Chamber column Saltash Observer – January
Well, what a start to the New Year! Who would have a guessed that so much would have
happened between Christmas and the beginning of 2021! Wishing you all a Happy New Year
seems a bit obsolete now we have ended up in a lockdown until at least the middle of
February but I’ll do it just the same.
For many small businesses, weeks of lockdown can mean a definite shift in the dynamics of
how they work but it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. At our January Chamber meeting
it was heartening to hear some good news stories of new partnership working taking off
between two Saltash businesses; a great start to the new year for a franchise company
offering new opportunities for many made redundant in the first lockdown, and an exciting
venture for a local translator which could open up important new export partnerships for
In order to make sure Saltash companies are using all there is available to their advantage,
here are a few tips which could come in handy in these uncertain times:
Help from Government
If you’re struggling to know what help you are entitled to or if new support packages have
become available in this third lockdown then you need this Government tool. Just go through
the questions step-by-step and it will give you a list of your options at the end. If you have
already received help from Cornwall Council via a grant in the first lockdown, this will
automatically be sent to you in this lockdown too: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-
Help to transform and innovate
During the various guises of lockdown that we had, I’ve been blown away by the new ideas
and ways businesses have found to keep themselves going. From offering a new ‘click and
collect’ service, developing a vital social media presence, to shifting an entire businesses
online, it’s those decisions which have meant businesses sink or swim. The Cornwall and Isles
of Scilly Growth Hub is a one-stop shop to help businesses innovate and offer advice and
support free of charge while helping businesses review their skills and training needs. And
they are asking businesses to find #anhourtoskill this January to see how they can reset and
recharge their businesses. You can call the Skills Hub on 01209 708660 or register online
at www.ciosgrowthhub.com/the-growth-hub for free and impartial advice.
Kickstart your business this year…
At a recent meeting Darren Buckler from Cornwall Chamber was updating us on the success
they’d had with placing 30 young people into employment with a host of Cornish companies
further down in Cornwall using the Kickstart. An apprenticeship scheme to get the long-term
unemployed young people into work with their salary paid by the Government, it’s a great way
of gaining additional manpower without the headache. And it’s a rolling process that is set to
continue this year, so if you think your business could benefit from taking on a young person
then get in touch with us for more information.
Local Restrictions Grants
Local Restrictions Support Grants have been announced as part of the 4.6 billion in new
lockdown grants from the government. Eligible businesses include importantly those who
haven’t received help before; non mandated but severely affected businesses; new businesses
and different structures (such as CICs), and large businesses with over £51,000 rateable value.
The grants available are between £667 and £1,500 for every 14 days that the restrictions
apply. The amount is determined by the rateable value of the property you occupy. If you
think you qualify then find out more by going to the Cornwall Council’s
page https://cutt.ly/sjcvYse .
Membership this year
At our AGM in October we decided that this year would be beneficial to cut our membership
fees so that they wouldn’t be a hurdle to new businesses joining up. So for the coming year,
there will be no fee payable to become a Chamber member. So what do you get? As we’re
now an affiliate member of Cornwall Chamber you will have access to all their services and
that is going to be hugely beneficial in the year to come with a host of events and virtual
business fairs. We have a regular Chamber meeting every first Monday of the month which
also means that you have a say in decisions that directly impact our community. So, if ever
there was a year to join us, it’s this one!
On a final note…
Our Honorary President Bill Cotton and myself had the pleasure in December of delivering the
best-dressed window awards which is customary for that time of year. The main award went
to Donna from Eclectic at Home for her amazing Christmas fireside scene unanimously
decided during our Window Wanderland walkabout with the Lord Mayor of Plymouth and his
Consort and Saltash Mayor Pete Samuels and his consort Brenda Samuels. Tracey at The
Bookshelf was a very popular and equally unanimous recipient of the Children’s Choice for
her Mary Poppins on skis scene.
Let’s hope that this time next year, we would have had a more ‘normal’ Christmas season, but
in the meantime, Saltash Chamber is ‘Here to Help’ businesses and retailers in our town.