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August 20 Edition: Southend Business Partnership Newsletter

Published: Thursday, 6th August 2020

The latest Southend business news for August 2020

Welcome to our August 2020 Southend Business Partnership (SBP) newsletter which we hope you will find informative. Certainly the new trading environment is proving both challenging and exhausting for all of us and I hope our communications are providing some support.

SBP September Briefing – Themed on Clean Growth 
Our next briefing will be hosted virtually on Thursday 10th September from 8:30am – 10am, with Tiphaine Aries  from the Carbon Trust discussing the national context and requirement for business change creating significant potential business opportunities and Ian Trow  from the University of Brighton talking about the ways in which businesses can change in order to reduce costs and carbon emissions, Steve McKinlay, (Vice President, Manufacturing) from IPECO will provide an insight into their new 122,000sq ft building on the Airport Business Park and the energy saving elements they have been able to incorporate into this build as well as the impact these savings will have on their business. Gary Crooks, Business Energy Advisor from LoCASE will explain how grant funding can be used to pay for upto 40% of the cost for business improvement changes and finally Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member responsible for Environment and Planning will share both the aspirations for the borough and the changes that are being made to improve Southend for all our residents and businesses. To book your place please click here

Covid- 19 – Test, Trace, Contain and Enable
Having seen the localised lockdowns in Leicester and Manchester it is important that we all take responsibility for restricting the spread of the virus. Southend on Sea Borough Council has produced its Local Outbreak plan detailing how they will prevent and manage a coronavirus outbreak and Krishna Ramkhelawon, Director for Public Health shared this with business leaders at the last SBP Executive group. It is important that businesses implement all the required measures but also that they are considering business continuity and next steps should a member of staff or customer tests positive.

The UK test and trace process requires individuals to self isolate for 14 days if they have been in close contact  with a confirmed case or for 10 days if they have a positive test. If staff return from holidays to countries requiring quarantine they will need to remain at home for a further 14 days. What is your message to staff in these situations, as this is key to controlling the spread of the virus? Testing is also key and individuals must isolate and get a test if they are feeling unwell. 

New action cards are now available for business sectors explaining what they should do in the event of a coronavirus outbreak, these can be accessed here or on the Southend BID website where there are also a range of templates to help businesses implement Coronavirus measures.

Covid-19 Grants and Funding
Please can we remind all organisations to take a look at the Southend on Sea Borough Council's coronavirus business page to see if you are eligible for any of the grants that are available, click here to access the page. 

The second phase on the discretionary grant scheme has been launched all applications must be received by 28th August. All Covid-19 business grants close on the 30th September.

The Government is aware that not all businesses can access the grant funding, but there is funding available in the form of Bounce Back Loans for small and medium sized firms to borrow from £2,000 and upto 25% of their turnover (Max £50k). There are no fees or interest payments for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year. Click here -  for more information.

Please remember, businesses can contact the BEST Growth Hub for free business advice which may be able to help you at this time. Click here to access the Best Growth Hub website

Covid-19 – Southend Emergency Fund
The Southend Emergency Fund has been set up to channel donations to reach families and individuals in need. Businesses can become ambassadors by agreeing to promote the fund through their networks and social media platforms. Why not find out how you can become involved and help those in most need, please click here

Apprenticeships 
We have seen a massive decline in the number of apprenticeships this year as a result of COVID-19, which is putting the careers of young people and the succession planning for many businesses at risk. In some cases apprentices have been made redundant mid course which risks their whole qualification. Coupled with this we have rising levels of unemployment in Southend which has grown from 4,400 in March 2020 to 8,670 in June 2020.

If young people lose their jobs mid course a redundancy support service has been launched and apprentices can call 0800 015 0400  for free advice or click here to access the web page 

Employers can access guidance on apprenticeships during the coronavirus outbreak by clicking here 

You may also have seen the Government announcement regarding a plan for jobs, click here for details.   Kick-start funding is a part of this,  where the government will fund six months paid work for young people at risk of long term unemployment. We will provide more information on the scheme as it becomes available but please be thinking how this could support your business.

For businesses who wish to employ an apprentice, funding is now available to pay for their training through a “levy pot” which is being administered through Essex County Council. If you are interested in accessing this fund or finding out more, please contact us by clicking here

Have your say on South Essex 2050 Consultation
In June 2020, ASELA launched the YourSaySE2050 website and SE2050 Survey to facilitate a conversation about the long-term future for the South Essex region in 2050.

Six weeks later, hundreds have shared their views on what makes South Essex distinct and what they hope the region can achieve in the future. Whilst levels of engagement have been good in Southend, we are keen to increase the numbers further; to encourage more of our residents, businesses, social enterprises and voluntary sector organisations to participate in this important discussion. In particularly, I’d be grateful if you could please promote the SE2050 Survey across your networks, before it closes on the 2nd September.

Not only will the insight from these engagement tools help ASELA focus efforts and direct investment towards the things that matter most to local stakeholders, but this represents a great opportunity for people to share their thoughts directly with those leading the six Local Authorities in South Essex. 

Eat Out to Help Out
It is great to see so many businesses registered this scheme but if you haven’t done so yet, please click here for more information about how you can get involved. 

Reducing Death and Serious Injury on Essex Roads
Southend on Sea Borough Council is working as part of "Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP)" to reduce death and serious injury on Essex roads, research informs that around 30% of drivers involved in crashes are "at work" at the time, so we want to work with businesses and organisations to promote safer vehicle use in the workplace.

Highways England (HE) have funded a project to promote the Driving for Better Business brand in Essex, details of that scheme can be found at https://www.drivingforbetterbusiness.com/. As a result SERP are able to work with businesses and organisations across the county, offering support in terms of policy review, strategic delivery and communication with staff. Thanks to the funding from HE this is a free offer with the support being tailored to suit the organisations needs. For more information please click here to register your interest.

Finally, we are looking forward to hearing more from the Better Queensway team about progress on this development at our next SBP Executive Meeting on the 1st September.

The Southend Business Partnership is set up to support business development and prosperity in the Borough and to act as a conduit for business views, so please share your thoughts and concerns by emailing us here.