Following Government advice, regretfully we have cancelled networking events until further notice.

This includes the postponement of April’s AGM. We will assess the situation in late April to see if it can be held in May, but it may be that we cannot hold it until mid-summer. We hope that BoA Business members will accept this decision, which is not taken lightly. 

All of us are going to be impacted in one way or another. In the immediate future, our restaurants, pubs and cafes are going to most severely hit, but it is also essential that, as far as possible, we support our other local traders and retailers.

We will update this page in the next week or so and pass on any other advice, news etc that may be of help. In the meantime, we need to look after each other, and ourselves.

LUCY MILLAR, Chair.

SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES

We are all concerned about the ramifications of Covid-19 for our families, friends, employment and businesses. There are more and more websites offering advice, but we believe the best source of primary advice must be from the Government, NHS and Public Health England websites. 

The Wiltshire Council website is also a strong source of information. Go to: http://wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-coronavirus

The Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) is also a useful source of information, but above all, ideas and help that is available to businesses, particularly through the SWLEP Growth Hub.

This note was circulated on 16 March by the SWLEP Director, Paddy Bradley:

“To safeguard the vulnerable, and to care for the ill whilst researching the virus requires a coordinated response, and all of our buy in. We wanted to highlight some of the ways we’re all working together to help local businesses during this difficult period.

“The Growth Hub has launched a COVID19 support page where all the latest news, announcements and advice can be found (https://growthhub.swlep.co.uk/topics/Coronavirus_COVID19). This is the first port of call for local business and national news updates. We ask that, if you haven’t already, register for free with the Growth Hub to keep up to date with announcements and advice, and share this message with family, friends and other members of the business community who are worried about this crisis.

“The Budget announced a £12 billion plan to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses, whose finances are affected by COVID-19. For individuals this includes extending Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for those advised to self-isolate, and those caring for others who self-isolate, also support through the welfare system for those who cannot claim SSP, as well as a hardship fund.

“Finally, the government will support businesses that experience increased costs or disruptions to their cash flow. This includes expanded Business Rates reliefs, a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support up to a further £1 billion lending to SMEs, a £2.2 billion grant scheme for small businesses, and a dedicated helpline for those who need a deferral period on their tax liabilities.

“There is no mistaking the challenges we face at this moment. Working together we can rise to meet these challenges.”