Message from the CEO’s desk
Spring seems to have sprung and with it we’ve moved out of full lockdown with our High Streets re-opening and people returning back to work in some cases on a phased basis.
This last 12 months has been one of considerable change and disruption for many businesses across North Somerset and to see the re-opening of the high street, especially when the sun is shining brings an air of positivity to the area.
There will no doubt be continuing adaptations made to working environments and it is likely that some people will still need support to overcome the anxiety of returning to pre-Covid living and working – we have detailed some wellbeing links in this newsletter which may be of use to both employers and employees.
Thinking ahead, we are planning a programme of business advice sessions starting with our Legal Eagle Hour which will be led by John Hodge Solicitors plus The Hive will be welcoming people who want to use our meeting rooms in our Covid-compliant building.
Throughout the pandemic we have had to adapt our ways of working to ensure that our clients and employees are safe but since April 2020, we have supported 85 new businesses that have started trading across North Somerset and have created 102 jobs – our business advisers have seen 962 clients and we have run 11 Starting in Business courses that have involved 151 people – all done online.
We are always pleased to meet people who want to explore the idea of setting up their own business and we are here to support SME’s across North Somerset who may need business advice – just give us a call on 01934 418118 and we will help you.
Business Support and Starting in Business
We continue to be very busy supporting existing businesses as well as advising prospective businesses too. In the first three months of 2021, we have supported 28 new business start-ups with a total of 29 jobs being created.
We run a number of FREE advice clinics for businesses, and a monthly 3-day ‘Starting in Business’ course, so please make sure you visit our website to see what’s planned over the next few months.
North Somerset Business Sustainability Network
Encouraging SME’s across North Somerset realise the importance of introducing sustainable and greener work practices is something that the new North Somerset Business Sustainability Network will help with. Back in March, Angela Hicks our Chief Executive launched the Network and a range of initiatives and events will be promoted shortly. For more information about the Network, please email Angela: angela.hicks[at]nsea.biz
Weston’s Place Agency have been busy over the past couple of weeks promoting local businesses who have been busily preparing to open their doors again. Using the #SuperWeston ‘W’ brand identity many businesses have been photographed celebrating how great it is to work and live in Weston-super-Mare.
They also produced a video for the reopening of the High Street on 12 April, which you can view HERE
The Weston Placemaking Strategy can be found at www.superweston.net. Why not keep up-to-date with everything that’s being developed by the Weston Place Agency by following them:
Instagram and Twitter: @superwestonmare
300 in 100
We’ve pledged our support for Weston College’s latest apprenticeship campaign – 300 in 100, which aims to create 300 apprenticeship opportunities in just 100 days.
Following the Coronavirus pandemic, youth unemployment has risen by 13%, with a further 785,000 people under 24 years old furloughed. This campaign is seeking to create brighter futures for young people, businesses, and the wider community to help us build back better.
Also any employer who decides to hire an apprentice between 1 April- 30 September 2021 can access government incentives of up to £4,000.
For more information click HERE
National and Local Restrictions Support
The most up-to-date Government advice is available on our website with relevant links to secure the information and grants that applicable are to you and your businesses.
Opportunity North Somerset
Are you unemployed and looking for work? There’s help available with Opportunity North Somerset.
From Monday 17 May you can get direct support at Employment and Skills Hubs based throughout libraries across North Somerset. The Hubs will offer dedicated sessions with key providers offering guidance on employment, youth, digital skills, business start-ups and wellbeing.
Opportunity North Somerset is a great place to start your new journey. To find out more about your local Hub and book a session, please visit https://bit.ly/3gojDk2 or email email@example.com.
Wellbeing in the Workplace
Even though restrictions have started to be lifted and people who have been flexibly working from home during the pandemic or who have been furloughed may still need wellbeing support.
There are a number of business toolkits and resources available which may help employers and employees:
- Wellbeing resources from Business in the Community
- Thrive at Work from West of England Combined Authority
- Mental Health resources from Mental Health at Work
Individual Mental Health Support
Reopening the High Streets Safely
As part of the programme to re-open our High Street’s safely after North Somerset Council put measures in place in town centres last year, they are running a project for all businesses in high street locations to increase their sales moving through the government’s 4 step roadmap. The project will also help traders to operate safely.
Funded through HM Government and the European Regional Development Fund, the project will help businesses engage with their customers, get advice about trading safely and improve their marketing through social media. Training and support in using social media will be provided along with a local rewards scheme which will benefit all high street traders who are part of the scheme.
It is important that all eligible businesses engage with the project to maximise its effectiveness across the towns in North Somerset. There is no cost to the businesses and any business interested, should sign up with the consultants Maybe Solutions, who will be delivering the project.
Further information and the link for signing up is available HERE
Once registered, businesses will be contacted by Maybe Solutions and invited to attend online training sessions to support them in using social media to connect with their customers.
Business Info and Articles
- Green Business Grants to support SME’s from West of England Growth Hub
- Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme
- Business Innovation Fund from West of England Growth Hub
- Hundreds of FREE qualifications to boost skills and jobs
- Consultation on support for commercial tenants post-Covid
- Safe return to the workplace guidance for employers