On Friday, the Government announced the ‘Welcome Back’. The £56m fund has been put in place to for high streets and coastal areas to enliven these areas.
Measures to support a safe and successful reopening of our treasured high streets and seaside resorts ahead of a great summer were announced on 20th March by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick.
We have always pushed for more opportunities for our members and to grow the independent sector and have continued to do so during the pandemic since it began. This has come in various forms from through meals for the NHS to partnerships with pubs to outlining the fact that mobile businesses can work anywhere, can enliven towns and cities, villages, and parks.
Throughout the pandemic, we have continuously asked the Government and LGA to support our sector. That regulations and licensing should be made flexible, that al fresco options should be available for bricks and mortar businesses to expand capacities and that markets made up of mobile caterers should be able to be set up more easily.
There is no shadow of a doubt that independent food & drink businesses; both mobile and bricks & mortar, play a key role in community and economic growth. That local and independent businesses are growing and that although the pandemic has created economic uncertainties, out of crisis comes opportunity and entrepreneurs will-out.
The £56 million Welcome Back Fund will help councils boost tourism, improve green spaces, and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups, invest in street planting and seating areas, run publicity campaigns and prepare to hold events – giving people more safer options to reunite with friends and relatives.
Communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, said ‘Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely.
’As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much.’
Cllr David Renard, economy spokesperson for the Local Government Association said: ‘We pleased that this is a more flexible fund and that councils are able to make decisions on how it is used in their local area to maximise the impact.’
Food & drink working hand and with retail is the way forward when it comes to enlivening our town & cities again throughout the summer, it is key to re-awakening the high street and brining people back together safely.
You are a part of this and as such, we would urge you to contact your local authorities to be part of this. Here is a list of the new measures that have been announced and the actions you can take right now:
What do the new measures mean?
- To make sure that businesses can make the most of the summer, businesses such as pubs and restaurants, including where these premises are in listed buildings, will be allowed to use their land more flexibly to set up marquees and provide more outdoor space for diners as restrictions ease, allowing them to serve more customers and recover from the effects of the pandemic. They can be kept up for the whole summer rather than the 28 days currently permitted.
- Caps on private parking fines for millions of motorists are also set to be introduced. This will give drivers more confidence in heading into town knowing they won’t be unfairly penalised by rogue operators
The funding can also be used by councils to:
- Boost the look and feel of their high streets by investing in street planting, parks, green spaces and seating areas to make high streets as beautiful and welcoming as possible
- Run publicity campaigns and prepare to hold events like street markets and festivals to support local businesses
- Install signage and floor markings to encourage social distancing and safety
- Improve high streets and town centres by planting flowers or removing graffiti
What action can you take now?
- You can apply for a pavement licence if you want to extend your bricks & mortar business (bar, restaurant, venue etc)
- Read about pavement licensing: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pavement-licences-draft-guidance/draft-guidance-pavement-licences-outdoor-seating-proposal
- example of how to apply for a pavement licence: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/20083/general_licensing_applications/2216/pavement_licences/5 just search pavement licence on your local authority website.
- Write to your local authority and MP asking for opportunities to trade using our template
- Check to see whether your local authority is part of the first 70 to be given the additional funding here.
Get in touch with your local authority and ask for opportunities to set up a market, pop up or event as part of the Welcome Back fund using the template letter here. https://www.ncass.org.uk/opportunities-to-trade-for-mobile-caterers/
- Write to your MP and ask for opportunities to trade as towns and cities open up again.
- Get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org tell us what your experience has been with your local authority.