Council pays nearly £6 million in grants to local businesses

Lichfield District Council has paid £5,905,000 in emergency small business grants to 490 qualifying businesses.

The council has contacted around 1,560 businesses that it believes are eligible for either a small business grant of £10,000 or a retail, hospitality and leisure business grant of up to £25,000.

Of these, hundreds of businesses have responded to the council’s request for information to enable payments to be made, and the grants are being paid as quickly as possible.

However, many have not responded yet, so the council is urging local businesses to check the eligibility criteria on its website, and if they are eligible to email economicdevelopment@lichfielddc.gov.uk to ensure they can access the vital support.

Councillor Iain Eadie, Cabinet Member for Investment, Economic Growth & Tourism, said: “The government has made grant funding available to help support local businesses financially at this difficult time.

“We are responsible for getting this much needed grant money to eligible businesses as swiftly as possible. Having paid almost 500 grants already, while processing the remaining payments, we need to get the message out to businesses across the district who haven’t contacted us yet, to get in touch with us by email if they think they may be eligible for a grant. Around £19 million of financial support is available for our eligible businesses.

“If you are involved in a business in the retail, leisure or hospitality sectors, please make sure you have a look at the information on who is eligible. There is funding of up to £25,000 on offer which could be vital in helping keeping businesses going. We can’t make grant payments unless business owners get in touch with us.”

To find out more, including the full eligibility criteria for the grants and information about other support that is available to businesses, please visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/supportingbusiness.

Council extends free parking to all key workers

Lichfield District Council is adding all key workers to the people who can park for free in its city centre car parks.

In March, Lichfield District Council offered all NHS staff, health and social care workers and NHS volunteers the use of its car parks for free when they are using them in connection with work.

From tomorrow (8 April 2020), the council is adding all key workers, who need to park in the city centre to access their place of work, to the list of people who qualify to use its car parks for free.

This includes people who work in banks, food shops and other essential businesses. All workers need to do is display a letter, which has their company’s logo on it, on their car’s dashboard.

Councillor Iain Eadie, Cabinet Member for Investment, Economic Growth & Tourism, said: “While everyone should work from home wherever they can, we know there are people whom the government has defined as essential workers, who still have to have go out to perform their duties.

“We previously introduced free parking for NHS workers and are pleased to be extending this same free parking in our car parks to all essential workers.

“It’s important we support the effort to keep essential services and shops running and we hope this will be of some help.”

If you are unsure if you qualify for the free parking, or of what you need to display in your vehicle to show your entitlement, please email parking@lichfielddc.gov.uk with your enquiry.

Anyone who has already paid for a car parking season ticket, who now qualifies for the free parking, can email a picture of their pass, which has been cut in half, to parking@lichfielddc.gov.uk for a refund.

Alternatively, they can post their complete pass to the council to receive a refund. The address is: Parking Season Ticket, Lichfield District Council, Reliant Way, Burntwood Business Park Zone 2, Burntwood WS7 3JH.

The free parking only applies to the car parks that Lichfield District Council manages. These can be found at www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/carparkmap.

 

Council tax hardship relief for 1,630 households

In line with the government’s budget announcement in March, Lichfield District Council is working to make sure the council tax hardship fund supports local households that are on a low income.

In its latest budget, the government announced it would provide local authorities in England with £500 million hardship funding, to support those who are most economically vulnerable during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Lichfield District Council will be using the majority of this hardship fund to provide residents, who are of working age and already receive council tax support, with up to £150 off their council tax bills over the 2020 to 2021 financial year.

It will apply this reduction automatically and will be sending a new council tax bill to the 1,630 households that are eligible for the extra help, as of 1 April 2020.

The council has also set aside a portion of the government funding for any new council tax support claims it may receive.

Councillor Andy Smith, Cabinet Member for Customer Services and Innovation, said: “The current lock down situation is understandably causing financial concerns for many of our residents.

“We welcome the additional hardship grant funding from the government, which will help us to provide some valuable financial support to households most in need at this time.”

In addition to the hardship fund, local households on a low income may be eligible for a reduction in the council tax they pay through the council’s existing council tax reduction scheme.

Households that are not eligible for support, can also consider a number of options, including spreading their payments or delaying them to the end of the financial tax year.

To find out more information, visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/hardshipfund.

Central England Co-op and Lichfield District Council launch first of its kind scheme to get food and essentials to vulnerable people

Picture: Alex Cantrill-Jones / ACJ Media

Central England Co-op and Lichfield District Council launch first of its kind scheme to get food and essentials to vulnerable people

Central England Co-op has teamed up with Lichfield District Council to trail a ground-breaking project aimed at getting vital food and essentials to vulnerable members of the local community.

The retailer, which has two stores and its head office in the city, will link up with council workers to create a community hub at its Boley Park Food Store.

Lichfield District Council will identify vulnerable community members, gather orders and pass them onto the store. Central England Co-op colleagues will then create a package and take payment from the customer over the phone before the local authority delivers the goods.

To make sure the council, in partnership with Central England Co-op, can help as many vulnerable people as possible, it is asking for residents who are self-isolating due to COVID-19 symptoms and do not have any outside help, to call them to access the emergency shopping service and other support. The number to call is 0333 220 3088, which is available from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

This scheme is the first of its kind in the country and, if successful, could lead to the creation of similar projects based out of Central England Co-op community hub stores across the 16 counties it trades in and even farther afield on a national scale.

Debbie Robinson, Chief Executive of Central England Co-op, said: “Co-operation is key to our communities coming together during this uncertain time and this is why we have linked up with Lichfield District Council to launch this pioneering scheme during this uncertain time.

“This unique project will see the council contact vulnerable people in the community and work with us to deliver food and essentials to them.

“This is a great example of communities and organisations coming together at a time of need and creating a solution that will make a difference.

“We have no doubt that this will be a success and have further plans in place to rapidly roll out this out across other locations to make sure we support as many people as we can.”

Councillor Ashley Yeates, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Housing, said: “We’re really pleased to be part of this trial and look forward to helping our residents who are most in need.

“As we have limited capacity, we are prioritising this service for our residents across the district who are self-isolating and have no one who can help them with their shopping and essential items.

“This is a great example of local government and the private sector coming together in difficult times to offer innovative solutions to support the local community.”

Councillor Doug Pullen, Leader of Lichfield District Council, said: “I am proud of all those playing a part in this new scheme and, after participating in a training session remotely, I will be joining council officers in phoning residents who may be at risk to see if we can help them. This is a huge group effort and it’s all hands on deck to help our residents in this time of need.”

The council will not be asking for any payment information when they make the initial call. To find out more, visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/coronavirushelp.

 

About Central England Co-operative

 Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral, travel and property investment.

Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish.

Our 7,900 colleagues serve Members and customers work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.

We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.3 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.

Visit www.centralengland.coop for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

Phone – 01543 421390

Email – publicrelations@centralengland.coop