How Tandridge District Council can help you in your business is the topic of discussion on Friday 24 March as Chantal and Matthew presented the Business Show on Ridge Radio. This a weekly show every Friday morning at 9am whereby Chantal and Matthew discuss a different topic each week to help business owners and entrepreneurs grow their business including guest speakers.
This week’s show was all about how Tandridge District Council can help your business grow. Chantal and Matthew’s guest this week was Belinda Purcell who is the Economic Development Manager at Tandridge District Council.
Here a few of the topics covered on the show:
Is there funding for local businesses?
There is central government funding available to businesses that want to grow or take on new staff. For example, there’s currently a grant funding scheme called LEADER, which is open to rural businesses in the district and this funding can be used for say equipment or building work on a 60/40 match basis. I guess the big challenge for businesses that want to apply for this funding is that the central government application forms and application process can sometimes be a bit horrific which is why part of my role is to work with businesses as part of that application process to make it as easy as possible.
What is BID (Business Improvement Districts)?
Business Improvement District or BID as they are commonly referred to are an arrangement whereby businesses come together and decide what improvements they would like made to the BID area. This might be better marketing, making the town centre more attractive or reducing costs for businesses through central procurement. There are currently over 200 BIDs operating across the country.
BIDs are financed by the businesses in the BID area and are very much led by businesses for businesses.
As a Council, we have provided financial support to the start-up of BIDs and Oxted and Caterham and both of these were successfully voted through by the businesses in Oxted in 2015 and Caterham last year. In Oxted, the BID has since run a number of successful events, have introduced new Christmas lights, put up new hanging baskets and reduced costs for businesses through central procurement. They have also commissioned a urban redesign plan which proposes a facelift for the town centre and have been working with us to look at that could be delivered through a wider regeneration scheme for Oxted Town Centre.
In Caterham, the BID was voted through late last year and they will have their formal launch in April.
So what can the council do in practical ways to support local businesses?
As a Council we come into contact with businesses in a number of ways whether that is through planning, licensing, environmental health or business rates. One of the challenges for us is to make sure that our services are as business-friendly as possible and one of the things I’m really looking forward to doing this year is working with our planning team to introduce a service that enables businesses to have a conversation with the Council at an early stage about what it is they would like to do on their site. The idea is that we will be able to have a chat about the ‘art of the possible’ before businesses go away and spend time and money drawing up applications that are unlikely to go through. These meetings will also give us an opportunity to make them aware of any government funding that might be available to support their development.
Our business e-newsletter goes out monthly and has information about business support, grants, training opportunities, legislative changes businesses may need to be aware of – so for example changes to apprenticeships, health & safety or business rates as well as information about things happening locally whether that is town centre regeneration schemes or business events.
If you are not signed up already, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Does the council support any projects?
There is a free service which we run jointly with the NHS and other local authorities in East Surrey. The Wellbeing Prescription service allows people to book in to meet a trained Wellbeing Advisor on a 1-2-1 basis in their GP surgery.
The Wellbeing Advisor will work clients to identify their needs, give advice and signpost them to local wellbeing services.
Since the service was launched, we have helped over 1200 clients lose weight, improve their mental and emotional wellbeing, get more active, eat healthier, drink less, stop smoking and with housing, debt and social care issues. Our feedback shows that 93% of clients who have used the service have found contact useful or very useful and 78% have visited their GP less as a result.
It’s really easy to book an appointment – just contact your GP surgery and ask to book an appointment with the Wellbeing Advisor. We also offer a Wellbeing at Work service for businesses where our Wellbeing Advisors will visit your business and provide free health checks and advice for your staff. We’ve visited a number of businesses across the district and feedback has been really positive. If you want to book a visit just email us at email@example.com.
You can listen to Chantal’s radio show via the station website www.ridgeradio.co.uk or using the “tunein” app on any smart phone or tablet.
To list to this week’s show with Belinda Purcell, use the link www.mixcloud.com/chantalbaker.
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