Southend Business Partnership - Jan 2021 Newsletter

The latest Southend Business Partnership Newsletter for Jan 2021

Happy New Year! I hope that you have all managed to have a peaceful and safe holiday - a lot has happened since last December's newsletter some of which is highlighted below.

Firstly given the increased COVID restrictions we can confirm that our next Southend Business Partnership Briefing, which is to be on 25 March (8:30-10am), will again be held virtually following the highly successful virtual event in November. More details will follow which will be linked to rebooting our local economy. If you would like to register your interest or book a place place click here.

Southend's annual Best Festive Business Competition

Southend's annual Best Festive Business Competition was run in December 2020, and the winner and runners up were announced on 21 December. 61 businesses entered the competition, which received a total of 2284 votes. Chantilly Lace Bridalwear, London Road, Westcliff-on- Sea proved to be the public’s favourite, with Made You Look Flowers of Canewdon Road, Westcliff-on-Sea coming second, and The Broker Freehouse of Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea coming in third. The winner and runners-up were congratulated by The Worshipful The Mayor, Cllr John Lamb, and they will all receive a prize: a promotional video production worth £500 sponsored by Blatella Films, a local firm who hope that this offer will support the winners in 2021 after such a challenging year for the whole retail and hospitality sector. To view all entries to the competition please head to BusinessOnSea's facebook page.

Southend on Sea Borough Council 2021/22 Budget Consultation 

Southend on Sea Borough Council would like to invite you to attend a consultation session for the Draft 2021/22 to 2025/26 Budget on 14 January 2021. This is an opportunity for the Business and Voluntary Sector to hear the key details of the draft budget and how it works towards achieving the Southend 2050 outcomes, drives investment for the Town and setting the financial framework for the medium term. You will have the opportunity to discuss the Budget with key members of the Council prior to it going through the cabinet process for discussion and approval. Attendees will find out more about the budget proposals and what they will mean to their organisations and sectors. The Council is keen to engage with the wider business and voluntary sector community as it looks to continue the development of conditions for the recovery and growth of our Town. The Consultation session will start at 9:30am with Cllr Ian Gilbert, Leader of the Council, followed by a presentation from Joe Chesterton, Executive Director Finance and Resources. There will be a Question and Answer session for attendees to pose their questions with the panel. To book your place please visit eventbrite page

Lower Thames Crossing SME Directory

Lower Thames Crossing recently launched the SME Directory, an initiative aimed at helping local SME’s become the core of the LTC supply chain. The SME directory will be shared with the Tier 1 contractors tendering for the three major contracts that will form the project. Using the Directory, these major contractors will be able to easily see and contact local suppliers with the skills and knowledge to form their supply chains. Registering for the SME Directory involves filling in this short  form to provide contact details, information about the nature of the business and the goods or services it provides, and a brief description of what sets the business apart from others.

New Visit Southend Website

You may have heard that Visit Southend is getting a new website and here’s how you can get involved! The current website www.visitsouthend.co.uk pulls in fantastic traffic throughout the year, with up to 60,000 visitors a month – it’s the number 1 destination website for the town and a huge marketing platform for the local offer. The new website is due to launch in Spring 2021, offering you the opportunity to get your organisation/venue and your events listed on there for FREE! To join this new website, simply email culture&tourism@southend.gov.uk with business descriptions and all contact details.

South East Local Enterprise Partnership COVID-19 Recovery Funds

Earlier this year, SELEP’s Board agreed to re-purpose funding available, to focus on support for businesses recovering from the impacts of the pandemic at a time of unprecedented challenge, and to support investment in skills in response to the employment crisis being experienced in 2020. The procurement process will secure service providers and delivery partners to deliver programmes using this funding throughout 2021. The £2.4 million COVID-19 Business Support Fund will be split into three individual business support programmes – you can read more about the aims of the fund here. The £2 million Skills COVID-19 Recovery Fund will also be split into three separate programmes – you can read more about the fund here. Any party who is interested in delivering these programmes should first register their interest by signing up to the Essex County Council Procurement Portal. You can register on Essex County Council’s E-Sourcing portal at https://supplierlive.proactisp2p.com/Account/Login. On the 6 January, the tender will go live and remain open for 30 calendar days.

EU Settlement Scheme

Following Brexit, the EU Settlement Scheme is open for EU, EEA or Swiss citizens ad their families to apply to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.  The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021, and applicants must usually have started living in the UK by 31 December 202. If you  employ anyone of those nationalities listed, please encourage them to apply to the EU settlement scheme where it applies. There is also support available locally to complete the process https://www.gov.uk/help-eu-settlement-scheme so we could supply that information. 

COVID support and information for businesses updated

Following recent announcement from The Prime Minister, information has been updated on Southend Borough Council's Business Rates Grants 2020 to 2021 page. While the Council is still waiting for full guidance from Central Government on the administration of grants that are related to Tier 4 and Tier 5 (National Lockdown) restrictions, there are currently three Local Restriction Support Grants (LRSG) and the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs (CSP) open for applications. Please be aware that the information on this page will be changing regularly in line with new announcements. The Business Rates team process Business Grants. Should you need to discuss your ongoing application please either contact the team via email or telephone on 01702 215001 to discuss directly with a member of the team. 

The council are hoping to streamline the application process for grants with a single form by 15/1/2021, which will include the Tier 5 grant application forms. If you are unsure of any of the requirements for any of the current individual grants and are in a position to wait until this has been done, please consider doing so.

I do hope the above information has proved helpful in these continuing very challenging times and feel free to feedback to me on any matters on which you would welcome further coverage.

Published: 13th January 2021