Support for our tenants
It’s just over a month since we rolled out a raft of measures to support our small retail businesses who were impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Since then, myself and my team have been busy responding to those of you who have been in touch, looking at each scenario on a case-by-case basis to see how we can support each business. At such a challenging time, these conversations have shown what we can achieve when we work collaboratively. We have a brilliant retail community within the town, illustrated perfectly by how so many of you are adapting your business models to continue trading. Working together we will find the right solutions.
If you have temporarily closed your business during this period, it is important that you regularly check that your building is safe and secure. Our buildings insurer Zurich has created a useful guide for business owners who have had to close. Although we have increased our security patrols around our estate, it’s important that you carry out checks to ensure your premises are secure.
Please get in touch
The best way for us to help you is for you to get in touch with us via email email@example.com or call the property team on 01462 350530.
Government grants are here
Our initial focus was to offer support while the financial assistance promised by the government came through to help cover the costs of running your business such as rent, rates and other overheads. We are pleased to see that the small business and retail and leisure grants are now being distributed by North Herts District Council (NHDC). The Job Retention Scheme is also now in place to pay the salaries of furloughed staff.
It’s important that you contact NHDC directly to find out if you can access this funding. Some grants have already been awarded, so if you haven’t made contact, I would urge you to visit their website to find out what help is available.
Bounce Back Loans
On 27 April, the Chancellor announced a new loan scheme for businesses, who will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. These loans will be interest-free for 12 months and businesses can access the cash within days. The loans will be available from Monday 4 May and the emphasis is on making the process as easy as possible, with simple eligibility criteria. Read more
The government’s website has a number of useful documents available for employers as well as information packs that can be shared with your employees. Further guidance on the measures available to UK businesses and employees can also be found on the government’s business support website
Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
The LEP have teamed up with other partners such as the Chamber of Commerce and Herts County Council to ensure a joined-up approach to support businesses across the county. The Hertfordshire Growth Hub has a useful dedicated resource page. You can also complete a quick questionnaire where you will be asked how the crisis is affecting your business and what support you need.
Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
The CBI has created a coronavirus hub where advice and guidance is available. Among other things, they have a daily webinar which breaks down the latest updates from the government, information on financial assistance available to businesses impacted by coronavirus and how you can support your employees.
Community Support from the Foundation
We’ve recently launched a COVID-19 grant for local charities and organisations who are working with Letchworth residents impacted by the outbreak. Grants are available ranging from £200 - £8,000. A separate strand of funding is available for Letchworth based charities whose fundraising income has been affected by this crisis. If you know of an organisation who could benefit from this please do direct them to our website.
This grant funding is only possible thanks to the income generated from our property portfolio, so thank you again to everyone who has been in touch so far. You may not be aware of the work that we do with our income – last year we awarded £214,000 in grants to support dozens of organisations across the town including clubs, charities and individuals.
Additionally, our Community Response Team is supporting our most vulnerable residents in the town. If you know of anyone who is isolated or vulnerable and may not be able to get out to pick up shopping and medical supplies, you can contact the team via our dedicated team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01462 530350.
We have made steady progress over the last month and are pleased to be able to give some of the town’s most vulnerable businesses some breathing space while the government’s financial support was put in place. We are here to work with you, so please get in touch so we can discuss an action plan for your business. In this time of great uncertainty, we are here to work with you to find a way forward.