BID Update 15.04.20: Grants update, Shop Local Bognor Regis, BID Levy bills and an important message from Sussex Police.
Update on Small Business and Retail and Hospitality Grant Schemes
Arun District Council Business Rates Department have been working hard to get the grant payments to eligible businesses, and we have heard that some businesses have already received theirs. It’s incredibly difficult, but if you have submitted your business’s details but not yet received the payment, please be assured that they are still processing them.
An update from Nigel Lynn, Chief Executive of Arun District Council earlier today gives an idea of the scale of the task and processes involved in getting the grant funding to businesses:
• 3,360 businesses in the Arun District are likely to be eligible for grants, subject to audit checks.
• As of 14th April, 1585 applications had been received
• As of 14th April, eligible businesses had been paid to the value of £1.66m
• A further 318 businesses have been verified for payment this week to the value of £5.1m.
• This figure is likely to increase over the course of the week as applications are verified.
If your business is eligible, but you haven’t applied yet, you can now do so online: https://www1.arun.gov.uk/external/Revenues_CoronavirusBusinessGrant.ofml
Shop Local Bognor Regis
We’ve had a fantastic start, with 15 businesses already listed on the BID’s new “online high street” for Bognor Regis: www.shoplocalbognorregis.co.uk .
It’s a simple way for all BID Area businesses, groups and organisations to show what adapted services they’re offering during Coronavirus social-distancing rules, to help customers and clients connect with you in one, easy to find place.
The site isn’t just for retailers - the big vision is for it to be a community asset in a time of crisis, so we want to hear from any businesses, groups, or charities have moved their services to online or telephone, or set up a Youtube channel, or are supporting the community and can offer help.
Churches can list, medical centres can list, solicitors and accountants can list, marketing companies can list, the town council can list, traders from Bognor General market can list, even if your business is currently closed you can still list and point people towards your social media.
If you missed yesterday’s update, you’ll find all the information about how to list here:
Do I still have to pay my BID Levy bill?
We've had a number of enquiries from businesses about their BID Levy bills for 2020-21. There has been some understandable confusion as to whether the twelve month Business Rates "holiday" also applies to the BID Levy, as the amount of levy is linked to a business property's Rateable Value.
BID Levy bills were issued to eligible businesses before the restrictions were imposed, with a payment date of today, 15th April. National bodies representing BIDs across England and Wales have approached the UK government to ask for support, but there hasn’t yet been any clear response. This means that the bills issued before the lockdown are still valid, and due for payment.
The Bognor Regis BID is continuing to support our businesses through the effects of the pandemic, making sure you have the information you need to help you get through. We worked closely with Arun District Council to make sure the information you were sent about the grants was clear and comprehensive so your applications could be processed as quickly and efficiently as possible. We’ve created resources to help you assess your financial situation, and documents for furloughing staff.
The BID has ensured that the Community Warden has continued to work full time, adding visual checks of properties to make sure your business premises are safe whilst you can’t be there, and the BCRP Manager has managed to arrange additional Warden cover for Bognor Regis. The BCRP Manager continue to working closely with BCRP Businesses to make sure they have the support they need in this pressurised trading environment.
In order to protect funds to make sure we can be here for you when the restrictions are lifted, we’ve had to make the difficult decision to furlough a key staff member, but we’re still here for you, helping you individually and collectively as we all try to adapt to very difficult circumstances. We’re offering opportunities to showcase your businesses whilst we’re in lockdown, and actively working on plans for the “return” to encourage footfall safely back into the town centre.
We are still here for you, working to support you, and facing the same challenges as you and your businesses. We really hope you’ll continue to support the BID.
An important message from Sussex Police
Local businesses are being urged to ensure their premises are sufficiently protected during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Sussex Police believe there could be an increase in organised acquisitive crime across the county – including burglaries of business premises – and have increased police patrols and proactive targeting of known local criminals. Officers are also advising residents to make sure that their valuables are secure, especially as warmer weather may well result in opportunistic crooks taking advantage of properties left insecure. You can find crime prevention advice for protecting your business from the inside out and keeping high value items safe at home on the Sussex Police website.
Detective Chief Inspector Alasdair Henry, burglary prevention lead for Sussex Police, said: “We take burglary very seriously. Staff across the force are working hard to prevent an increase in burglary and we are ready to respond to any spikes in such criminality.
"We are urging business owners to ensure that they have sufficient and robust security features in place and that they are in full working order. Security cameras should be checked and owners need to make sure that any service doors are both secure and locked. Don't store cash in premises whilst they are closed.
"Owners of high value jewellery are encouraged to ensure it is securely locked away in the house, ideally in a safe or similar secure storage, rather than being left in drawers or cupboards. Residents should ensure that doors to their homes are kept locked, especially overnight, but also when they might be out enjoying their gardens, and that they have measures in place to keep their residence secure.
"It is vital that we all work together to disrupt organised crime and prevent opportunistic burglaries. Our Sussex Police website provides some excellent detailed advice on how to protect your property from crime.
“Please do not hesitate to report suspicious activity to us. This includes reporting people trying to sell items that you suspect are stolen. If you have any information concerning burglary or people selling stolen goods please get in touch with us immediately online or by calling 101. You can also report anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111
"In an emergency, such as a crime in progress, please dial 999.”
Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner said: “It is important to remember at this time that, whilst our police officers are having to provide support to protect the capacity of the NHS, they are still committed to protecting our communities because criminals are not staying at home.
“As many businesses have been forced to close due to the ‘lockdown’, the vacant premises are more vulnerable to being targeted by criminals seeking to make a profit from this pandemic. So, I’m urging business owners to heed the preventative advice that Sussex Police have released today and take simple measures to better protect themselves and their livelihood.
“The police are still there for us when we need them most, so if you see something suspicious or have been a victim of any crime type, please still report.”
Whilst Clair is temporarily furloughed, and I am working from home, you can still contact me by email: email@example.com, by phone: 07917 692690 or through Zoom meeting software. The software is free to download and works across a wide range of platforms – phones, tablets, PC’s, Macs. If you’d like a virtual face to face, please invite: firstname.lastname@example.org Kindest regards, Heather Heather Allen, BR BID Co-Ordinator Whilst Clair is temporarily furloughed, and I am working from home, you can still contact me by email: email@example.com, by phone: 07917 692690 or through Zoom meeting software. The software is free to download and works across a wide range of platforms – phones, tablets, PC’s, Macs. If you’d like a virtual face to face, please invite: firstname.lastname@example.org Kindest regards, Heather Heather Allen, BR BID Co-Ordinator