Update – Hospitality Survey, Grants, Parking, BID Support

Update – Hospitality Survey, Grants, Parking, BID Support

Update – Hospitality Survey, Grants, Parking, BID Support

Hi everyone,

We hope you are doing okay given the mixed news we have received in the last day. This is a quick update with brief news and clarifications. Please stay in touch.

Tier Status

As we are sure you know, yesterday we learnt that Warwickshire has been classified as Tier 3.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/full-list-of-local-restriction-tiers-by-area

Whilst it is good news that our retail sector can open on December 2nd (clarification below), it is also very disappointing for our hospitality and leisure sector business owners and employees and we are aware that this is causing significant pain and worry.

For information about the respective tiers please click here.

 

Hospitality & Leisure Sector

We welcomed the change to last orders at 10pm, and 11pm closing in Tier 2, but we also know that being in Tier 3, for now this offers little consolation.

Grant funding support for ‘closed’ Tier 3 businesses will continue and we will update you when we know how this will be administered. Notwithstanding this, we know that this existing grant funding allowance does not come close to offering businesses subject to Tier 3 restrictions sufficient financial support.

Quick 3 min Survey

We would be grateful if you could share any details that help to quantify the critical challenges you face. Data will be anonymised.

Please click here and thank you in advance: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/R8N59B2

What’s Happening Now …

We are speaking to local, regional and national partners to understand, challenge and lobby on key areas of concern. Our message right now is: 2K / 3K grants barely touch the sides of 10-15K monthly rent and other fixed costs for many. Hundreds of staff are furloughed, while owners continue to pay NI and pensions – and of course, all the furlough investment is lost if we don’t get closed Tier 3 businesses open, or on proper life support. Any 14-day review should start from yesterday (not the 2nd of Dec). Leamington’s hospitality and leisure sector is safe, prepared, responsible.

Among other things, our ‘ask’ that includes additional critical ‘life support’ grant funding, pausing NI and pensions contributions on furloughed staff, and extensions to the business rate holiday and VAT reduction schemes. Some business owners face particular challenges with leases, legal, HR issues, so please reach out if you need help. Finally, we know many are looking for more clarity, evidence and certainty around the application of Tiers in local places and the review process.

The national ‘Bounce Back Better’ campaign information is here (please click). We are also open to your thoughts, ideas and feedback.

 

Retail – Opening Date & Grant Confirmation

For those that can open, we are pleased to confirm that Warwick County Council are of the view, alongside many others, that the new tier structures will come into force one minute past midnight (00:01) on Wednesday 2nd December.

This means, for those that are permitted in Tier 3, you can open your doors on the 2nd of December.

We have also had confirmation that opening on the 2nd of December will not impact your eligibility to grant funding for the 28 day ‘closed’ period in November.

All information and links to grants are here (please click). Please note deadlines are fast approaching.

 

Free Parking in December – Some Good News

After consulting with key stakeholders across the District including ourselves, Warwick District Council (WDC) have agreed to offer free parking in off street car parks from the 2nd of December. Free parking in WDC off-street car parks will enhance the shopping experience, reduce contact between people and machines in car parks, and support customers to easily return to their favourite shops.

Accordingly, surface car parks will remain ‘short-stay’ for shoppers, while the multi-storey car parks, such as Covent Garden and St Peters, remain best suited those wishing to park all day – so please direct your staff in that direction.

Please also note, the Royal Priors is offering Free parking on Thursdays from 5pm (to support late night shopping). We are waiting to hear what the County Council will offer with respect to on-street / curbside parking.

 

Late Night Opening / Extended Trading

Royal Priors

  • Late night shopping in the Royal Priors will be on Thursdays, beginning on Thursday 3rd – till 8pm.
  • From Monday 14th the Royal Priors will be open till 7pm – except on Sundays which will be 5pm and Thursdays 8pm.

Please let us know if you are planning to extend your hours? … please include: Dates and times.

Materials to Support Opening

Alison has emailed you about obtaining any of the following – so if you haven’t already, please let us know what you would like and we will drop it in next week:

  • Shop Local window stickers
  • Spa Stars – window decorations
  • Noel Noses (Cover Your Nose) (A4 Poster)
  • Sanitised Santa (Hands) (A4 Poster)
  • Inside Instructions (A4 Poster)
  • Spa Space – Fill in text (A4 Poster)
  • Spa Space – Parade Safely (A4 Poster)

THANK YOU! … as always … we remain inspired by everything we can see you doing to navigate a path forwards and we are here to help in any way we can.

Don’t forget to join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already. We will also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook page – and the Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page is where we will showcase what you are now doing. You can also find this email update as well as previous ones on our website: www.bidleamington.com.

Best wishes and we look forward to seeing you soon,

Steph & Alison

 

Business Grants Links – Now LIVE: 17th November

Business Grants Links – Now LIVE: 17th November

Business Grants Links – NOW LIVE: 17th November

The link to access the ‘National Restrictions Support Grant’ is now live. This is for businesses that have been forced to close by the Government and include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses. A full list can be found on gov.uk.

The link and associated eligibility criteria can be found here (please click).

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For those businesses that are NOT eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) such as those who have who have not been forced to close (e.g. dry cleaners), a new Discretionary Grant Scheme is available – called the ‘Additional restrictions grant fund’. The application deadline is Monday 30 November. The eligibility policy is here.

The application details and links to apply can be found here (please click).

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Update – PLEASE ALSO NOTE!

As set out above, two grants are currently available from WDC. This includes the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) and the Additional restrictions grant (ARG – Part A & B).

Some businesses who have physical properties may find they are eligible for BOTH, so please review the eligibility criteria carefully:

Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG)

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

  • Criteria: Additional restrictions grant (ARG)
  • To apply for the ARG Grant please click here.
  • The deadline is Monday 30th November 2020
  • Amount: £1000.00
  • This is being offered to physical businesses that previously received the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) or Local Authority Discretionary Fund (LAGF) – and you should apply to Part A.
  • Please note, the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) was the £10,000 grant offered to businesses who were in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief, back in April 2020. The Local Authority Discretionary Fund (LAGF) was available in July and August to businesses who missed out on other grants. This was extended to include those businesses whose property has an RV above £51,000, who did not receive the £25,000 Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Business Grant (RHLGF) or any other grants for ‘that business’.

Please note, for businesses with an RV of £15,000 and under, this Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) is only available to those who previously received Small Business Rate Relief. This means you met the criteria at this link – which includes only having one Business Rates liability within England or Wales etc. If you did not receive ‘Small Business Rates relief’ on your property and therefore, received the £10,000 or the £25,000 Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Business Grant (RHLGF), then you are NOT eligible for the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).

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Please get in touch if you have any issues and we will do our best to support you in finding a solution.

We know that these funds will be welcome but for many, do not cover your costs. With this in mind, we continue to lobby nationally to ensure our member businesses are supported further e.g. seeking an extension to the business rate relief beyond March 2021. We welcome your feedback on this.

Don’t forget to join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already as we regularly post helpful advice and share ideas / support. We will also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook Page – and the Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page is where we will showcase what you are now doing.

We will also be updating you in the coming week on all of our Christmas plans.

Best wishes, Steph & Alison

Grants & HR – Important Dates: 10th November

Grants & HR – Important Dates: 10th November

Grants & HR – Important Dates: 10th November

Please read on for two important updates relating to business grants and the furlough scheme.

Business Grant Update – Applications Open: November 16th

The Government has announced a new grant support package for businesses that have been forced to close due to the new Covid-19 national restrictions (November 5th, 2020).

Specifically, grants are for the following amounts:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants will be £1,334 per 28 day qualifying period
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k to £51k grants will be £2,000 per 28 day qualifying period
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants will be £3,000 per 28 day qualifying period

Eligible businesses are those that meet the following criteria:

  • have a rateable value and pay non-domestic rates (business rates)
  • have been forced to close by the government and include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses. A full list can be found on uk
  • were trading as of 4 November 2020
  • are occupying a non-domestic premises on the ratings list as of 5 November 2020

Warwick District Council will begin to accept applications for these grants week commencing 16 November 2020. Please keep checking on this page for the application forms to become available.

For more information including the criteria, please click here.

Please get in touch (info@bidleamington.com) with any questions you have and we will seek to have them answered.

 

 

HR Update – Important Deadline: November 13th 

Please see this helpful note below from our HR advisors – Absolute Works. This relates to business owners who have not yet furloughed themselves or a staff member and don’t know whether you might need to going forwards. In this case, it is recommended that an agreement is in place by the end of this week to be prepared in the case furlough is needed in future. Given the change to the flexible furlough scheme, it is also worth checking that any existing furlough agreements are sufficient for the future.

Guidance is being updated regularly so it always pays to check with your HR advisors if you have any questions. Also, if you do not have this support and this presents any questions for you please get in touch.

———Furlough Scheme Update———

We are writing to you to highlight an important deadline in terms of the furlough scheme.

If you intend to utilise the Job Retention Scheme for employees where you have not done so previously you must have an agreement in place where you intend to furlough or flexibly furlough those employees. These agreements can be made retrospectively (having effect from 1 November 2020) but only retrospective agreements put in place up to and including the 13 November 2020 may be relied on for the purposes of a CJRS claim.

What do you need to do?

If you already have in place a furlough agreement for the employees that you have furloughed or intend to furlough between now and the end of the scheme (March 2021) then check whether the agreement requires any amendments or whether your employees require a further letter/ communication to reconfirm their status.

If you do not already have a furlough agreement in place for employees you intend to furlough between now and the end of the scheme (March 2021) this need to be rectified. Please get in touch if you would like some support with this.

Other important things to note

  • Employers do not need to place all of their employees on furlough and they can fully furlough employees if they wish. Employees cannot undertake any work for their employer during the hours that the employer records them as being on furlough.
  • There is no minimum furlough period. Flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time. Employees can enter into a flexible furlough agreement more than once.

Employers can:

  • Fully furlough employees – this means the employee does no work for the employer
  • Flexibly furlough employees – this means employees can work for any amount of time, and any work pattern and claim the grant for the furloughed hours, with reference to hours the employee would usually have worked in that period

Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. When employers are making decisions in relation to the CJRS process, including deciding who to offer furlough to, employment, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.

To be eligible for the grant, employers must have confirmed to their employee (or reached a collective agreement with a trade union) in writing that they have been furloughed or flexibly furloughed.

Employers must:

  • Make sure that the agreement is consistent with employment, equality and discrimination laws
  • Keep a written record of the agreement for 5 years
  • Keep records of how many hours their employees work and the number of hours they are furloughed (for example, not working), for 6 years

The employee does not have to provide a written response and employers do not need to place all their employees on furlough. Although, it is prudent to at least obtain an acknowledgement from the employee to save any future dispute or misunderstanding.

If you have any queries, or need any support with your HR and Employment Law, please let us know.

——-ENDS ——-

Best wishes,

Steph & Alison

 

Lockdown 2 – Info, Support & Grants: 2nd November

Lockdown 2 – Info, Support & Grants: 2nd November

Lockdown 2 – Info, Support & Grants: 2nd November

Following Saturdays announcement of a further lockdown from Thursday, November 5th we know once again you face an array of information, questions, uncertainty and worry. As was the case last time, our resources and energy are entirely focused on supporting local businesses, and we have plans in place to do this.

For now, we have kept this brief as this week will be busy and we will continue to update you further in coming days. Please bookmark the following pages, as this is where we will also be posting regular updates and advice as this evolves:

Our first priority is to support you, so please get in touch if there is anything you wish to discuss. We have a variety of partners on hand who can help with any HR, furlough, financial or legal questions you may have. Related to the point below, we also offer digital support. In addition to the 80% furlough extension, further business grants have been announced here (para 4) so we have been in contact with Warwick District Council over the weekend to support the process of getting funds moving. We will update businesses as soon as we have any details.

For evening economy businesses, you may find this blog helpful. On the back of a tough summer and Christmas trading, we know the impact of this will be magnified for many and funding support will likely need to go further, so in the days ahead we will be working with local and national partners to understand and lobby for this. Your continued feedback is essential.

Secondly, we are about to launch our Christmas campaign. This will be focused on encouraging people to shop local where they can, and buying from local businesses who are online. To support this we direct customers to our www.loveleamington.com website to find out who is open, online and delivering in Leamington Town Centre. Please take a look. We are happy to link to your website, or Facebook Marketplace, Insta Shop or any online trading platform you use. Please get in touch if you need some support in this area too.

Reflecting this, here are some helpful actions for this week. Please email alison@bidleamington.com to let us know if (after Thursday 5th)…

  1. Are you ‘open’? All ‘essential businesses’ will be listed on the Love Leam website homepage.
  2. Are you ‘trading online’, offering ‘click and collect’ ‘takeaway’ and/ or ‘delivering’? Please visit www.loveleamington.com … to see if your business is listed here.
  3. Get social – and we can help magnify your efforts. Please share your content with us, ‘tag’ us and use the relevant hash-tags. We have over 25,000 followers/ likes across our platforms. Join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group. The Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page is where we showcase what you are now doing. We have nearly 13,000 followers @LeamingtonGuide and are active on Instagram – Leamington_Town_Centre. Popular Hashtags are #LoveLeam #TasteLeam #LeamDelivers.
  4. Don’t forget to tell your customers what you are doing and how much you love them and value their support.
  5. Please find attached some social media assets relating to ‘Shop Local’ and ‘Supporting Leam Online’. You are welcome to use these. We do not want Amazon to win.

Finally, we know this is an unsettling time. We are so proud of how hard we have seen businesses work, adapt, re-build and support each other – it’s amazing. However we know this takes its toll on business owners and staff. Wellbeing support for you and your team is available if you need advice, guidance or an ear, so please reach out to us or email business@warwickshire.gov.uk.

This was not the update we hoped for this morning as on balance, October has been a positive month for many. We really were bouncing back – and we will do it again. We have a variety of things planned for Christmas which we will update you on in the coming days and weeks.

For now, please consider the ‘asks’ above and please do not hesitate to pick up the phone. Alison and I are here and will do our best to signpost you to the information you need as it becomes available. You can phone us on 01926 470634 or please email: info@bidleamington.com.

We will be in touch again very soon with further information.

Best wishes,

Steph & Alison

 

GOV.UK Kickstart Scheme Details: 9th September

GOV.UK Kickstart Scheme Details: 9th September

GOV.UK Kickstart Scheme Details: 9th September

Kickstart Scheme – Are You Interested? 

A number of businesses have been in touch to find out how we may be able to support the ‘Kickstart’ scheme recently announced by the government. Details can be found here. 

The aim of the Kickstart Scheme is to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements should support the participants (young people aged 16-24) to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.

Funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.

However, critically applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. Given most of our members who are interested would not be offering 30 job placements, the government has directed interested businesses to:

  • join a group of other employers, nominating a representative for the group to submit the application
  • register their interest with existing representatives, such as local authorities, chambers of commerce or trade bodies

The idea is that the ‘representative organisation’ will check that your job placements are eligible for the Kickstart Scheme, and submit the application for funding on your behalf.

We are in contact with local partners who are supporting this, however, to support these discussions we are interested in collating data on how many BID Leamington members would be interested in recruiting and training young people (aged 16-24) via this scheme?

If interested, please read the eligibility criteria, and let us know via info@bidleamington.com:

  1. How many young people would you be interested in taking on (minimum 6 months)?
  2. What the job description / job role would be (a summary is fine for now)?
  3. If you can offer the required training and support?  

Please note: in supplying this information we will be sharing it with the Chamber of Commerce. You can also contact the Chamber of Commerce and register for this scheme directly by clicking here. 

The Department of Work & Pensions assessment process itself may take up to 1 month, once the application is submitted – and an application must have a minimum of 30 job placements, including relevant company, job and training / support details to apply, so this is unlikely to be a quick process. Also once approved, recruitment will be via a Jobcentre Plus work coach who will refer candidates. Finally, any new jobs must not replace existing or planned vacancies, or cause existing employees to lose their jobs.

Best wishes and we look forward to seeing you out and about,

Steph & Alison

 

BID Update – Support, Resources & Projects: 4th September

BID Update – Support, Resources & Projects: 4th September

BID Update – Support, Resources & Projects: 4th September

Hi everyone,

We hope you are well. Please read on to find out about a NEW Grant funding opportunity! for small retail and leisure businesses. Please note this is different to the LEP Growth Hub one we emailed you about last week (and which you may have already heard back).

Other things in this update include:

  1. Support for Business Owners and Staff – Heath & Wellbeing
  2. Stickers and Posters Still Available
  3. BID Recovery Planning & Projects, Invoicing, Highways & Next Steps

 

1.  Business Owner and Staff Health & Wellbeing

Warwickshire County Council has extended its Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to support owners and staff in town centre micro and small businesses with their health and wellbeing.

The programme will be available from Tuesday, September 1 to businesses with 10 or fewer employees operating in the towns of Warwickshire who may need help.

This includes access to information, support and guidance (including coaching and counselling where appropriate) on a wide range of topics including work, career, relationships, family, money management, debt and health and wellbeing.

Please get in touch with us or email business@warwickshire.gov.uk if you would like to learn more about this. All enquiries are confidential.

 

2.  Stickers and Posters Still Available

As well as our floral pavement stickers, we now have posters available. We are happy to drop some in if you specify which ones you need, so just drop us a line.

This includes:

  • Inside Instructions (A4 Poster)
  • Spa Space – Fill in text (A4 Poster)
  • Spa Space – Parade Safely (A4 Poster)
  • Plus – floral pavement / window stickers

 

3.  BID Recovery Planning & Projects, Invoicing, Highways and Next Steps

As always, there is a lot happening …

Projects & Marketing:

The ‘Little Book of Offers’ has just been published featuring 63 offers from local businesses and 4000 of these are going into circulation and preparation are underway for Halloween! We continue to be active on social media – communicating your news and offers to our audience of over 25,000 followers on various platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) so please continue to send or signpost your content. Our various websites also remain a source of valuable local information.

Finally, we were pleased to support The Frontline Project led by Creative Leamington, which includes a mural in Spencer Yard and a website showcasing and celebrating Covid-19 key workers and their stories. This provides a town centre destination for people to visit and reinforces the ongoing challenges. For more information please visit:

Invoicing:

Firstly, in respect to the BID annual invoice distributed in July, we wish to express our thanks to those who have paid. As explained on the invoice, there was an option to differ the payment until October, then begin a payment plan, so you may be contacted in the near further to discuss this. Please do not hesitate to make contact with us to discuss your individual circumstances also. We are very conscious that some businesses are not yet trading and we wish to do everything we can to minimise stress and help businesses get back to business at this time.

Road Closures:

We continue to gather feedback about the road closures and are in regular dialogue with Warwickshire County Council, who is controlling this – so please continue to email us your views or questions. Thank you to the 76 business who have fed back to us already. At this stage we understand the closure will be in place until the end of September, though this is being reviewed in the coming week and we will keep you updated.

Looking Forwards … Footfall and Christmas:

We know times are still strange – for us, today we would normally be on site setting up for the Food & Drink Festival. As you can see in the image below, the two footfall cameras on Parade show visitor numbers are steadily increasing but we have some way to go and remain careful.

We are now beginning to focus on Christmas and welcome any ideas about how we embrace this special time of year in new and innovative ways. We will continue to work closely with the BID Board of Directors and collaborate with local partners, including the Royal Priors, as there has never been a more important time to work together and support each other. We welcome your feedback.

THANK YOU! … as always … we remain inspired by everything we can see you doing to navigate a path forwards.

Don’t forget to join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already. We will also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook page – and the Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page is where we will showcase what you are now doing. You can also find this email update as well as previous ones on our website: www.bidleamington.com.

Best wishes and we look forward to seeing you out and about,

Steph & Alison