Now that businesses are re-opening and things are beginning to get back onto an even keel, we are turning our attention to how we can support Otley’s businesses going forward as part of the town’s overall Covid-19 Recovery Plan. We are therefore resurrecting our Monthly Updates which will be communicated here on our website, as well as via email and our social media platforms.
If you are not on our email database and would like to receive these updates straight to your inbox, please send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talk to the Team – Monthly Zoom Meetings
As you can see from this month’s update we’ve been busy during lockdown and throughout this year. With lockdown we have been unable to make our usual visits to businesses and as all our businesses begin to get back to our new normal, and there are still restrictions in place with number of people in shops, wearing masks, track and trace, etc we have been thinking of ways we can work smarter and still keep in touch with you.
One of the ideas we’ve come up with is to have a Monthly Zoom Drop in Meeting. You will get to meet a different member of our volunteer Director team each month and ask them questions, run ideas by us, get involved in projects etc.
These will be held on the 1st Monday of each Month from 12noon to 1pm. The first 3 meetings are as follows:
- Monday 7th June : Tom Hatley (Chair)
- Monday 5th July : Sally Hinchliffe
- Monday 2nd August : Elspeth Harrow
The meetings will be advertised in advance via email, social media and on our website…so watch this space and we look forward to meeting you!
To join in the first meeting on Monday 7th June with Tom Hatley just drop us an email to email@example.com and we will email you the Zoom link.
Buy in Otley Bags
During May we designed, printed and distributed 3,000 new Buy in Otley recyclable carrier bags around mainly the retail sector businesses. These bags were fully funded by the BID and were distributed to those businesses who requested them and had the ability to circulate them quite quickly to their customers to get the message out that Otley is open for business!
Our aim was to have shoppers walking around Otley with these carrier bags, and also re-using them on subsequent shopping trips.
The demand for the bags was a lot bigger than we anticipated. On one hand this was fantastic because we had so many businesses wanting a supply of the bags, but on the other hand we had to reduce the quantity of bags per business to what we had originally anticipated. Also, due to the high demand we had to close the Order Form after less than 24 hours so we are aware that some businesses sadly missed out on this occasion.
We are currently working on a further supply of these bags, as well as a smaller version, with the idea of buying them in bulk and selling them to businesses at a reduced cost with the BID contributing to the funding.
Once we have more information we will publish it via our email and social media channels. If you would like to be added to our database to ensure you receive such emails straight to your Inbox, please send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free Business Training
We recently released our first quarter’s Free Business Training workshops which were resurrected after we regrettably had to cancel them last year due to the Covid lockdown.
The response to the first workshop “How to Future Proof Your Business and Grow Online” was good, however, we unfortunately didn’t meet the minimum numbers to allow us to run the following 2 workshops “Mental Health Awareness” and “Health & Safety – Introduction into the Workplace”, so sadly these had to be cancelled.
We subsequently sent out a Survey with the aim of fully understanding the reason behind the lack of uptake, eg. was it the day, time, duration, topic or something else?
Thank you to the 13 people who completed the survey. From the results this has revealed the following:
- Monday evenings are the most popular day and time
- 5 hour sessions were the most popular duration
- The most popular topics were:
- Emergency First Aid at Work (Certificated)
- Small Business Employment Law
- Marketing Fundamentals for Small Businesses
- From other comments received we have also deduced that the timing for these sessions wasn’t quite right, with business owners quite rightly busy prioritising getting back to work and supporting their clients and customers.
We have therefore concluded that it would be make sense to postpone any future training workshops until September, when hopefully the stress of getting businesses back up and running post-Covid will have calmed down, and a mixture of face to face and Zoom sessions can resume.
We will publish our revised 2021 Free Training Calendar once we have agreed new dates/times etc with the training providers.
Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant
We published a reminder last week that applications for the 4th SEISS grant closed on 1st June 2021.
The Government’s website advises that there will be a 5th, and probably final, grant covering May 2021 to September 2021. The application date is to be advised in due course and we will update you once we’re aware.
This grant is for self-employed people who have suffered a ‘significant reduction in trading profits, due to reduced business activity, capacity, demand or inability to trade due to Coronavirus
To keep up to date keep checking back to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme
Know Your Rights
Back in 2019 (pre-Covid) we worked with 2 businesses in the town to help resolve building repair disputes which had come to light.
We were pleased to have helped these businesses free of charge, to quickly resolve the disputes with their landlords. We just wanted to remind business owners that this confidential support service is still available.
Here’s some kind words that one of the business owners sent us after we had helped her understand her rights:
“After years of a leaking roof and failed attempts from the landlord to do the necessary repairs, I am very grateful that Otley BID offered to step in and offer their assistance. I have had to close on several occasions due to the leaks being so bad which is devastating for any small business! After Otley BID wrote to the landlord directly, the work was undertaken in a matter of days and my business was back in full working order. This aspect of assistance to a local business from the BID is a most welcome contribution, one that I hadn’t realised was available until they visited me. Thank you again.”
Laura Collier – Ottah’s Leah
If your business is suffering in silence we can help. Please contact email@example.com if you need free confidential advice or assistance.
East of Otley Development
The proposed East of Otley Development Based is likely to impact on many of our levy paying businesses and so we felt it was appropriate for Otley BID to outline our observations.
You can read our Statement as well as the link to the official Planning Documents here – https://otleybid.co.uk/east-of-otley-development/
Free Property Development & Planning Advice
We recently offered to help Weegmanns with some of the challenges they were having with their planning application for the ex-Nat West building in Manor Square.
We were delighted to put Weegmanns in touch with Tony Clegg (former Head of Planning at LCC) who has made suggestions to resolve the issues which should help achieve a positive planning outcome.
Tony is happy to advise other business owners who are struggling to navigate the planning process. If you would like more information about this free support, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer of Live Music
A group of local music venues and music enthusiasts have been meeting over the last two months to establish the Otley Music Alliance – with the aim of promoting and growing all kinds of live music in Otley, sharing information, and growing audiences (both from the town and further afield). The longer term aim is to establish Otley firmly in people’s minds as a music destination town.
Their first project, under the banner Otley Live!, is to organise a weekend of music events over the Yorkshire Day weekend (30th & 31st July and 1st August 2021) – all kinds of music in all kinds of venues around town, for all kinds of audiences.
The venues involved so far are Woolpack Recording Studios, Black Horse, Otley Taps, The Rookery, and Otley Courthouse as well as local promoters and musicians – other venues are welcome to get involved.
Acts are already pencilled in and the organisers (David at Otley Courthouse and Jen at the Woolpack Studios) are now contacting local musicians to fill daytime slots
We are looking at ways we can support this fantastic initiative going forward.
Kids Summer Holiday Fun
We are delighted to announce that the Kids Entertainment during the Summer holidays is back…bigger and better than before!
These events are aimed at bringing families into the town on a Wednesday when normally there is no market and traditionally it is quiet with very little footfall.
We have again collaborated with Breeze who will facilitate and manage the events which will be held in the Market Place every Wednesday during the school holidays:
- 28th July
- 4th August
- 11th August
- 18th August
- 25th August
This year we are looking to include a variety of fun activities for school children of all ages, eg.:
- Arts and crafts
- Performance Zone where we have a covered stage which will deliver activities such as children’s book readings, dance workshops, kids entertainers, amateur/young performers and live music
- Interactive Sports Play such as Archery, Target Shooting etc.
As soon as we have everything confirmed we will advertise the event with local schools and also post updates on our social media and on email.
We would encourage you to advertise the event and also think about how you can encourage these families to visit your business during this time by promoting special events, offers etc.
We’re Here to Help
Is there anything that you are bursting to tell us that we should be doing? Don’t keep ideas to yourself, speak to us, we may be able to make your idea a reality. Please email us at email@example.com.