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November 2020 Edition: Southend Business Partnership Newsletter

Published: Wednesday, 11th November 2020

The latest Southend business news for November 2020

I would like to start with a positive note to say we are now able to confirm that the next Southend Business Partnership Briefing will be "virtually" held on Thursday 26th Nov from 8:30am – 10:15am. The theme will be “South Essex – Still a place of opportunities and for optimism”. Given the latest lockdown and its impact on the UK economy the briefing will be an opportunity to look forwards to the opportunities available within the South Essex area which will support our recovery and growth. With this in mind we have the following speakers:

  • Getting Building Fund and Local Growth Fund Projects across South Essex - Ian Lewis, Executive Director, Opportunity South Essex 
  • Thames Estuary Freeport - Perry Glading, Chair Opportunity South Essex and Thurrock Business Board
  • The Local Plan and associated opportunities  - Ali Griffin, Chief Executive Southend on Sea Borough Council
  • Business Support across South Essex - Jon Birkett, Growth Hub Manager
  • Upskilling South Essex - Ian Lewis, Executive Director, Opportunity South Essex 

We hope you are able to join us for this "circuit breaker of positivity" and to hopefully see how the opportunities exposed by the projects above could support your business through supply chain opportunities, increased construction investment and employment opportunities. As with all these events there will be the opportunity to ask questions to our panel.

The event will be held virtually but will be an interactive session with the opportunity to discuss how the opportunities could impact your business.

To book your place please click here. We look forward to seeing you on the day. If you require any more information please email  economicd@southend.gov.uk 

Diversity and Inclusion 

We would like to work with the business community to ensure the diversity of the Partnership through reviewing our practices and canvassing the views of Southend businesses. With this in mind we have launched the SBP diversity survey, to understand the composition of our membership as well as identifying potential ways to improve our engagement.  Please help us by completing this brief questionnaires at Your say Southend

International Trade

International trade is important to so many of our businesses both in respect to the purchase of materials as well as the export of products. The department of international trade, the Chamber of Commerce and BEST Growth Hub are all offering support to businesses to enable them to continue in the new post Brexit world and hopefully take advantage of the new opportunities it presents. Please ensure you contact the relevant organisation if you have any questions and look out for their webinars and videos which are extremely helpful.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has produced a new stakeholder toolkit on EU Transition. This is organised by sector, and includes information on upcoming webinars that will help businesses to prepare. The toolkit also lists priority actions that can be taken now by businesses in different priority sectors to help them to prepare. Toolkit: https://bit.ly/30ZEKRo

Staff Health and Wellbeing

Looking out for the mental health and wellbeing of staff is also essential at the current time and there are a range of ways in which you can do this. Having a mental health first aider in every workplace is an aspiration which allows businesses to recognise the signs and to start to put measures in place to prevent a person becoming mentally ill. Through Healthy Workplaces in Southend-on-Sea your business can get FREE public health support to assess the health and wellbeing needs of your workplace, identify priorities, embed plans for action and access public health support services. In addition you can receive FREE public health and mental health training, and join our workplace networks where you can connect with other workplaces, exchange ideas, share good practice and raise the profile of what you are achieving. Now more than ever it is important to be managing the welfare of your staff. Please email the Everyone Health team eh.southend@nhs.net to find out what is available to you and how discover how to create a healthier workplace

Employment and Redundancy Support

Sadly, we are aware that the numbers of individuals claiming out of work benefits in Southend has increased dramatically from 4,400 in March 2020 representing 3.9% of the working age population, to 8,615 in September 202 (7.7% of working age population). We are therefore keen to work with you to get people back into work where Southend has vacancies that need filling.

Please see refer to the Southend on Sea Borough Council support pages for information, support and advice on next steps if you or anyone you know is facing redundancy. In addition, the council has applied to be a Kickstart Gateway employer which will enable them to support local businesses who wish to employ a young person on a six month work placement which is funded by the Government. A number of businesses and organisations have already contacted the council to indicate their interest but if you haven’t then please email them on economicd@southend.gov.uk. If they are successful in their application to run the Kickstart Gateway, they will contact you with details of how to start advertising your post.

Alternatively, if you are able to take on an apprentice, Essex County Council have developed a Levy Transfer Scheme which can be used by any employer to fund apprenticeship training. If you are interested in finding out more please click here to email Annette Hall.

Grant Funding and Business Support

The Southend on Sea Borough Council COVID grant applications are now open to Businesses. For more information about the grants and to apply please click here.

New Grant and business Support programme for the Construction Industry

“I-Construct is an ERDF funded project aimed at improving productivity in the construction and built environment industry. It offers either a package of expert mentoring or 30% match-funded grants for SME companies in the construction and built environment sector and those in its supply chain as well as those who are seeking to adapt their existing products and services to supply the sector. The project works in partnership with the Building Research Establishment and Daedalus Consulting based in Kent.

Representatives from the project will also be running a series of webinars and, COVID-permitting,  seminars and visits open to businesses of all sizes to learn about new developments in construction such as robotics , modular construction , BIM, low-carbon construction techniques and eco-friendly building performance amongst others.”

The dedicated website is under construction , but the project is able to assist companies from now. Please get in contact via - https://www.haven-gateway.org/projects/i-construct

LoCASE Grant programme - Any businesses wishing to review their energy efficiency should contact the LoCASE team who are able to complete FREE energy assessments to determine what savings can be made, the costs and the payback. Grants are available to fund 40% of the cost of energy measures, upto a maximum of £10k and minimum of £1k. Grants can be awarded to Small/Medium Enterprises (SME's) for works which reduce the carbon footprint of a business and reduce their energy costs. Grants must be approved before any spend takes place.  Click here to register your interest.

COVID Messages 

Requirement to Self-Isolate

Businesses are reminded that if people have been in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case or have been advised to self-isolate, they MUST still complete the statutory 14 day isolation period. Taking a test, regardless of the outcome, does not negate this requirement. A negative test result does not mean they are free from the risk of subsequently becoming infectious and passing on the virus, therefore they are still required, by law, to isolate for the required period of time.

Reporting of positive COVID cases within your workforce

If you have a confirmed COVID-19 case within your business, please refer to the Guidance and Action Card for your sector and contact the Health Protection Team on 0300 303 8537, option 1 or email EastofEnglandHPT@phe.gov.uk 

Other Information 

Congratulations to Stockvale on their Queens award for "Promoting Opportunity through Socail Mobility" - The award was for their transformation programme which was developed in house and which enables the company to identify talent regardless of the entry point into the organisation or educational background and which offers individuals training and support to enable star employees to develop and progress as leaders of the future. 

Congratulations to Southend’s Rosa & Bo on being selected as one of the #smallbiz100 by Small Business Saturday UK. Laura Mudie, former A&E nurse, senior midwife and mother of two, established the business in 2016, with her signature nesting babies which are the world’s first Russian Doll inspired toy safe from birth and beyond. Laura is active in a number of business support groups for female entrepreneurs and will always offer free support and advice where required. 

In preparation for the re-opening of retail following the lockdown, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council will be relaunching the Shop Local Campaign across the borough. As part of the campaign the Economic Development Team will be running the Best Festive Business Competition and we encourage all businesses to take part by posting a picture of their festive windows or businesses, which can then be voted on by the residents and visitors to Southend. Please email for more information or visit the BusinessonSea Facebook page.

Finally, a partnership of local shopping area representatives and the council are calling all Southend retailers and local businesses who are interested in selling online in the future and would be interested in how they can work in partnership to promote their products in a virtual shopping area using "totallylocally". Please see the link here for an example of how this system is working in Hebdenbridge where local businesses have joined together to create an online offer across the whole town. If you would be interested in finding out more about selling your goods as part of a Southend site please email the council with your details and some information about your products and location by clicking here. Alternatively, if you are a delivery company that would like to work with the group to deliver products within the Southend Borough again please email the council with more details of your interest.