Last week Brighton Chamber and the Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership held an online event, City Event: Getting Brighton up and running. The panel included representatives of Brighton City Council, local business organisations and transport. This was incredibly informative and I took away a great sense of optimism and deeper understanding of what local organisations are doing to support Brighton’s recovery from the impact of Coronavirus. So what is going on in Brighton?
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Last week’s City Event was particularly good and a reassuring look at what measures are being taken to protect the residents of Brighton, whilst looking to the future and how we as a community can overcome the challenges that we are currently experiencing and those yet to come.
I was live tweeting and you can check out the @BrightonChamber Twitter account to see the thread or #CityEvent.
The event was expertly chaired by Dean Orgill of Mayo Wynne Baxter and the panelists were:
- Cllr Nancy Platts, Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council.
- Nick Hibberd, Executive Director, Economy Environment & Culture, Brighton & Hove City Council.
- Gavin Stewart, CEO, Brighton Business Improvement District (Brilliant Brighton) and Executive Director of the Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership.
- Martin Harris, CEO, Brighton & Hove Bus Company.
- Sarah Springford, CEO at Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce.
12 key points from the Brighton #CityEvent.
- Everyone recognised and appreciated the hard work of key workers, charities, community organisations, council workers, employees and businesses to help keep Brighton safe during the height of the pandemic lockdown. This was an empathetic panel and the Council representatives especially appreciated that policy needs to be well in line with public feeling and take into account the anxieties that the people of Brighton are trying to deal with.
2. Brighton City Council are working hard to try and get grants, such as from the Discretionary Grant Fund, to businesses who need them; even seeking out those that they think could be taking advantage of grants but may not be aware of them. They are also lobbying to ensure money is allocated to where it can help local businesses the most and Nancy asks that we support them in doing that.
Another organisation that can help your business to find funding, grants and resources is Coast to Capital, they are well worth getting in touch with and can help you for free.
3. Everyone is working really hard to manage safety and introduce new practices that help keep the city safe, whilst opening up Brighton and its businesses again. They are doing this by trying to change messages that are going out about the city and implement safe working practices but, as Nick notes, people cannot be forced to follow protocols. A sub committee has been created by the Council to focus on recovery.
4. Culture, retail and hospitality sectors are a big deal in Brighton and the shorter term challenge is to focus on recovery for these businesses.
That email address, if you are a hospitality business and have proposals and suggestions for additional space, is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. High streets all over the country are going to look very different post-Covid. Things were going this way anyway but lockdown has sped up the process.
6. It’s time to re-think Brighton, in a number of different ways. Whether that is thinking of the city as “an event” or taking a different approach to health and transport.
7. It’s worth noting that not everyone is able to wear a mask on public transport, although you are asked to please wear a mask if you can.
8. We are looking towards a low carbon future for Brighton and Brighton and Hove Buses are still moving ahead with the introduction of more low carbon vehicles later this year.
9. Sarah gave a thoughtful overview of what businesses in the city are experiencing and their attitudes to an uncertain future ahead. She stresses how businesses need the support of local politicians now to lobby on their behalf and how important it is that we stick together and support one another.
10. With redundancies occurring and more to come, it is important to offer support to those who have lost their jobs to help them re-skill or start their own business.
11. There are unanswered questions presently about how businesses will be supported by the government as they come out of the furlough scheme…
12. And finally, what were the panel’s positive hopes for the future?
And that’s it! Fair to say my fingers were on fire after all this live tweeting!
What are your thoughts on the future of Brighton, the residents and the businesses? Do you feel optimistic? And what questions are still presently left unanswered?
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