Millions paid to help keep businesses afloat CommsTeamRSS 7 April 2020
South Norfolk and Broadland Council have already distributed over £18 million of funding to help local businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus lockdown.
Staff at the councils have been working non-stop to support over 1,500 businesses in the two districts to apply for one of the two Government grants that help to cover operational costs. In the last 24 hours alone, the councils have received a further 540 applications, which will all be processed before Easter.
The two grants available through the local authorities’ websites are the Small Business Grant Fund, which provides £10,000 as a one-off grant to help small business owners meet their operating costs and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, which provides grants at levels of £10,000 and £25,000 (linked to the level of rates on the business premises).
The Councils’ Director of Place, Phil Courtier said:
“This is an incredibly challenging time for our local businesses, but there is help available and we are working as quickly as possible to get that help out there.
“We have written to every business we believe is eligible for a grant. But there are many businesses we know of that have not come forward. If you think you are eligible, then I urge you to get in touch with our team or complete the online form. As soon as we have the information we need, we can get the payment processed.”
Over 4,500 businesses in the districts are eligible for funding and over the past week, the councils have been inundated with calls.
The staff are really going the extra mile to ensure that businesses in need get the help they deserve. One of the councils’ Economic Development Team Sarah Cooke, recently helped a family struggling to fill out the form for the small business grant.
She said: “English was not the family’s first language and their young son was translating on behalf of his parents. Together we got through the form and completed it and they now have the support they need to get them through this national crisis. I was so impressed by the young boy and was really thrilled to help this lovely family at what must be an incredibly stressful time.”
The councils’ business support staff are also advising business owners on which of the other forms of Government support might be appropriate to help them through this difficult period.
The grants are part of a package of help offered by the Government, for a full list of all the help available, please visit www.gov.uk/
For more information and to find out if you are eligible for either of the grants, please visit the councils’ websites.
Keeping spirits up in Costessey CommsTeamRSS 6 April 2020
A South Norfolk community are going above and beyond to help people and offer support to each other during the coronavirus lockdown. A volunteer team, led by local Councillor Sharon Blundell has been working with South Norfolk and Broadland Council’s Help Hub to answer hundreds of calls for support, with volunteers queueing for shopping and collecting medication.
However, the team based in Queen's Hill, have gone a step further, running community competitions through their Facebook page, giving away hundreds of Easter Eggs, supplying bulk food items to those in need and generally keeping up morale during this difficult time.
Louise Simmonds, the Councils’ Help Hub lead for Costessey, said:
“Sharon and her family are doing such amazing work to help residents and key workers in their community. Working with them and their fantastic group of volunteers has been brilliant.
“Every request for help has been answered in such a positive way and reacted to immediately. We really appreciate all their efforts and those of the volunteers.
“People are taking their valuable time to help others, queueing up for shopping and medication which is wonderful. But the extra proactive help, supplies and treats that the Blundell family are helping to provide are just excellent and raise spirits and boost morale.“
Sharon Blundell, who is co-ordinating the volunteer group, said:
“The volunteers have helped over 100 households which have come through the freephone number or have been referred to us by the Council. The volunteers have gone above and beyond what a normal volunteer does and I am very proud to be a resident of Costessey.”
The Blundell family have also turned their home into a shop for the residents of Queen's Hill, offering bulk orders of Buxton Farm potatoes and Wayland Free Range Egg. With Sharon’s children and extended family delivering the potatoes and eggs to the people in isolation. The volunteer group were also given one hundred packs of chilled chips and sweet potatoes from Sainsbury's to distribute to those in need.
Wilko in Norwich and Debenhams in Bury St Edmunds donated hundreds of Easter Eggs, which were used as prizes for a children’s drawing competition on their Facebook page. Over 80 children entered and each child won an Easter Egg. All the entries will be going to Brooklands Care Home for the 63 residents.
Sharon said: “We also held a cooking competition on Facebook, with eight people winning an Easter Egg, we even gave a Easter Egg to the most tried (it was a disaster!).”
Key workers living in Queen's Hill were also given a treat, with 250 NHS staff all receiving an Easter Egg on their doorstep.
Louise added, “This is such a fantastic example of the community working hard to help each other out and keep spirits up – thank you for this amazing effort!”
For more information, please visit Queen's Hills Community Covid-19 Mutual Aid Facebook page, or for help with any aspect of the coronavirus lockdown, please on call 0344 8008020.
Local businesses answer the call to arms CommsTeamRSS 31 March 2020
Smurfitt Kappa are the latest local businesses to offer their help to South Norfolk and Broadland Councils in the fight against Coronavirus.
The company based in Long Stratton has worked with their supplier Bar Services to donate two pallets of boxes, which will be filled by Council staff with essential items, such as tinned food and loo roll. The boxes will be distributed through the Councils’ Help Hub by volunteers to the elderly and vulnerable who are self-isolating.
Pasta Foods in Costessey also recently donated 800kg of pasta and St Giles Gin Company in Spixworth have sold the councils 200 litres of hand sanitiser at cost.
Assistant Director of Individuals and Families, Mike Pursehouse, who is co-ordinating the efforts, said:
“There’s a fantastic sense of community spirit in our districts, with hundreds of volunteers all doing their bit and making a difference. It’s fantastic to see businesses getting involved. These donations will directly help vulnerable people in our community. If you are a business and can help with services, vehicles or other resources, we would love to hear from you.”
If you can help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Housing team steps up to support Australian resident stranded in Broadland Jack.Edwards 30 March 2020Released On DateOriginally released on 30/03/2020
After a British Expat’s flight home was cancelled, Broadland and South Norfolk Councils’ housing team went the extra mile to find her emergency accommodation.
Mrs Johnson, 70, had come back to the UK to visit friends in Lingwood and was due to fly back to Australia on 21 March.
Unfortunately, the day before she was due to return home, Australia closed its borders to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
When her hosts then needed to self-isolate, Mrs Johnson was left stranded without any suitable accommodation and she called Broadland and South Norfolk Councils’ housing team to see what support was available.
Having lived outside the UK for more than 10 years, she wasn’t eligible for traditional housing support. However, the housing team were quickly able to identify special funding for those affected by the coronavirus outbreak that meant they were able to help.
Mrs Johnson was given temporary accommodation where she will be able to self-isolate, until it is safe for her to return home to her daughter and grandchildren.
The Housing Team is continuing to look for any additional support they might be able to offer Mrs Johnson during her enforced stay.
Help Hubs are making a real difference CommsTeamRSS 29 March 2020
South Norfolk and Broadland District Council are helping thousands of residents in need. Their Help Hub took over 2,500 calls last week from residents across the two districts struggling to cope with the effects of the coronavrius lockdown.
The Hub is helping to co-ordinate volunteer efforts and directing people to further support and advice. Many of the Council’s staff from other teams and departments have been drafted in to help with the volume of calls.
Assistant Director of Individuals and Families, Mike Pursehouse is co-ordinating the efforts, he said:
“Our call centre has been incredibly busy, with hundreds of people contacting us desperate for support. I’ve been overwhelmed by the amazing sense of community out there. Volunteers have been working tirelessly and selflessly throughout our districts, queuing up to collect prescriptions and getting essential shopping. They say communities are dying, but not here, it’s brought the best out of people, as we join together to support our elderly and vulnerable. Thank you to everyone who is doing their bit.”
Thanks to the Help Hub, in just one week, volunteers were able to directly support 500 vulnerable people with essential shopping and collecting medication. The team were also on hand to answer hundreds of other queries and provide helpful advice.
From Monday, residents across Norfolk can contact a central number if you need help: 03448008020