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

  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 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:


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:

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

Steph & Alison


Update – HR & Hospitality, Highways, Recovery: 2nd July

Update – HR & Hospitality, Highways, Recovery: 2nd July

Update – HR & Hospitality Webinar, Highways, Forward Planning: 2nd July

Afternoon everyone,

We hope you are well and navigating the ups and downs over the last week OK. We understand there are mixed feelings, with the next group of businesses excited to begin opening on Saturday, but mindful of all the things they need to manage to ensure staff and customers are reassured. As detailed below, we are still navigating hastily made policy updates, so please be reassured that we are here to support you in any way we can and don’t hesitate to get in touch.

This update includes information on the following areas:

  1. HR webinar and Support (please reply with ‘Yes – HR’ if you would like us to email you the link to view the webinar)
  2. Hospitality Update including Extended Trading Space
  3. Regent St & Regent Court Businesses – Highways clarification
  4. Stickers and Posters Available
  5. BID Recovery Planning & Next Steps


 1.  HR Webinar – Support and Holiday Advice (Attached)

Please reply to this email with a ‘YES – HR’ if you would like the link to view this webinar. It is very useful and may save you money.

We delivered this in partnership with Absolute HR on Wednesday 24th of June and worked through a number of business-critical and participant questions relating to:


We took a number of important points from this including: 

  • There is a need to keep up to date records and documentation of all your decision making. HMRC can audit these for up to 6 years.
  • If you are moving staff onto the flexible furlough scheme, you will need them to sign a new employment / furlough agreement.
  • If you have not asked your staff to take their accrued holiday yet, this is something we suggest you consider for July.

This and many other useful things, including the questions below are discussed within … we have also clarified some key points relating to flexible furlough scheme dates (with worked examples), and holiday accruals in the document within this link (please click here).

Please note, whilst generic advice is helpful, we have agreed a package of more bespoke support to BID members who need it. Please get in touch if this is the case.


2.  Hospitality Update including Extended Trading Space

Please see a You tube link to the webinar that Warwickshire County Council hosted yesterday that discussed many relevant questions (e.g. licencing, risk assessments, insurance reminder, fire regulations, social distancing group checking responsibilities, keeping customer contact details – 21 days, toilet facilities, cleaning, staff PPE, what must be disposable, queue engagement, useful websites etc)

Outdoor Seating / Extended Trading

Last week the government issued guidance on outdoor seating / highways.  This stipulates a number of things that businesses will need to consider and places the onus on Local Authorities to manage permissions and licencing and in the case of Leamington, this means both the District Council (food and drink licencing) and County Council (highways / pavement licencing) are involved, as well as Police and other regulators.

We are working hard behind the scenes to ensure a proportionate approach to the application process is adopted – and we are trying to ensure this is all agreed as soon as possible. However, it is not likely that the required Local Authority processes will be in place by this Saturday 4th July. We are also working to agree a process whereby we can support Leamington Town Centre businesses.

To help us plan ahead, we would be grateful if you can let us know:

  • The date you are opening and hours? (everyone please – if not done already)
  • If you desire to have some extended trading space?
  • Are you looking to extend you trading space with tables outside? (and you do not have permission to do so already – please see below).
  • The ideal location and number of tables, the nature and timing of proposed outdoor service? e.g. food and non-alcoholic drink only, alcohol also.

We are gathering this data to try to ensure the process is as swift and smooth as possible, though we are not responsible for the final decision.

Please note, businesses who were already permitted to have tables out and trade on the pavement (or other public realm space) outside their premises can do so from this Saturday July 4th within the bounds of their existing permissions.


3.  Regent St & Regent Court Businesses – Highways clarification

Although the Parade is closed from 7am – 7pm daily, the junction of Parade / Regent Street has a marshal and remains accessible to all types of delivery vehicles who need to access businesses in the ‘closed area’ including vehicles that need to access Regent Court. The disabled parking spaces in this zone are also available to blue badge holders.

If you need to access this area for delivery, re-stocking, waste, disabled parking etc please do the following:

  • Drive along Regent Street the correct direction (one way from West to East)
  • Ask the marshal at the barrier to let you pass over the Parade
  • When passing over Parade, please drive very slowly and be cautious about pedestrians and bikes passing up and down Parade
  • Continue through the closed area no faster than 5 miles / hr

We are not sure how long these measures will be in place for and are happy to collect your feedback.


 4.  Stickers and Posters Available

As well as our floral pavement and window 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



5.  BID Recovery Planning, Support, Next Steps including BID levy & Annual Report

As always, there is a lot going on behind the scenes and we are working closely with the BID Board of Directors. As well as navigating the short term we are also putting longer term plans in place. This work involves collaborating across multiple Local Authorities and stakeholder organisations and we have adapted the Institute of Place Management 4 stage framework (which we also helped contribute to) to aid this – please see below. You can read more about this in our 2019-2020 Annual Report.

Also, as our BID Members know, our activity is business funded via a levy payment that is issued by Warwick District Council (the accountable body) in early July each year. We wish to let our members know that although you will receive this soon, you will also see in the associated documentation that variable payment terms are available.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss this. 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.

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.

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

Steph & Alison


GOV.UK Update, Risk Information & Opening Resources: 11th June

GOV.UK Update, Risk Information & Opening Resources: 11th June

GOV.UK Update, Risk Information & Opening Resources: 11th June

Hi everyone,

We are excited to be nearing the date when many businesses will gradually open and we know there is a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes to prepare. Firstly, my apologies for the length of this – as detailed below, we found out the date of the highways changes tonight (while writing) so this is now briefly included (with more to follow soon). Please use the key below to identify information relevant to you:

  1. Preparing to Return – Government Guidance
  2. Risk Assessments
  3. Highways Changes / Road Closures / Deliveries / Free Parking – Please READ (Closures coming next week)
  4. Public Realm Management – Pavement & Window Stickers and Posters
  5. HR / Bringing People Back – Webinar coming …


1.  Preparing to Return – Government Guidance

No doubt you will have seen a range of industry specific literature and advice relating to businesses opening considerations and requirements. The following GOV.UK website links, are being constantly updated and are a clear and accurate source of information. The PDF summary of the ‘shops and branches’ guidance can be downloaded by clicking here.

UK.GOV Guidance for a wide range of other sectors, activities and questions can also be found by clicking the following UK.GOV web links (right click, open hyperlink):


2.  Risk Assessments – Please do an assessment and display the ‘Retail Display Poster’ at the link below.

Employers have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures, and must work with any other employers or contractors sharing the workplace so that everybody’s health and safety is protected. Using relevant guidance (above) you are required to make a step by step assessment of potential risks posed by COVID-19 in your workplace and the measures taken to mitigate them. If you have not already done so, an assessment should be made as soon as possible.

Once done, you should share the results of your risk assessment with your workforce. If possible, you should consider publishing the results on your website

We also recommend that you display this poster (please see the link) in your workplace, to show you have followed this guidance. Please click here (PDF). 


Help Writing a Risk Assessment:

A number of people have asked us for advice on how to write a risk assessment, including templates and examples. We suggest the following steps:

      1. Identify hazards
      2. Assess the risks
      3. Control the risks
      4. Record your findings
      5. Review the controls
Risk Assessment Examples and Templates:
  • We are happy to provide a risk assessment template from the HSE as well as one with some example Covid-19 wording (word doc – please email us if this would help?). Please note, your risk assessment must always be specific to your business.
  • You can also find other specific examples as follows (PDF links, right click, open hyperlink):
  • We advise you take a methodical approach, speak to others including your staff to inform your understanding of relevant risks, and please feel free to speak to us


3.  Highways Changes / Road Closures / Deliveries

 Changes are Coming …

We have just been informed that Warwickshire County Council plan to close a number of roads in the town centre in advance of businesses re-opening on Monday 15th June. That means closures will be installed on the evening of Sunday 14th. 

The closure, is much like the one that is put in place on Sundays at Christmas and includes:

  • The Parade between Clarendon Avenue and Regent Grove.
  • Warwick Street between Tavistock Street and Guy Street.
  • Regent Street between Bedford Street and Park Street.

The scheme also involves:

  • The temporary suspension of some on-street parking on one side of Park Street, parts of Warwick St, Bedford St, and Regent Grove.
  • Reducing Bath Street to a single lane of traffic.
Business Impact and Support:

Recently, a huge amount of time has been spent engaging with Warwickshire County Council on their plans. A number of sensible changes to the original plans have been negotiated. Among the issues we are stressing, is the importance of retaining  access to the ‘closed area’ for the loading, delivery and collection. This includes: any kind of cars, vans and trucks needed to re-stock businesses, any kind of delivery (UPs, Courier, Post, Food, Products etc) and any kind of collection (Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Own vehicles etc) as we know businesses are all heavily reliant on this. We are also considering click and collect, areas to extend trading, disabled parking, bus routing and more.

As of today, important aspects of the proposals need improvement. After feeding this back, Warwick District Council have stepped in to help us where we need it – and we are very grateful. Our absolute priority is to make this transition as safe, smooth and welcoming as possible.

As a part of this, we will be setting up a process for you to easily feedback any questions or concerns. For their part, the County Council have said they are flexible and will adapt plans if needed.

Free Parking!

As well as supporting the town centre with the road closures, Warwick District Council have also announced FREE Parking in off-street car parks until the 1st of August. With respect to this, we would be grateful if you can encourage your staff to use ‘multi-story’ car parks (St Peters or Covent Garden), so that surface, shorter stay car park spaces are free for customers.


4.  Public Realm Management – Stickers and Posters

We are happy to supply you:

  • Floral Social Distancing Pavement Stickers (with and without text)
  • Floral ‘Please Queue here’ Window Stickers
  • Floral ‘We’re Open’ Window Stickers

Also, we have some helpful store posters and social medial images coming your way soon to direct customers and foster a sense of kindness and understanding as we transition forwards. That is for another email though … In the meantime, please let us know if you would like any of the above? Guidance on queueing and ‘sticker placement’ is also attached.  



5.  HR / Bringing People Back … Webinar Coming

As we transition into the next phase of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for furloughed staff on the 1st July, we know that a number of questions will arise. As before, please get in touch if you need any specific HR advice as our support arrangement with Absolute Works HR continues. They are working with us to prepare a ‘return to work’ support package – coming soon.

Also, we are planning a webinar with Absolute Works that will include a Q&A and round table discussion on practical HR and Employment law issues and the CJRS (furlough scheme). Please watch this space for the invitation. In the meantime, please email us any immediate questions you have …

Phew  … We need some flowers now …

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.

Best wishes and we look forward to seeing you soon,

Steph & Alison

PPE & Public Realm Resources, plus Survey: 6th May

PPE & Public Realm Resources, plus Survey: 6th May

PPE & Public Realm Resources plus Survey

We hope you are all safe and well.

We know that businesses are beginning to prepare for ‘life after lockdown’ in some form. We are also actively working on a town centre recovery plan with our partners, which includes managing the public realm to ensure customers feel safe and welcome.


Emerging Guidance & PPE Resources

Though detailed government guidance is not yet available, some industry groups have issued preliminary guidance, such as the British Retail Consortium (BRC) whose advice for retail stores can be found by clicking here. They have also issued some helpful Q&A guidance which practical information relating to kits, staff, customers, inside and outside the store liabilities, and have guidance on warehousing and distribution spaces too.

Generally, this suggests the use of hand sanitiser, counter screens, floor marking and various types of PPE (personal protective equipment). Recognising growing demand, the government has issued a warning that some products may run out, so we are thinking about this now. We are also aware of the need to find collective cost savings, so are exploring the option of bulk purchasing some products, but this will depend on demand and consistency of needs.

Reflecting this, we have compiled some summary information and a short survey, to help us understand your potential needs.

Please find attached:

  1. BID summary document (PPE Resources – click here) including details of local suppliers and some specialist suppliers, from further afield who we have previously worked with.


Survey – Business Supplies & Support:

If you are interested in bulk buying / delivery opportunities or bespoke floral floor graphics or angel wings (see below), please fill in this short survey. Please complete this by Sunday 10th May, so we can action this accordingly first thing next week.

Please note, we can make no promises on the supply of products mentioned in this survey but will do our very best to accommodate or signpost identified needs. However, if you are concerned about timing on items (e.g. bespoke counter screens) we encourage you to make contact with relevant suppliers soon.

By completing this survey, you will help us to:

  1. Anticipate demand, so we can explore bulk buying options on your behalf;
  2. Identify high quality local suppliers that you can source products from;
  3. Help to ensure consistency of products and messages around the town centre to aid customers;
  4. Potentially reduce costs and the carbon footprint by coordinating delivery;
  5. Identify other areas where support is needed.

Public Realm: Floral Social Distancing Stickers & NHS Angel Wings

As you will see attached and within the survey, we are preparing to install some bespoke floral floor graphics in public realm areas to highlight social distancing needs AND importantly, to provide a welcoming environment in our town centre. We have sourced these from a specialist placemaking company called ‘City Dressing’ and want to understand the wider demand for these so we can consider additional purchasing options. We are also exploring the idea of ‘Angel Wings’ window graphics and would value your feedback via the survey above.


Other Updates:


Raise the Bar

Many thanks to the businesses who have supported this, particularly Nigel from Status Menswear and Matt from the Royal Pug, who provided case studies for local and national press. We continue to work hard on lobbying government. The petition now has nearly 15,000 signatures!


Extended Government Support

On Saturday 2nd of May, the government announced a discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. This equates to a further £617 million pounds of business support. We are still awaiting details of funding criteria and will be in touch as soon as we know. You can read about the scheme by clicking here.


BID Funding

On Friday 1st May, the government announced Business Improvement Districts will receive a share of 6.1 million in funding to help high streets and town centres through the pandemic. This recognises the role BIDs like ourselves are playing, offering hands-on support to those businesses affected, including advisory services, increased security to protect businesses that have closed, and providing key intelligence to local and central government on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on their local economies. We are still awaiting details of this funding, but welcome this, as it will be invested directly into supporting our members and the town centre during these challenging economic times. You can read about the scheme by clicking here.


Stay Up to Date & Follow Us

Please 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. Stay tuned as next week we are going digital with a podcast and Zoom interview which will be shared on Facebook.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with Steph or Alison on if you have any queries and we will be in touch again soon.

Best wishes and stay safe.

Free Online Courses

Free Online Courses

We know that working from home is not an option for the majority of us at the moment. To help support you and your staff, we have found and would like to share with you some of the very best FREE online training courses. These are just a few of the options available to you and there are plenty more to choose from should you wish to search google!

This is a great opportunity to take your professional skills to the next level, develop new skills and gain new qualifications with the flexibility to study at your own pace with no strict deadlines or timetabling.

Google Digital Garage-
Discover a range of free learning content designed to help grow your business or jump-start your career with Google Digital Garage. You can learn by selecting individual modules, or dive right in and take an entire course end-to-end depending on which course you choose!

HMRC are delivering a programme of webinars on measures to support employers, employees and the self-employed through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. Come and watch a video of the recorded webinar on the HMRC YouTube channel Coronavirus – (COVID-19): helping employers to support employee.

Take your professional skills to the next level with free, online training from HubSpot Academy. From quick, practical courses to comprehensive certifications, learn everything you need to know about the most sought-after business skills.

Learn new marketing skills with Facebook Blueprint! Build your digital marketing knowledge, boost your career and add value to your company with free online training, resources and certifications.

Britvic Sensational Drinks spoke to their partners to see what they can do to help you during this time and they have offered Free Courses to those in the hospitality industry.

WCG are offering a number of online courses that’s will help you develop your skills in a number of different areas.

Halesowen BID-
The Halesowen BID has teamed up with local training provider ‘Market Smarter’ to offer FREE courses to the people of Halesowen, from customer service, IT skills and much more.

Improve your Instagram Skills by completing this FREE Instagram Mini Course! Discover the 3 secrets to organically DOUBLING your leads, clients and sales in 2020!

Plus….. YouTube- is literally FULL of free content to help businesses with anything imaginable.

Please keep in touch and share your online courses with us, as we are stronger together.

Best wishes and stay safe,
Steph and Alison.