Our work to support residents across the district who may need additional help continues. The aim is to complete safe and well checks and also identify any additional support needs, such as food shopping, prescription collection, pet care or social interaction. To date 1,600 successful phone calls have been made to ensure support is in place.
New business grants
The government’s announced a new grant scheme for businesses who’ve not benefited from the previous funding we’ve given out. This new scheme aims to support small businesses which have seen significant reductions in income and still have to pay high fixed property costs, for example ongoing rent. While it’s up to us to decide exactly which businesses are eligible and how much money each business will get, there is Government guidance to follow. We’re working up details of the local scheme as a high priority. Once details are confirmed, we’ll be publicising on our website and social media, and asking eligible businesses to apply.
Through the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, we’re able to offer local businesses free membership of the ShopAppy app. This is a shopping platform that helps small independent businesses operate online. Eligible businesses have their fees are paid for 12 months and there are reduced transaction fees too. This is part of our work to support local businesses.
Town centre changes
We’re looking at the changes that our town centres need so that they can reopen fully and accommodate social distancing. Some of the different things that are being looked at include widening footpaths to accommodate queues for entry to shops, closing off some roads to traffic and signage. This is a major piece of work that will bring in lots of different parts of the organisation and partners, but will help support the local economy as lockdown continues to ease.
Our trades team continue to focus on carrying out emergency repairs for our tenants. Emergency repairs are when there’s an urgent health and safety risk. Completing these repairs ensures tenants are safe and properties are secure. The team is also working hard to repair void properties. Bringing void properties back to a letting standard will allow us to provide homes to vulnerable residents who are potentially at risk of homelessness. This is a vital service, especially given the economic upheaval we’re seeing. We continue to review all the services we’re able to provide, in line with the latest government advice.