Plan B restrictions/ Omicron related grants for hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses (OHLG)
Please find below a detailed explanation for three separate grants that West Suffolk Council are managing on behalf of the Government as a consequence of the implementation of Plan B restrictions before Christmas.
I won’t go into too much detail as the explanation and processes to follow are explained below but on this occasion eligible businesses are required to apply for the grant and payments won’t be made automatically to businesses, as was the case with some of the previous Covid related grants.
The main grant, OHLG, is for businesses withing the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors which are available now but as outlined below smaller amounts have been allocated to two other grants that businesses outside of these sectors might be eligible to apply for, if a case can be made that the business has been detrimentally affected in recent weeks.
These smaller two grants will be allocated from next week.
If having read the below e mail you still require further clarification/information then please visit www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/c19business
West Suffolk Council are administering these grants on behalf of the Government and have to follow the guidance they have been provided with.
As the Council have demonstrated over the past two years, they will do all they can to allocate the funding to as many businesses as they possibly can, as quick as they can, without contravening these guidelines.
In order to get the money to the affected businesses asap and to assist them in doing this it will be extremely helpful and appreciated if businesses seeking to apply for the money can provide all the relevant information when registering to receive the grants.
They have tried to minimise the bureaucracy of the process as much as possible but are required to clarify and check eligibility on a case by case basis.
If I can be of any further help then please don’t hesitate to get in touch
For the attention of Night Time Economy Businesses
I have arranged a meeting with the Police and a Licensing Officer from West Suffolk Council for BID Night Time Economy businesses to discuss relevant issues, affecting those present. This will be held at Oakes Barn from 3pm on Thursday 20th January.
I know that some of you will have been contacted via the Pubwatch communication system but this is sent in case interested businesses have not received that message.
I would be grateful if you could let me know if you or your representative are intending to attend or if you can’t if there are any issues you would like me to raise on your behalf.
For the attention of hospitality businesses
I recently met with Duncan Partridge, a representative of Countrystyle recycling who have recently located in Thetford. The company are very aware of the challenges facing businesses within the hospitality sector, in regards of their ability to recycle food waste and glasses in a responsible and environmentally friendly way and recognise the challenges facing businesses in a town centre conservation area.
They would be very interested in discussing their services and the offer they have for our BID members, with any of our businesses and I have attached a couple of pdfs for your information.
If you would like to know anymore then please contact email@example.com or on 01842 820804
Government Grants as a consequence of Plan B restrictions
I just wanted you to know that I have been in touch with West Suffolk Council about this subject, this week and they are still awaiting all the relevant information before they can make any announcements in regards of our local hospitality and leisure businesses.
The Cabinet office made me aware last week of this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-omicron-hospitality-and-leisure-grant which provides information about eligibility but it will be West Suffolk Council who will announce the process and payments to be made and hopefully this will be in the very near future. As stated previously all of this is dependent upon the Government providing the Council with all the relevant information and of course the money.
Town Centre Gift Card Purchases in December
I just wanted to make you aware that over £20,000 worth of gift cards were purchased last month, which hopefully will be spent in the near future at those businesses who are registered to accept the cards. As stated previously there is no cost to any business that accepts the card, other than the normal charge paid for a Mastercard debit transaction and I can quickly set up a business to accept the card, usually within 2 minutes. It’s a very straightforward process to both set up and accept the card, so what’s not to like?!
If you want to accept our gift cards then please just get in touch with me and I’ll arrange a convenient time to pop along an register your business.
Government Grants -Pre Christmas Restrictions/Conditions
Just to let you know that West Suffolk Council have still not received the details of the grants that were announced before Christmas, by the Government, to try and mitigate some of the lost business post their “Plan B” restrictions announcements.
The Council, as you would anticipate are frustrated by this delay but have assured me that they will be in touch with us and the relevant businesses as soon as they have received the relevant guidance from Westminster.
Free Training Courses Availability
In 2021 a significant number of BID member businesses benefitted from the free training courses we organised and delivered. I am pleased to say that we are now in a position to bring you the dates for the next Fire Marshal, Emergency First Aid and Food Safety courses as follows.
Fire Marshal / Warden (3 hours 9.30-12.30)
Tuesday 18th January
Tuesday 1st March
Emergency First Aid at Work (1 day Qualsafe Level 3)
Monday 28th February
Monday 25th April
Wednesday 23rd May
Food Safety (1 day HABC Level 2 Award)
Monday 21st March
Monday 13th June
The above courses are very popular and tend to go quickly so if you would like to secure your place(s) please email firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP. We will also be shortly publishing a breakdown of all of the training courses we offer along with all the information you need to know about these including upcoming availability on the BID Members Section on our website – once this is published I will update you.
We hope that this comprehensive breakdown of the courses will enable you to better plan ahead.
City Fibre works in the town centre
As I am sure you are aware for the past few months upgraded Broadband infrastructure has been put in place in parts of the town centre, requiring the closure of some roads and this leading to disruption to businesses and residents alike. We, the BID, have not been consulted or made aware of these works that took place last year. I am aware that the next phase involves St Johns Street and I believe information about this was dropped off to each business, likely to be affected, last month.
I am pleased to say that I have now managed to set up a video call with a representative from the Company on Friday, where I will endeavour to get information about plans for 2022 and will convey my thoughts to them on your behalf and also update those businesses likely to be affected, after the meeting.
Disposal of wooden pallets
West Suffolk Council have brought to my attention that a number of wooden pallets appear to have been abandoned in the town centre recently. Skinner Street and the top of Brentgovel St (close to Cornhill Walk) are the two main areas. They have asked me to remind our members that the disposal of these items are the responsibility of the businesses who have received goods on them and should not just be abandoned with an expectation that “someone else will take them away”
Latest Government Covid related restrictions
I am very aware that the recent Government announcements regarding the latest Covid variant has seem some mixed messaging, which has detrimentally affected some of your businesses, where you have seen a drop in footfall to your businesses and in some cases cancellations of appointments or dining reservations.
All this has occurred, whilst you are able to continue to trade but with no financial support for the almost inevitable reduction in income.
The mass cancellations being experienced elsewhere in the country might not be replicated in our town at the moment but that doesn’t mean that won’t be the case going forward, if these restrictions are lifted soon.
As a consequence I have written to our MP, outlining the situation in Bury and asking her to support the central provision of financial help to enable our businesses to survive, what will hopefully turn out to be a short term crisis.