Spelthorne Win National Award
18th October 2022
Spelthorne Council’s work supporting the Borough’s businesses has been honoured at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Local Government Awards, named the All-England winner of the Future Ready category and the regional winner in the All Round Small Business Friendly category.
The Future Ready award related to any activity to support and enable businesses to be prepared for the changing business landscape, to mitigate challenges or exploit opportunities in the future. The all-round small business category related to projects which have positively succeeded in supporting and developing the local small business community. Congratulations to the All-England winner, North East Lincolnshire Council.
The Council were shortlisted for the South East in the Covid 19 Support and Recovery category. Congratulations to Tandridge District Council on being the regional winner and to Lewisham Council for being All-England winner. Spelthorne were also nominated in the programme of Business Support. We extend our congratulations to Dover District Council on being the regional winner and to Hambleton District Council on the All-England trophy.
Over the past 12 months, the Council’s Economic Development team has focused on supporting businesses through the Coronavirus pandemic and, now, helping them recover in the background of a cost of living crisis. There has been a wide range of schemes the Council has offered to Spelthorne businesses, including the way the Council used the Additional Restrictions Grant. Rather than just providing it as a cash grant, Spelthorne focused the funds on providing direct support for businesses. Grants included:
- Equipment purchase grant – providing up to 90% of the cost of new equipment, helping businesses become more resilient
- Shopfront grant – covering up to 90% of the costs if any retail business could demonstrate they needed an upgrade
- ARG5 grant – for those businesses who had not received grant funding
- Omicron grant – supporting the hospitality and leisure industry
Spelthorne also generated several support initiatives, including implementing business skills workshops, 121 business coaching, digital media training for business as well as supplying free websites for several local businesses.
As a council, we have been able to fund a number of FSB memberships to some of our small businesses. Given the limited number of these memberships available, these were specifically targeted as businesses who stood to gain the most from an FSB membership but whose business was not able to be able to fund the membership themselves.
In 2021, we opened the Spelthorne Business Hub. The Hub provides a space for the business community to exchange ideas and grow together. It also provides a venue for businesses to meet clients. This hub is aimed at helping to grow and support the long-term future of our fledgling businesses giving them the opportunity to realise their potential within the safety net of our support and guidance.
Cllr Sinead Mooney, Chair of the Economic Development Committee, said: “I am delighted that the work our Economic Development team have done over the past 12 months has been rewarded. The Council adopted a holistic approach during the Coronavirus pandemic, working to protect our most vulnerable businesses. However, we viewed that it wasn’t enough to merely provide a temporary cash relief to these businesses. Instead, the Council looked to provide them a platform that enables them to grow, while also building in additional resilience to deal with whatever challenges they may face in the future.”
Ray Abrahams, Development Manager for the FSB in Surrey, said: “I’d like to congratulate Spelthorne on being named the All-England winner in the Future-Ready category and the South East regional winner in the All-Round business support category at the FSB Awards, as well as being shortlisted in the Covid support & Recovery and Programme of Business Support categories. The team at Spelthorne have worked incredibly hard over the past 12 months to support local businesses and can take pride in their efforts in the knowledge that their work is recognised alongside the best in the country. I look forward to seeing the next steps they take in supporting businesses.”