Road Map out of Lockdown
Hopefully you will all have received my e mail on Monday with the pictorial explanation about the Government’s Step 4 plan. Since then there has been further clarification on certain aspects.
On your behalf we will keep a close eye on developments regarding the plan and make you aware of any changes as soon as possible.
Pavement Licences (for attention of the Hospitality Sector)
You may recall that last year as we came out of the first Lockdown the Government announced that they would be creating the concept of Pavement Licences to enable hospitality businesses to apply to place table and chairs outside of their premises, to increase their customer capacity at a time this was being limited internally due to social distancing requirements.
I have contacted our MP to ascertain whether this approach will be duplicated as we come out of Lockdown3 at basically the same time as last year and when I know more I will let you know. Currently these licences are in existence until the end of September but for you to justify expenditure for new equipment I would hope that you would be reassured by these licences extending beyond just this year. If you want to know more about this then please e mail email@example.com
We are very aware that the concerns about the mental health of people has risen considerably during the past year and you reopening your businesses and welcoming back staff and customers may, for some. increase this situation. This is a subject I only have limited knowledge of, so on your behalf we commissioned BID member, Suffolk Mind, to produce a short tailored presentation for you to all access for free, providing more information on this subject for you to view and share with your staff as you see fit.
Additionally Suffolk Mind have voluntarily provided our members with access to a free half day training session on the subject of mental health and detail of how you can access this, is outlined, when you click on this link. www.suffolkmind.org.uk/ourburystedmunds I hope you find this resource interesting, informative and useful.
Since the Government announcement on Monday you may have noticed the interest from the media regarding what this actually means for town centres and the businesses trading on High Streets.
Due to excellent relationship cultivated over a number of years by, we at the BID and particularly our PR representative, Clare Phillips, we have had considerable coverage of our town and our businesses this week. In addition to the usual excellent coverage we enjoy from the Bury Free Press, RWSFM and numerous local print publications the town and our members have been featured this week on About Anglia, Look East, Radio Suffolk twice and the BBC website did a feature on St Johns Street.
Additionally our sister organisation Bury St Edmunds and Beyond have manged to get the town featured in the Evening Standard and are currently organising a number of media visits to the town for the summer.
Keeping our town in the forefront of the minds of both the local community and those living within a 100 miles or so is a priority for us and of course we utilise numerous social media platforms to supplement all of the above. We are always looking to provide opportunities for our members to take part in interviews with the media, as we try to share around these exposure opportunities, so if you haven’t already made us aware that you would be very happy to be an interviewee in the future please just let me know and we will gladly add you to our media register.
Thomas Ridley (for attention of the Hospitality Sector)
Long established local supplier to the hospitality sector, Thomas Ridley, has contacted us regarding providing some reduced costs and enhanced services and terms for BID members and I wanted to share these with you.
The point they wanted to convey is that, like you, they have had our business ‘turned upside down and shaken’ by the effects of the Pandemic. They employ 275 local people, who are committed to empowering Local Businesses in order to make Our Bury St Edmunds even greater than Pre Pandemic. They are here to support you and are willing to assist by investing in your return to trading as usual.
It is entirely up to you whether you wish to take advantage of this opportunity but if you do or want to know more then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Covid 19 – the route to “normality”
Although the announcement by the Prime Minister to Parliament an hour ago wasn’t quite, the “Three Steps To Heaven” Eddie Cochran ( and more latterly Showaddywaddy) sung about, nonetheless his 4 Step plan has laid out an exit plan from the Covid 19 nightmare we have all been enduring and experiencing for the best part of a year.
Each Step will be confirmed one week before it comes into play and there will be at least a 5 week gap between each step. The dates announced will be the very earliest the restrictions in that step will be amended so don’t take these dates as absolutely definitive but fingers crossed and with a fair wind we could be out of any restrictions within 4 months of today! Personally I would like to have seen these timelines reduced but at least you can plan to a degree, as you know certain changes won’t take place before certain dates and it’s better than all the various tiers, lockdowns and other restrictions you had to try and work with last year.
The Chancellor, in his Budget statement, next week, will outline further financial support for businesses and as soon as we have this information and how West Suffolk Council will administer the grants (presuming the Government continue with this approach) I will let you know. More detail around each Step will, no doubt, come to light in the next few days and if I have any further information then pleased don’t hesitate to contact me.
You will have seen in last weeks update that WSC intended to increase car parking charges from the middle of April. On your behalf both our Chair & Vice Chair wrote to the Council Leader, asking him to reconsider this decision and to cut a long story short , they have!
The decision has only been deferred and not cancelled and I would hope that we are involved in conversations regarding when these charges might be introduced but short term it’s good news for you, your staff and customers. I will keep you updated on further developments.
Roadmap announcement and further grants
Like you all, we await with considerable interest to the announcement on Monday regarding businesses being allowed to reopen. We are currently preparing a marketing campaign based the timing of the reopening of different business sectors and will then be doing all we can to get people back into the town centre asap.
Whatever the timings, we anticipate hands, face, space and social distancing to remain a part of Government guidance so when you are preparing to reopen if you want any of our posters regarding the above or any of our distance stickers, then please just contact me and I will drop them off or send copies of the posters to you electronically.
Apex membership benefits
We are obviously very aware of the difficulties you have all had to face during the past 12 months and we are looking to provide, wherever possible, opportunities to increase your business when you are able to reopen. Once such opportunity has arisen with the Apex which will enable your businesses to be promoted directly to the most loyal and frequently attending customers of the Apex i.e. their members.
Apex members pay an annual membership fee of £35 and in return they receive a wide range of benefits including priority notification by email when all shows go on sale, a priority booking period and pay no booking fees. The Apex will market your business to their customer base via email, social media, its website and in print. In return, they simply ask you provide their members with an exclusive discount or offer for your products or services. How that works and type of offer you provide is entirely between The Apex and yourself.
We all appreciate that now may not be the optimum time for you all to consider this partnership but you would be able to get involved at anytime in the future too, should you so wish. In the first instance, if you are interested in getting involved in this partnership please contact Ian.email@example.com. In the meantime, here’s a link to The Apex’s membership scheme web page, where more information about The Apex membership scheme is available. https://www.theapex.co.uk/membership/
Free mentoring services – Business Growth Coaches Network (BGCN)
BGCN is going to be working with the combined authority in the Cambridge LEP area, which includes West Suffolk, to provide business support via a Peer to Peer programme.
Subject matters are likely to include:
- Thought Leadership
- Driving and implementing sales strategies How to overcome the challenges with trading within the EU
- Performance management and having the right team to perform
- Demystifying the Digital world to drive efficiency
- Mindfulness and the effect of social distancing on mental health in the workplace
- Resilience in the face of adversity
There will be 18 Hours of Peer to Peer events in cohorts of 11. Timings to be agreed but with the possibility of some of this being outside of normal office hours to be as flexible as possible to those attending 3.5 hours of individual 121 coaching run by BGCN and the programme runs until 31st March. Cost - this programme is funded by the Local Authority and is completely free to businesses who have minimum 3 staff and £100K turnover.
If you want to find out more about this opportunity then contact; Peter Basford on 07525 469303 or via e mail at Peter@bgcn.co.uk.