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Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Lead
We’re usually providing award-winning IT support to national and international retail and hospitality customers, but this time our latest client had quite a different challenge for us.
We were contracted by Nottingham City Council with a very important project. The project brief explained that they needed us to reach out to local independent businesses on Nottingham’s high streets as they started to re-open, with retail reopening on 15th June and then hospitality on 4th July. Whilst our Help Desk usually provide IT support to retail shops, hospitality vendors and head office environments 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, they can also take on projects, too – perfect for when you’ve got a short-term issue that needs specialist support.
Partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the UK government, vital messages about reopening needed to be shared quickly with as many businesses in Nottingham as possible. At the same time, the availability of additional support for businesses, such as government support grants available to businesses who had been negatively impacted by COVID-19, needed to be communicated to ensure businesses could survive the pandemic and have every opportunity to thrive after it.
In just 3 weeks, we put together a team on behalf of Nottingham City Council to contact hundreds of qualifying businesses to advise them on safely re-opening and to ensure they were aware and able to access vital additional support. Using our experience within retail to underpin these conversations, we supported businesses within the city of Nottingham, providing advice and directing them to key grants that could help them to re-open their doors.
Robert Dixon, Head of Business Growth for Nottingham City Council, said: “Supporting our city’s economy during this pandemic has been a key priority for Nottingham City Council, and it was the right decision to work with Retail Assist to be absolutely sure local businesses were able to access the right support as quickly as possible. We needed our independent businesses and small high street businesses – which are such a huge part of Nottingham’s character – to be able to re-open safely and get central government support to maintain their presence on our high streets.
“If an extra 200 businesses accessed support, including grants, and that helped them to re-open safely, that’s a massive boost for our local economy. With more and more businesses re-opening in our city centre, it also provides reassurance to local people that they can come back into Nottingham safely.”
Dan Smith, our Chief Executive Officer, added: “Every small business that re-opens is another influence on footfall within the local economy, and another step forward in getting ‘back to normal’. We are extremely proud to have our head office in Nottingham and this work had a feel-good element as we were able to support the city. We are all delighted with the success of this project and the positive impact it will bring to Nottingham.”
Nottingham received £294,601 from a total of £50m of funding being provided from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and, in London, the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.
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