has brought together a wide section of businesses and developed a strong team around her inclusive leadership. She has been able to motivate both employees and volunteers through her enthusiasm and the genuine warmth of her management style.
When faced with Covid, Samantha Laycock was a woman with a clear vision for what was required and having the trust of those around her, she was able to encourage and bring out the best in her team. Bedford has emerged from the testing conditions of the past two years in an exceptional position of strength and she should take considerable credit for the dedication and support which she has given throughout.”

Reverend Charles Royden, Deputy Mayor & Portfolio Holder for Environment, Highways and Transport.