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BID Leicester is working hard to support businesses in Leicester city centre that have been affected by measures introduced to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

The Business Improvement District (BID) has put together several resources to help businesses that face uncertainty due to the global pandemic.

The BID Leicester website is home to a daily news service  to ensure that businesses can access trustworthy and reliable information on the support available to them from government. The website allows business owners to quickly digest key information on what support measures are available, eligibility criteria and how to access funding. Regular updates are sent via e-newsletter to the 700 business in Leicester city centre who pay the BID levy to keep them up to date.

The BID has also announced an extension to the levy payment deadline for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. The BID levy is invoiced in January each year and was due to be paid by businesses before the end of February, however those sectors hit worst by the crisis have been given until 30 June to make payment.

Those businesses still trading from their city centre premises or online stores can benefit from marketing support. Thanks to a partnership between the BID and Cool As Leicester, BID levy-payers are able to access free promotion through the BID Spotlight, which is sent to over 5,000 Cool As Leicester e-newsletter subscribers each week.

The team has also compiled a list of BID businesses that continue to trade and provide essential services. This includes a list of those businesses who have online stores, takeaway and delivery services and those that offer gift cards or are registered charities that accept donations. The list, which is available on the BID website, will be promoted to customers through social media channels. A similar list is available through the Independent Leicester campaign, highlighting how members of the public can continue to support independent businesses during the lockdown.

BID Leicester is exploring producing webinars with experts and online learning courses to help businesses understand the challenges of the current crisis and offer valuable development opportunities to staff who are currently unable to work.

Operationally, the BID Leicester team is following government guidelines by working remotely. In the interest of public and staff safety, the Street Ambassador service has been suspended for four weeks, however, the rest of the BID team are available to contact by phone or email and are committed to helping businesses get the information they need.

As well as being available for local support, BID Director Simon Jenner is liaising with national bodies such as British BIDs and the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) to be a voice for Leicester city centre in lobbying central government during this unprecedented time.

Simon commented, “We understand this is a difficult time and we are supporting BID levy-payers as much as we can. Like most companies, we’ve had to make some operational changes to our team, but this won’t affect our ability to help our levy-payers. We are already in regular contact with our levy payers and are fielding queries from them. Our focus is on communicating clearly what government funding is available to businesses, and promoting those that are still trading.

“The BID has been working closely with partners and national bodies so we can continue to be a voice for Leicester businesses within the city and beyond.

“Above all, I want our businesses to know that the BID is here to support them; not only in these uncertain times, but also in assisting the economic recovery of the city centre and helping to create the best possible environment for our businesses and residents in the future.”

BID levy-payer and owner of independent chocolatier Cocoa Amore, Peter Gardener, said, “There is no denying these are worrying times for business owners, but in many ways small businesses are better suited to quickly adapt to the crisis and get through it with the help of our loyal customers.

“Thanks to BID Leicester I have been able to find clear information on support measures that can help my business through this crisis and benefitted from free advertising for my online store. I’d encourage any levy-payers who aren’t sure where to turn for support to get in touch with the BID. In times when we are struggling and need all the help we can get, organisations like BID Leicester – which exists to champion the best interest of Leicester businesses – are more relevant than ever.” To find out more on any of the initiatives mentioned in this story or to subscribe to the BID Leicester e-newsletter, get in touch with the team at info@bidleicester.co.uk

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