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City Centre BIDs Re-Purpose Support For Local Businesses

  • Date: 26/03/2020
  • Category: General

The team behind the Cathedral Quarter and St Peters Quarter Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have announced revised ways of working to support businesses in the city centre during the current time.

The BIDs are project managed by pfbb UK Ltd, based in Iron Gate, who are in constant contact with national bodies for advice and guidance and are also sharing information with fellow BIDs across the country through the BID Foundation and the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM).

This includes Salisbury BID who experienced severe ‘lock down’ measures following the Novichok poisoning incident in 2018.

Pfbb UK director Ian Ferguson said: “It is clear that effective communication with businesses is crucial at such times.

“We are putting in place various measures so that we can support businesses in the Cathedral Quarter and St Peters Quarter as much as we can during these unprecedented times.

“Much of this will depend on virtual support and communication but we are also looking at practical measures that we can potentially introduce.

“These include providing advice and support via the BID websites and ebulletins, assistance with deliveries, linking businesses in the BID areas who are having to lay off staff with fellow businesses who are recruiting, and encouraging business to business working.

“At present, the Cathedral Quarter and St Peters Quarter BID Rangers continue to be a welcome presence on the street.

“In the event of an escalation of measures announced by the Government, their role as a vital point of contact for the businesses and a conduit between them and statutory agencies such as the police and city council will continue remotely.”

Contingency measures are also in place for the project management teams to work from home but that contact will continue with businesses via video calls, email and phone.

Plans are also being developed to set up virtual surgeries and webinar sessions covering the changing situation and offering advice on aspects such as Government funding support.

The teams have compiled and will continue to update a business continuity list to keep track of any changes in individual business operations.

This is accessible through the BID websites and will enable promotion through social media channels of services such as delivery, gift cards and online trading.

The websites will also continue to be updated with the latest information and contact details for agencies offering business support.

The moves were welcomed by the Board chairs of both BIDs.

In a joint statement, Helen Wathall, chair of St Peters Quarter, and Martin Langsdale, chair of the Cathedral Quarter said:  “We know from personal experience that businesses of all sizes and across all sectors in the city centre are having to re-purpose the way they work and the BID delivery teams are no different.

“The focus is on how best to support businesses in this area under the strategy of communication, support and promotion during these unprecedented times.

“Planned BID activities such as clean-up operations and street entertainment have had to be postponed in accordance with Government advice. Whilst this is obviously a great shame, we hope that these can be re-scheduled for later in the year.

“BID activities are largely funded by levies on businesses which relate to rateable value and which have to be sent out by Derby City Council at the same time every year under national regulations and legislation.

“BID levy bills are due to arrive with businesses over the next few days which is obviously not ideal timing. The process was underway before this situation developed and we have been advised that the process must continue in order to comply with regulations.

“However, we are in discussions with Derby City Council about taking a ‘pragmatic and flexible’ approach to levy collection so as not to add to the pressure on businesses at this difficult time.

“This is obviously a very fluid situation and businesses will be kept updated of any changes and developments. We are also keen to hear from businesses with any further suggestions of how the BID teams can support them further.”

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