Agenda item - Chair's Communications
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29.1 The Chair provided the following communications:
“The intention for some time has been to launch the Greater Brighton Energy and Water Plans at this meeting and work has continued to ensure that these plans were ready for today. However, given the unprecedented times we are in we have decided to not publish these plans now and instead launch them when this Board next meets in its usual format. Furthermore, the launch of the plans was to be supported by a highly active communications campaign and resources within the Greater Brighton Communications Team. At this point we feel the priority of our individual teams should be ensuring that Greater Brighton residents and businesses have the reliable and current information they need to help them through the Covid-19 pandemic. However, that does not mean work on the plans is not continuing in the background and Ian McAulay and Geoff Raw (Chair and Vice Chair of the GB Infrastructure Panel) have begun discussing the emerging projects with Coast to Capital and how best to link these with the Local Industrial Strategy for the region.
Another item that was intended for this meeting was the unveiling of the Pitch for Place narrative for the City Region. Adam Breeze started work on this at the end of 2019 and was due to present the narrative for agreement at this meeting. As for the Energy and Water Pans, we will look to present the Greater Brighton narrative the next time this Board meets alongside the proposal for the Greater Brighton Inward Investment Desk.
As we meet virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, we are concerned for our families, friends, communities and the effects it is having on our region. Our businesses and employers are facing a challenge the likes of which we have never experienced.
The Greater Brighton Economic Board has a key role to play in supporting businesses during and following this crisis. Our Local Authorities are working hard to administer the various Government Grant schemes, to ensure that funds are distributed quickly and efficiently to businesses that desperately need this funding. We are also signposting businesses to other support mechanisms, so that businesses can access all the support that they are entitled to. In addition to the Government schemed Coast to Capital have made available a further £2m to help small businesses and social enterprises based in the LEP area.
Local Authorities are also working to support our residents, particularly those that are most vulnerable. An example of this can be seen in Crawley, where the Council have set up a major Distribution Centre at the K2 leisure centre. This is a huge effort, supported by supermarkets and local businesses, focused on getting food supplies to the vulnerable.
Our business partners and city region businesses have also been supporting businesses and residents in these difficult times. The South Downs National Park have produced an interactive map to illustrate which businesses are trading through the crisis, so that residents can search and find suppliers, deliveries and support local to where they live. Again, this is particularly important to those that are most vulnerable.
Colleagues at Ricardo are helping the NHS effort to combat Covid-19 by creating bespoke face shields for NHS healthcare staff and key workers in the care home sector. To ensure the equipment can get to frontline staff that need them as quickly as possible, Ricardo’s Technical Centre in Shoreham has been repurposed as assembly lines and logistics centres for the face shields.
These are just some of the examples of how we are working decisively to overcome the current challenge posed by the pandemic. As we emerge from the current crisis will continue to work together to ensure that we provide businesses and employers with the necessary platforms upon which they can best recover”.