• Covid -19 Information

Covid -19 Information

Covid-19 - All the latest information, news and guidance

On our dedicated Covid-19 page you will find everything you need to know from the latest news, information, support and guidance to keep all visitors, employers and employees up to date and ensure Swindon town centre remains a safe place to visit and work.

It is important that as a community we support one another, both for the protection of our health but also the protection of the economy. We remind people to following the guidelines when visiting the town centre, to #LoveLocal and support our local businesses.

Behind the scenes the inSwindon BID team are continuing to work closely with businesses in Swindon Town Centre to provide advice and support and ensure the town centre will remain a destination of choice for shopping, business and leisure. #ShineOnSwindon

For all the latest information and updates, please continue to our Latest News section below.

#StaySafeSwindon

inSwindon BID Company

LATEST NEWS

26th November 2020

Full list of local restriction tiers by area - Swindon have been placed in Tier 2 (High Alert)

Decisions on which area goes into which tier are primarily based on 5 key epidemiological indicators:

  • case detection rates in all age groups
  • case detection rates in the over-60s
  • the rate at which cases are rising or falling
  • positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken)
  • pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy

The indicators are designed to provide a full picture of what is happening with the virus in any area so that suitable action can be taken.

Find out more information on tiers, including what you can and cannot do in each tier.

For the full list of areas and restrictions, visit: gov.uk

23rd November 2020

National restrictions will come to an end on 2nd December and will be replaced with a revised local three-tiered system.

Local restrictions: Everything you need to know about the three-tiered system can be found at gov.uk

Across all tiers:

  • must wear a face covering in most indoor public settings, unless they have an exemption
  • should follow the rules on meeting others safely
  • should attend school or college as normal, unless they are self-isolating. Schools, universities, colleges and early years settings remain open in all tiers
  • should walk or cycle where possible, plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes when travelling
  • must follow the gathering limits at their tier except for in specific settings and circumstances. These exemptions are detailed at the end of this guidance

Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, and window visits. Regular testing will be offered to up to 2 family members or friends per resident by Christmas, which – when combined with other infection-control measures such as PPE – will support indoor visits with physical contact. Detailed guidance will be published shortly.

All businesses and venues that are open are expected to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers. In all tiers, the following businesses and venues can remain open:

  • essential and non-essential retail, including indoor and outdoor markets and car boot sales
  • certain leisure and sporting facilities such as gyms, sports courts and facilities, leisure centres, fitness and dance studios, golf courses, swimming pools, riding centres, outdoor playgrounds – subject to relevant social contact rules in each tier. Indoor group activities and classes should not take place at tier 3
  • personal care and close contact services such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, nail salons, spas and beauty services, massage parlours and tanning salons
  • public buildings, such as libraries, community centres and halls. They should not host events for private hire, such as birthday parties or most other social activities in tier 3
  • allotments, recycling and waste centres, public toilets, car parks
  • essential public services such as the NHS and medical services, courts, and jobcentre plus sites
  • places of worship – communal worship can now resume, subject to relevant social contact rules in each tier

Everyone who can work from home should do so. Where people cannot do so – including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing – they should continue to travel to their workplace. Public-sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary.

23rd November 2020

Covid-19 queuing recommendations for the safe opening of businesses

To assist our town centre businesses operate as safely and efficiently as possible, we have created recommendations for you to adopt when your business can reopen.

19th November 2020

GRANTS AVAILABLE FOR BUSINESSES IN SWINDON IMPACTED BY NATIONAL COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

Eligible firms in Swindon who have been affected by national COVID-19 restrictions can now apply for the next set of government grants being processed by Swindon Borough Council.

More than £30m has already been distributed to businesses on behalf of the Government and applications for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) and the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) are now open.

Eligible businesses which have been impacted by the national restrictions can receive grant payments for the period between 5 November to 2 December 2020.

The LRSG scheme is aimed at supporting businesses which have been mandated to close since 5 November and have live business rates accounts with the Council, even if rate relief has been awarded. Unlike the previous scheme, there is no upper limit for business rates values.

Businesses who can apply include those providing direct, in-person services on their premises, including those which have found alternative, safe methods of trading such as new takeaway services from a restaurant. Levels of funding for these grants are set by the Government and will be allocated to eligible applicants based on the business property’s rateable value.

Applications for the LRSG scheme are open until 5pm on Wednesday, 2 December 2020.

Alternatively, the ARG scheme aims to support small businesses which are not eligible for the LRSG scheme but have lost income since 4 November due to the national restrictions. Businesses which are eligible for this scheme do not need to have a live business rates account.

The ARG scheme is open for applications until 5pm on Friday, 11 December 2020.

Full guidance, criteria and application forms for both schemes can be found on the Council’s website at: www.swindon.gov.uk/covidbusiness

Businesses can apply with a simple online form and grant payments will be made as quickly as possible once applications have been approved.

Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “We know these are challenging times for many businesses, but our officers are working incredibly hard to get this money into eligible firms’ bank accounts as soon as possible.

“I would urge any business which is facing financial challenges as a result of the pandemic to head to our website and see if you might be eligible for one of these grants. Here, you’ll also find plenty of other advice and places to go for the support you need.”


5th November 2020

Government extends Furlough to March 2021 and increases self-employed support.

Workers across the United Kingdom will benefit from increased support with a five-month extension of the furlough scheme into Spring 2021, the Chancellor announced today, 5 November.

  • businesses and people across the UK given certainty over winter months with further support announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak
  • the furlough scheme will now be extended until the end of March – protecting millions of jobs across all nations
  • the next self-employed income support grant will also increase from 55% to 80% of average profits - up to £7,500

Read the full news story here

5th November 2020

National restrictions for England during the second lockdown will apply from Thursday 5th November 2020 until Wednesday 2nd December 2020.


BUSINESSES PROVIDING ESSENTIAL GOODS AND SERVICES

A number of businesses across Swindon Town Centre will remain open throughout the 2020 November lockdown, to provide essential goods and services. We will update the list regularly, but please also visit their websites for the most up-to-date information.


BUSINESSES PROVIDING ONLINE OR CLICK AND COLLECT SERVICES

A number of businesses are providing online or click and collect services only, throughout the November 2020 lockdown. We will update this list regularly, but please visit their website for the most up-to-date information.


BUSINESSES PROVIDING TAKEAWAY AND DELIVERY SERVICES

A number of food and beverage businesses will remain open for delivery and take away only, throughout the November 2020 lockdown. We will update this list regularly, but please visit their website for the most up-to-date information.


HEALTH & WELLBEING

Health & Wellbeing services may be closed for walk-ins but continue to provide help, advice, support and appointments. Please check websites for details.

31st October 2020

PM, Boris Johnson sets out new four week national restrictions that will apply from Thursday 5th November across England.

Information on the new national restrictions, including what they mean for working from home and business closures, why they are being introduced and the financial support available. The full guidance is available at gov.uk.

The new measures will apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2 December. After which, the Government will look at returning to a regional approach, based on the latest data.

The full content of the guidance includes:

1. Stay at home

This means you must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes.

2. Staying safe outside the home (Social Distancing)

You should minimise time spent outside your home and when around other people ensure that you are two metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble.

3. Meeting with family and friends

You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household - meaning the people you live with - or support bubble.

4. Businesses and venues

To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close.

5. Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend.  Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.

6. Going to work

To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home must do so.

7. Going to school, college and university

The Government will continue to prioritise the wellbeing and long-term futures of our young people and will not be closing schools, colleges or universities.

8. Childcare and children’s activities

Parents will still be able to access some registered childcare and other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, or for the purposes of respite care.

9. Protecting people more at risk from coronavirus

If you have any of the listed health conditions, you may be clinically vulnerable, meaning you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

10. Visiting relatives in care homes

Guidance on care home visits will be published ahead of Thursday. For now, you should follow existing guidance

11. Travel

Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed- including holidays in the UK and abroad.

12. Financial support

Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2500 a month. Furlough Scheme Extended and Further Economic Support announced.

    22nd October 2020

    Plan for Jobs: Chancellor increases financial support for businesses and workers.

    The government today announced it will significantly increase the generosity and reach of its winter support schemes to ensure livelihoods and jobs across the UK continue to be protected in the difficult months to come, supporting jobs and helping to contain the virus.

    Read the full news story here.

    12th October 2020

    Prime Minister announces new local Covid Alert Levels

    The Prime Minister has today set out how the government will further simplify and standardise local rules by introducing a three tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England.

    He confirmed the levels will be set at medium, high, and very high.

    The “medium” alert level - which will cover most of the country - will consist of the current national measures, which came into force on 25 September. This includes the Rule of Six, and the closure of hospitality at 10pm.

    The “high” alert level will reflect many current local interventions, but there will now be consistency across the country.

    The “very high” alert level will apply where transmission rates are causing the greatest concern, based on an assessment of all the available data and the local situation.

    Non-essential retail, schools and universities will remain open in all levels.

    A postcode checker on gov.uk will show which alert level applies in each area and the NHS COVID-19 app will also direct people to this information.

    Regulations for all three local alert levels will be debated and voted on in the House of Commons tomorrow. Subject to that vote tomorrow, they will come into force on Wednesday, subject to the approval of Parliament.

    The PM also confirmed that the government will also provide Local Authorities across England with around £1 billion of new financial support.

    Full details on what the COVID Alert Levels contain are set out below.

    Local COVID Alert Level - Medium

    This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place. This means:

    • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
    • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.
    • Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
    • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open
    • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
    • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed
    • People must not meet in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors

    Local COVID Alert Level - High

    • This is for areas with a higher level of infections. This means the following additional measures are in place:
    • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
    • People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
    • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

    Local COVID Alert Level - Very High

    This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures.

    The baseline means the below additional measures are in place:

    • Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
    • Wedding receptions are not allowed
    • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.
    • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.

    People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.

    The full press release, and a list of alert levels by area, can be found here: http://bit.ly/AlertLevels-South

    9th October 2020

    Job Support Scheme expanded to firms required to close due to Covid Restrictions.

    The government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions, the Chancellor announced today, 9 October.

    • Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions
    • government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries to protect jobs over the coming months
    • cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns also increased to up to £3,000 per month

    Read the full news story here

    29th September 2020

    Major expansion of post-18 education and training to level up and prepare workers for post-COVID economy.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson acts to boost productivity and help the country build back better from coronavirus.

    • Lifetime Skills Guarantee to give adults the chance to take free college courses valued by employers
    • New entitlement to flexible loans to allow courses to be taken in segments, boosting opportunities to retrain and enhancing the nation’s technical skills
    • PM acts to boost productivity and help the country build back better from coronavirus

    Read the full press release here.

    24th September 2020

    Chancellor outlines Winter Economy Plan.

    Rishi Sunak unveils government’s plan to protect jobs and support businesses over the coming months.

    Delivering a speech in Parliament, the Chancellor announced a package of measures that will continue to protect jobs and help businesses through the uncertain months ahead as we continue to tackle the spread of the virus. The package includes a new Jobs Support Scheme to protect millions of returning workers, extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme and 15% VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sectors, and help for businesses in repaying government-backed loans.

    Read the full news story here.

    22nd September 2020

    Coronavirus (COVID-19): What has changed – 22 September.

    The government has today announced further national measures to address rising cases of coronavirus in England.

    It is critical that everybody observes the following key behaviours:

    • HANDS - Wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds.
    • FACE - Cover your face in enclosed spaces, especially where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
    • SPACE - Stay 2 metres apart where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place.

    Read the full news story here.

    Updated guidance for working safely and keeping your workplace Covid secure (Updated 24th September 2020)

    Full details here

    18th September 2020

    Venues required to enforce rule of 6, NHS QR code posters and contact logs.

    Hospitality venues in England are from today legally required to enforce the rule of 6 or face a fine of up to £4,000.

    • Regulations come into force today to ensure that businesses comply with the rule of 6 and maintain social distancing between customers
    • businesses failing to comply could be issued with fines of up to £4,000
    • designated venues will also will now have a legal requirement to maintain records of customer contact details and display an official NHS QR code poster ahead of the rollout of the NHS COVID-19 app

    Read the full press release here

    Customer Logging Toolkit can be downloaded here

    Download resources to support visitors at your business or organisation. These resources can be shared by email, hosted on your website or displayed at your venue.

    Introducing the app - explainer pack (PDF: 1.6MB)

    NHS COVID-19 app features - overview poster (PDF: 1.9MB)

    How to create a QR poster for your venue (PDF: 605KB)

    Tips for displaying your QR poster in England (PDF: 1MB)

    How to use QR codes to check into a venue (PDF: 653KB)

    How to download the app on Android phones - guide (PDF: 2.7MB)

    How to download the app on iOS iPhones - guide (PDF: 2.3MB)

    12th September 2020

    Coronavirus (COVID-19): Meeting with others safely (social distancing). Published 9th September 2020

    Guidance that applies to England only. If you live in an area where local restrictions are in place you should also consult the local restrictions guidance, for information about what you can and can’t do to manage the outbreak.

    Read the full guidance here

    It is critical that everybody observes the following key behaviours:

    • HANDS - Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
    • FACE - Wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
    • SPACE - Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors).

    11th September 2020

    Find out how to make your workplace COVID-secure.

    14 guides cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. Priority actions are outlined at the top of each guide.

    Read all guides here

    11th September 2020

    NHS Test and Trace service in the workplace

    Guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service for employers, businesses and workers.

    The NHS Test and Trace service:

    • provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus to find out if they have the virus
    • gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had
    • alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to self-isolate to help stop the spread of the virus

    By following instructions to self-isolate, people who have had close recent contact with someone with coronavirus will be protecting their family, friends, colleagues and other people around them, and will play a direct role in stopping the spread of the virus.

    See further information on how the NHS Test and Trace service works.

    Read the full guidance here

    7th September 2020

    Council focuses on economic recovery as Swindon prepares to bounce back

    ‘Swindon’s bouncing back’ – that’s the clear message from Swindon Borough Council and business leaders as the town begins to step up its economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

    From today (7 Sept), a new campaign has been launched to highlight the positive steps taken by the Council and partners to encourage investment in the town and to help businesses get back on their feet.

    Official data published in August by Centre for Cities, an independent think tank dedicated to helping the UK’s towns and cities improve, classifies Swindon’s town centre economy as ‘Strong’, an assessment of the performance of Swindon’s centre before the pandemic.

    Andrew Carter, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, said: “Swindon entered lockdown with a strong economy, and early indications suggest that it is bouncing back. Footfall in the town centre is now at almost 80 per cent of pre-lockdown levels, and its increase this summer outperformed the national average.

    “However, cities across the country are facing a tough future, with retail and hospitality jobs under threat while many people continue to work from home. Swindon Council’s encouragement of town centre visitors and support for businesses puts the area in a strong position to move forward and protect jobs.”

    The Council is bringing together a number of projects – some of which directly relate to coronavirus and some of which form part of the Council’s wider economic investment plans – to reassure residents and businesses that the town is well placed to bounce back from the current recession.

    As a direct result of the pandemic, the Council has:

    • Introduced a fast-track system to process temporary pavement licences to enable hospitality businesses to serve customers outdoors
    • Administered around £30m in lifeline funding to over 2,300 local businesses affected by COVID-19
    • Provided wellbeing advice and support to local businesses and residents over the past six months
    • Worked with landlords and businesses across the borough to welcome people back to work safely

    In terms of wider economic support, the Council has:

    • Bid for a slice of the Government’s £3.6 billion Towns Fund to help revitalise the town centre
    • Sought to regenerate Fleming Way with a new £25m bus interchange
    • Introduced schemes to make it easier for people to walk and cycle around the town
    • Allocated almost £200,000 of funding to help shops reopen safely
    • Worked with Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership to fund the town’s Quality Bus Corridors
    • Progressed an ambitious five-year plan for a Swindon Heritage Action Zone to revitalise the town’s unique heritage and unlock its economic potential
    • Paved the way for Zurich’s new state-of-the-art office to be built in the town centre
    • Coordinated support for businesses at risk of closure and people at risk of redundancy

    Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “These past few months have posed unprecedented challenges for residents, businesses and local economies across the country, but there are reasons to be optimistic here in Swindon.

    “Our town has always responded well to economic shocks and there are promising signs we will do so again. We cannot control the global recession, but what we can do is use our influence and local powers to stimulate investment and growth.

    “As our lives slowly begin to return to normal, we want to use this opportunity to make sure Swindon’s economic recovery is strong and enduring.

    “So that not only means providing support to local businesses to help them get back on their feet, as we have been doing in recent months, but pushing ahead with major capital projects such as Zurich’s new state-of-the-art headquarters and improving our connectivity through the ongoing work at Junction 15 of the M4.

    “We have also been making our case for tens of millions of pounds from the Government to transform Fleming Way and invest in the seven projects identified in our Towns Fund bid. It is through these projects that we will stimulate our local economy and help us bounce back even stronger.”

    The Council is playing a key role in the economic recovery of Swindon, but its contribution is just one part of a wider effort involving residents and businesses, all of whom have an important part to play in boosting the local economy.

    Swindon is already an attractive location for businesses, with more than 9,200 firms currently choosing to make it their home.

    Through its partnership with Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP), the Council regularly renovates buildings to provide attractive office space, makes land available for companies to redevelop and promotes the area through targeted campaigns and programmes.

    SWLEP successfully bid for an additional £4m to invest in the Council-owned Carriage Works through the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

    Paddy Bradley, CEO of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Our local industrial strategy identifies the contribution that Swindon makes to the area’s economy and the opportunities for further growth within the town.

    “Swindon has a proud heritage of development and changing with the times. The £4m contribution to the new use of the Carriage Works is a great example of Swindon, in partnership with the SWLEP, building on its entrepreneurial traditions and being at the forefront of innovation, investment and meeting the challenges laid down by this global pandemic.”

    Keep up to date with Swindon Borough Council https://www.swindon.gov.uk/bouncingback

    14th August 2020

    Help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

    Watch videos and register for the free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus.

    Click here to register for free webinars.


    12th August 2020

    Swindon Borough Council reinforces COVID safety messages to local residents

    ‘Swindon: it’s up to all of us’ is the headline call to action of a new town-wide communications campaign launched today (12 august) to reinforce a number of important public health messages to swindon residents.

    The campaign is urging all individuals in the town to play their part in minimising the spread of covid-19 and keep themselves and the community safe. Earlier this week over 1,000 residents shared an update social media post from the council on the current situation, which reached over 85,000 people – showing the swindon community is keen to help spread the word.

    13th August 2020

    Prime Minister announces stronger enforcement measures as easements resume.

    The Government has announced a series of tough new enforcement measures targeting the most serious breaches of social distancing restrictions as lockdown restrictions are ease for close contact businesses.

    Read the full press release here.

    10th August 2020

    Eight reasons to Shop Local this week to help the high street bounce back.

    Government urges shoppers to visit their local high street and support businesses during Shop Local Week.

    • Shoppers are being urged to hit the high street and support their local businesses during Shop Local Week (10-16 August)
    • shopping local helps support the local economy, creates jobs and boosts local communities
    • businesses have brought in a wide range of measures, such as plastic partitions at tills and hand sanitiser stations, to protect customers

    Read the full press release here.

    31st July 2020

    Swindon Borough Council outline Covid-19 Outbreak Management Plan.

    As we are moving towards recovering from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, local authorities are required to have a COVID-19 management plan for controlling and preventing the spread of the virus.

    Our Outbreak Management Plan outlines measures to protect the public’s health by preventing, identifying and containing local Covid-19 outbreaks. The council’s Director of Public Health has been responsible for defining these measures and producing the plan in conjunction with the newly established Covid-19 Health Protection Board.

    The aim of the plan is to:

    • prevent the spread of COVID-19
    • reduce the rate of infection
    • respond rapidly to any rises in infection so that they can be contained quickly and safely

    Read the full document here.

    28th July 2020

    The 'Eat Out to Help Out' Scheme launches on Monday 3rd August, where many of Swindon town centres restaurants and establishments that offer an eat in service welcome customers back with up to 50% off food and non-alcoholic drinks every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday throughout August.

    Below is the list of Swindon town centre outlets that have joined the scheme.

    Octagon Cafe - Newbridge Square

    Love Brownies - Faringdon Road

    Aby's Indian Experience - Faringdon Road

    Abes Cakes - Market Street

    Boswell's Cafe - Brunel Shopping Centre

    McCtaffs Cakes & Tearoom - Brunel Shopping Centre

    Broccoli Pasta & Pizza - The Crossing

    Indys Vegan Kitchen - The Crossing

    Triple Two Coffee - The Crossing

    Chopstix - The Crossing

    Fillerz - The Crossing

    Franklins - The Crossing

    Taste of India - The Crossing

    Burger Priest - The Crossing

    Second Cup - The Parade

    Costa Coffee - Havelock Square, The Parade and Swindon Train Station

    Subway - The Crossing & Regent Circus

    Rudi's Bar - Regent Circus

    Lamaya Restaurant - Regent Circus

    Swindon Rendevous - Theatre Square

    McDonalds - Canal Walk

    MoMo King - Havelock Street

    Korky's Grill - Fleet Street

    Jack Spice - Fleet Street

    Da Vinci Restaurant - Fleet Street

    Ibis Budget Hotel - Henry Street

    Holiday Inn Express - Bridge Street

    28th July 2020

    The government has launched a new calculator to help employers with their next CJRS claims.

    Employers can use the calculator to work out how much they have to pay their furloughed and flexibly furloughed employees, how much they can claim for employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions and how much they can claim back.

    You can access the new job retention calculator here: https://bit.ly/CJRSCalculator (Please note that the calculator will be updated to reflect changes to the scheme over the coming months).

    In addition, employers can now also download a template if you're claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (for claims on or after 1 July 2020).

    You can download the new template here: https://bit.ly/CJRSTemplate

    24th July 2020

    Today face coverings become mandatory in enclosed public space such as shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and takeaways.

    Under the new regulations laid today, members of the public will need to wear face coverings – for example, a fabric covering, scarf or bandana – that covers the nose and mouth in additional enclosed public spaces, as well as frequent hand washing and careful social distancing.

    The government has published everything you need to know about face coverings and how they help stop the spread of Covid-19. When to and where you are required to wear a face covering and full details of exemptions.

    Read the full press release here.

    20th July 2020

    Face Coverings: When to wear one and how to make your own.

    This information relates to the use of face coverings in public spaces where social distancing is not always possible. It is important to follow all the other government advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) including staying safe outside your home.

    Read the full guidance here.

    Face mask exemptions - all you need to know

    The full list of exemptions has not yet been published, but the guidance is expected to be similar to public transport rules.

    The government currently says you don't have to wear a covering if you have "any physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability", and would experience "severe distress" from doing so.

    This includes:

    if you're travelling with someone who requires lip-reading

    if you suffer from severe distress when you put it on

    suffer from a disability where you're unable to put it on

    or you need to eat, drink or take medication

    If you are travelling with someone who requires lip-reading or reading facial expressions, wearing a mask will not be compulsory.

    Those who suffer from autism are also exempt.

    The new rule will not apply to retail staff, but will apply to all members of the public. Children under 11 are also exempt.

    20th July 2020

    Face coverings to be mandatory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July.

    Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock spoke about plans to make face coverings mandatory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July 2020.

    Read the full statement here.

    17th July 2020

    Indoor theatre performances with socially distanced audiences will be able to take place across the country from 1 August.

    The announcement marks a major step in getting the arts and cultural sectors fully back up and running, and follows the government’s announcement of £1.57 billion of funding for the arts, culture and heritage sector earlier this month, the biggest ever one off investment in these industries.

    Read the full press release and guidance here.

    17th July 2020

    PM statement on coronavirus: 17 July 2020

    PM, Boris Johnson announces the next stage in the UK Government's coronavirus recovery strategy.

    Read the full speech here.

    15th July 2020

    VAT: reduced rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions.

    If you’re a VAT registered business, check if you can temporarily reduce the rate of VAT on supplies relating to hospitality, accommodation, or admission to certain attractions. The temporary reduced rate will apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.

    Read the full guidance here.

    13th July 2020

    Register your establishment for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.

    Find out how to register your restaurant or establishment for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.

    Read the full guidance here.

    9th July 2020

    Beauty salons set to reopen for some services next week under new government guidelines.

    Businesses including beauty salons, nail bars and tattoo studios can reopen safely from Monday 13 July.

    Read the full press release here.

    For guidance and support, click here.

    9th July 2020

    Performing Arts given green light to resume outdoors.

    Outdoor performances with social distancing can resume from July 11.

    Read the full press release here.

    For full guidance detail, click here.

    9th July 2020

    Government announces gyms and pools to reopen safely.

    Outdoor pools can reopen to the public from 11 July followed by indoor gyms, pools and leisure centres on 25 July.

    Read the full press release here.

    For guidance and support, click here.

    9th July 2020

    Thousands of business advisers to offer free services to small firms.

    Thousands of expert professional and business services advisers have signed up to offer free online advice to help small businesses bounce back from coronavirus (COVID-19).

    Read the full press release here.

    8th July 2020

    Chancellor's Plan for Jobs will help Britain bounce back.

    The Chancellor Rishi Sunak today set out a ‘Plan for Jobs’ that will spur the UK’s recovery from the Coronavirus outbreak.

    Delivering his Summer Economic Update in Parliament, the Chancellor announced a package of measures to support jobs in every part of the country, give businesses the confidence to retain and hire, and provide people with the tools they need to get better jobs.

    The plan for jobs is the second part of a three-phase plan to secure the UK’s economic recovery from coronavirus. Throughout the pandemic, the UK Government has acted with speed to protect lives and safeguard jobs.

    Read the full statement here.

    3rd July 2020

    Council and police urge caution as pubs, bars and restaurants prepare to reopen.

    The Council is urging residents to act sensibly this weekend as hospitality businesses prepare to reopen across Swindon.

    Read the full press release from Swindon Borough Council here.

    2nd July 2020

    Public asked to leave a name and number with venues to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

    Executive Chair of NHS Test and Trace encourages everyone to “play their part in new national effort” by providing their names and phone numbers to the venues and businesses they visit from this Saturday.

    • New guidance published for hospitality and leisure sector sets out how organisations can keep a secure, short-term record of staff and visitors as they reopen this weekend
    • Restaurants, museums, and places of worship among venues asked to help visitors and employees stay safe

    Read the full press release here.

    27th June 2020

    Government unveils £200 million package to help innovative businesses bounce back.

    The Sustainable Innovation Fund will help companies recovering from the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive.

    Read the full press release here.

    25th June 2020

    Bill to allow al-fresco drinking and dining welcomed by hospitality industry.

    With many hospitality businesses hanging by a thread, a new government bill to enable al-fresco dining and drinking is very welcome.

    A Business and Planning Bill is being published by ministers today and will undoubtedly help the very survival of many of our pubs and restaurants threatened with closure as a result of the coronavirus.

    Read the full statement from Business West here.

    The government have released full guidance to accompany pavement licensing proposals introduced in the Business and Planning Bill.

    The temporary pavement licences process introduces a streamlined consent route to allow businesses to obtain a licence to place temporary furniture, such as tables and chairs outside of cafes, bars and restaurants quickly, and for no more than £100.

    Click here for full guidance on Pavement Licences

    24th June 2020

    Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services.

    Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes or takeaways.

    Read the full guidance here.

    24th June 2020

    Close contact services.

    Guidance for people who provide close contact services, including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers.

    Read the full guidance here.

    24th June 2020

    5 steps to working safely.

    Practical actions for businesses to take based on 5 main steps.

    1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

    2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures

    3. Help people to work from home

    4. Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible

    5. Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk

    Read the full 5 step detail here.

    23rd June 2020

    PM announces easing of lockdown restrictions.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has today (Tuesday 23 June) set out further changes to lockdown measures in England to enable people to see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and get people back in their jobs.

    Read the full press release here.

    22nd June 2020

    Plans to ease guidance for over 2 million shielding.

    Millions of people shielding from coronavirus (COVID-19) will be advised they can spend more time outside their homes from Monday 6 July, the Health and Social Care Secretary has announced.

    Read the full press release here.

    19th June 2020

    Government provides further halt to business evictions and more support for high street firms.

    New code provides support to shops and local firms planning their future recovery with their landlord.

    • The UK government will extend measures to prevent high street businesses facing eviction over summer
    • New code provides support to shops and local firms planning their future recovery with their landlord
    • Industry leaders back code and welcome measures to support affected businesses

    Read the full statement here.

    19th June 2020

    Government publishes coronavirus (COVID-19) R value and growth rates.

    The government has today (Friday 19 June) published UK wide and regional growth rates for England for the first time, alongside R values.

    The current growth rate for the UK as a whole is -4% to -2% and the R estimate for the UK, as a whole, remains at 0.7-0.9. Read the full statement here.

    Check the current growth rates and the latest regional R values.


    19th June 2020

    Coronavirus (COVID-19): scientific evidence supporting the UK government response.

    The national and global response to the spread of COVID-19 continues to develop quickly and our collective knowledge of the virus is growing by the second. Click here for all the latest updates.

    17th June 2020

    Swindon Borough Council Discretionary Grants

    Eligible firms in Swindon are now able to apply for the Discretionary Grant Fund which will allow some small businesses who have not previously been eligible for other government grant schemes to access critical support. This money is a grant and does not need to be paid back.

    Mandatory criteria for all applicants includes:

    • Ongoing fixed property related costs (e.g. rent, mortgage, rate etc.)
    • Small or micro businesses with 49 employees or less
    • Demonstrate a financial fall in income as a result of COVID-19 (even if you are still trading)
    • Occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000
    • Have been trading on 11 March 2020
    • For applicants working from home, you must demonstrate your defined work area and costs associated.

    Applications will be considered from:

    • Small businesses in shared offices or other workspaces where someone else pays the business rates
    • Regular market traders with fixed building costs and street trading licences
    • Bed & Breakfasts that pay council tax instead of business rates
    • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rate relief in properties with low rateable assessments
    • Other types of companies or charities where applicants meet the mandatory criteria

    Any business which has received or is eligible for some other COVID-19 government grant schemes, including the Small Business Grant or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant, is not eligible for this discretionary funding. However, if you have used the Job Retention Scheme, Self-employed Income Grant, furloughed any of your workforce or accessed a COVID-19 loan, you can apply.

    Even if you are now planning to reopen your business or you have been trading throughout, you are still able to apply if you can demonstrate income loss due to COVID-19.

    A full list of the criteria, guidance and the application form can be found here and applications must be made before 9pm on Sunday 21 June.

    16th June 2020

    Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

    The government have published revised guidance for the Job Retention Scheme, including details on changes that will come into affect from 1st July 2020. (Published 12th June 2020).

    Read the full guidance here.

    15th June 2020

    Coronavirus (COVID-19): letter to the retail sector.

    Letter from the Minister for Small Business, Consumers & Labour Markets, Paul Scully, to those working in retail.

    You can read the letter here.

    11th June 2020

    Local authorities across England receive funding to support new Test and Trace service.

    Local authorities across England have been allocated a share of £300 million to support the new Test and Trace service.

    Read the full press release here.

    10th June 2020

    Advice on staying secure during COVID-19.

    Guidance from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure for businesses and insolvency office holders on managing security risks during the pandemic.

    Click here for details.

    9th June 2020

    Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres to reopen safely in England.

    Shops in England selling non-essential goods will be able to reopen from Monday 15 June, the Business Secretary confirmed today, thanks to continuing progress in meeting our 5 tests.

    Read the full press release here.

    8th June 2020

    Business Secretary launches working groups to help unleash Britain's growth potential.

    Business Secretary Alok Sharma is creating 5 new business-focused groups to unleash Britain’s growth potential and create jobs, as part of the government’s plans to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

    Read the full statement here.

    4th June 2020

    Face coverings become mandatory on public transport

    From Monday 15th June, you will be required to use a face covering when using public transport in England.

    "While respecting social distancing and maintaining good hand hygiene remain the most important steps we can all take to stay safe, wearing a face covering can play a role in helping us to protect each other" Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

    Read the full press release here.

    How to make and wear a face covering here.

    For all Swindon Bus Company information and timetables

    For all Stagecoach information and timetables.

    For travel by train:

    First Great Western - train information and Trainline - train information

    1st June 2020

    Working safely during Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Updated guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.

    Read the full guidance here.

    29th May 2020

    Stay Alert and Stay Safe (Social Distancing Guidance)

    This guidance explains the measures that will help you to stay alert and safe as we continue to respond to the challenges of coronavirus.

    This guidance applies in England

    28th May 2020

    Six people can meet outside under new measures to ease lockdown from Monday 1st June.

    PM Boris Johnson announced groups of up to six people will be able to meet outdoors in England from Monday 1 June, provided strict social distancing guidelines are followed.

    Read the full press release here.

    28th May 2020

    Government launches NHS Test and Trace service

    New guidance means those who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive must isolate for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms.

    Read the full press release here.

    25th May 2020

    Prime Minister sets out timeline for retail to reopen in June

    The Prime Minister has set out plans for thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England to reopen next month once they are COVID-19 secure and can show customers will be kept safe.

    Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June and all non-essential retail outlets from 15 June.

    Read the full press release here.

    Read the full updated Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments here.

    24th May 2020

    £50 million boost to support the recovery of our high streets

    A new £50 million fund for councils to support their local high streets get safely back to business announced today by High Streets Minister Simon Clarke

    Read the full statement here.

    19th May 2020

    Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme set to launch

    Employers will be able to make claims through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme from 26 May.

    This scheme will allow small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

    Read the full press release here.

    13th May 2020

    Government announces roadmap taskforces

    Five new ministerial-led taskforces have been set up to develop plans for how and when closed sectors can reopen safely, following publication of the UK’s roadmap to rebuild Britain.

    Read the full document here.

    12th May 2020

    UK Government Guidance to help employers and employees understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The links below will provide essential information to ensure the safety of everyone during the Coronavirus pandemic in the working environment.

    Shops & Branches: Full guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.

    Offices & Contact Centres: Full guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments.

    Restaurants offering Takeaway or Delivery: Full guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services.

    12th May 2020

    UK Government Guidance for your safety outside of your home.

    Staying safe outside of your home: Full guidance you should follow to ensure that time spent outside your home is as safe as possible.

    12th May 2020

    Chancellor extends furlough scheme until October.

    The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October, the Chancellor announced today (Tuesday 12 May 2020).

    Read the full statement here

    11th May 2020

    The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.

    This government have published a 60 page document describing the progress the UK has made to date in tackling the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and sets out the plans for moving to the next phase of its response to the virus.

    Read the full document here.

    10th May 2020

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation on coronavirus.

    Boris Johnson announces the three steps of the government's route out of lockdown to protect the public and save lives.

    Step One: Anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.

    And we want it to be safe for you to get to work. So you should avoid public transport if at all possible – because we must and will maintain social distancing, and capacity will therefore be limited.

    So work from home if you can, but you should go to work if you can’t work from home.

    And to ensure you are safe at work we have been working to establish new guidance for employers to make workplaces COVID-secure.

    And when you do go to work, if possible do so by car or even better by walking or bicycle. But just as with workplaces, public transport operators will also be following COVID-secure standards.

    And from this Wednesday, we want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise.

    You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own household.

    You must obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them.

    And so every day, with ever increasing data, we will be monitoring the R and the number of new infections, and the progress we are making, and if we as a nation begin to fulfil the conditions I have set out, then in the next few weeks and months we may be able to go further.

    Step Two: At the earliest by June 1 – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

    Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays. And we will shortly be setting out detailed guidance on how to make it work in schools and shops and on transport.

    Step Three: At the earliest by July - and subject to all these conditions and further scientific advice; if and only if the numbers support it, we will hope to re-open at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing.

    Read the full statement here.

    The Prime Minister is due to reveal further details on plans on Monday 11th May 2020

    4th May 2020

    Bounce Back Loan Scheme Opens for Applications

    Following the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement on 27 April (link), the Bounce Back Loan Scheme opens for applications from today Monday 4th May 2020).

    Delivered by lenders accredited by the British Business Bank for this scheme, Bounce Back Loans target small and micro businesses in all sectors, providing loans from £2k up to 25% of the business’ turnover with a maximum loan of £50k. Providing lenders with a 100% government-backed guarantee and standardising the application form is expected to lead to a faster process with many loans becoming available within days. Scheme Features:

    • Up to £50,000 loan: Loans will be from £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ turnover or £50,000, whichever is lower.
    • 100% guarantee: The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed, full guarantee (100%) against the outstanding facility balance, both capital and interest. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.
    • Interest rate: The government has set the interest rate for this facility at 2.5% per annum, meaning businesses will all benefit from the same, low rate of interest.
    • Interest paid by government for 12 months: The government will make a Business Interruption Payment to the lenders to cover the first 12 months of interest payable, so businesses will benefit from no upfront costs.
    • No principal repayments for first 12 months: Borrowers will not have to begin principal repayments for the first 12 months, thereafter capital will be repaid on a straight line basis.
    • No guarantee fee for businesses or lenders to access the scheme.
    • Finance terms: The length of the loan is for six years but early repayment is allowed, without early repayment fees.
    • No personal guarantees: No personal guarantees are allowed, and no recovery action can be taken over a principal private residence or principal private vehicle.

    Should you want further information, the following links might be helpful:

    Link to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme on the British Business Bank website: here. This includes:

    FAQ’s for SMEs on the Bounce Back Loan Scheme: here

    A list of Bounce Bank Loan accredited lenders: here

    For further information, please see the British Business Bank Press Notice: here

    4th May 2020

    IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM SWINDON BOROUGH COUNCIL

    New Cash Grants

    Swindon Borough Council have received early notification about additional Coronavirus cash grant support for affected small businesses with fixed property costs. At this time, they are unable to administer the grant applications until they have received information and guidance from the Government as to the process and set up.

    We will continue to keep you updated and thank you for your patience.


    4th May 2020

    Social Distancing Recommendations for Retail

    Although is not clear when the non-food retail sector will re-open for business and the final decision on this will be made by the Government and the public health experts. However, it is important to be ready.

    The safety and wellbeing of every retailers’ staff and their customers is a top priority.

    To assist, BRC (British Retail Consortium) have provided recommendations which will assist retailers to facilitate the introduction of social distancing.

    Read the guidance here

    1st May 2020

    Covid-19 testing has now been expanded to include more groups in England.

    Coronavirus testing has now been made available to all NHS staff and care home residents who are asymptomatic.

    For Guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test, how to get tested and the different types of test available.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

    28th April 2020

    The Chancellor has announced a new loan scheme - the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

    A loan to help small and medium-sized businesses affected by coronavirus, key details of the loan are listed below.

    • The scheme will go live from Monday 4th May 2020 and cash will be released within days for eligible businesses.
    • Businesses can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.
    • The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.
    • Loan terms will be up to 6 years.
    • The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.
    • The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.
    • Small businesses boosted by bounce back loans, read the full press release here.

    28th April 2020

    Free online learning platform to boost workplace skills

    Free courses are available through a new online platform hosted on the gov.uk website, called The Skills Toolkit. The new platform, www.gov.uk/theskillstoolkit, gives people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects.

    25th April 2020

    New measures to protect UK high street from aggressive rent collection and closure.

    High street shops and other companies under strain will be protected from aggressive rent collection and asked to pay what they can during the coronavirus pandemic. Read the full press release here

    23rd April 2020

    Coronavirus testing is now available for all essential workers in England and anyone in their household who are showing symptoms.

    Booking the test has been made simpler via a new online system. Click here for details

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    'Save The High Street' Recovery Health-Check for Local Business.

    This week the Government outlined the first steps to guide us through the easing of the Coronavirus lockdown. To assist this vital recovery, ‘Save The High Street’ have compiled a checklist of top strategies for business on the high street.

    The most important recovery and resilience strategies for local business owners have been included in the survey and covers the most important strategies for high street business owners right now, across 6 key themes:

    1. Reducing your costs
    2. Selling in new ways
    3. Adapting your marketing
    4. Collaborating as a high street
    5. Preparing for the future
    6. Funding your business

    Click Here to get started

    On completion of the survey ‘Save The High Street’ will also provide you with your Recovery & Resilience Health-Check, including:

    • A personalised report and score, highlighting vulnerabilities and opportunities across your business.
    • 6 top recommendations selected for you, each with useful content and step-by-step guides.
    • A telephone call with an expert consultant to discuss your report and recommendations (optional and for the first 1,000 responses).

    This is FREE for all local business owners, from retailers to restaurateurs, salons to cafes, travel agents to lawyers, boutiques to galleries, and everyone in the UK. Provided by SaveTheHighStreet.org


    COMPASSIONATE LEADERSHIP - HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR TEAM DURING CHALLENGING TIMES

    “Compassionate leadership is the most potent way people can deal with what feels frightening and overwhelming”

    (Kings College, 2020)

    Leadership is quite often linked to words such as strong, resilient, brave and bold; however compassionate leadership is a key quality and in the midst of an international crisis, it is increasingly important. Compassionate leadership requires a level of emotional intelligence to understand the mind-set of your team. It requires leaders to pause and reflect, to offer a level of humility, to be honest, to remove barriers to communication and to put trust in our workforce.

    How to build compassion in to your leadership

    When staff are furloughed: Your workforce will have a range of responses to this: some staff will take this well and understand the decision process, some will find it hard to process and may react emotionally.

    Your role as a leader is to understand that this is a normal response and it is also a moveable feast. Staff members may seem fine, but four weeks into lockdown, their feelings may change and there is a role for you to play in supporting their mental wellbeing. Mental Health UK have produced a helpful blog with things for you to consider.

    It is also important for you to pause and reflect on your role in the bigger picture, you do not have a cure for coronavirus, you are not responsible for a potential recession and you cannot fix mental health problems within your workforce. You must prioritise your own mental wellbeing too.

    Staff who are still working: this will present different emotions and may also include additional pressures such as home schooling, caring for relatives, general increase in anxiety and an increase in workload.

    Kings College promote three overarching themes for compassionate leadership, which will apply to all businesses:

    • Connection and belonging – this is vital for good mental wellbeing as it's important your staff feel supported and connected, especially if they are feeling unsettled or anxious. This also includes ensuring that everyone feels part of the process and not excluded.
    • Autonomy and control - during a challenging time it's normal to want to take control, but you must ensure your staff have a voice and their knowledge and skill sets are being utilised or they risk losing their sense of purpose. Now is the time to put trust in your team to support you.
    • Competence - passionate and dedicated staff will want to go over and above and as a leader it is your role to review workloads, communicate effectively and ensure your team works together. This is especially important when staff are working in isolation and are not able to participate in activities that are good for their mental health, such as socialising with friends.

    Key Workers - This comes with additional challenges and complexities. Key workers might be nationally recognised as heroes, but with constant reminders of death rates, staff working out in the community in any role may experience an increase in anxiety. They may also have challenges around home / work life balance and additional workload pressures.

    Your role as a leader should be:

    • Keeping all staff protected from chronic stress and supporting all staff to prioritise their mental health. Mind have produced a guide for key workers that you might want to send to your staff.
    • Ensure that good quality communication and accurate updates are provided to all staff, especially those who are out in the community who may not have a business email address.

    3. Rotate workers from higher-stress to lower-stress functions where possible to avoid burn out.

    4. Implement good channels of communication for those working in the community including buddy schemes, regular supervision and team catch-up’s.

    Being a compassionate leader will help your staff during this difficult time. The world will look very different beyond coronavirus and this approach to leadership will help motivate your staff beyond this challenging period.

    Acknowledgements: Swindon Borough Council, Swindon & Gloucestershire Mind and Business West, Swindon Mindful Employer Network.


    RESILIENCE AND GROWING THROUGH STRESS

    “Resilience, the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and keep going in the face of adversity”

    (Harvard Business Review, 2015)

    Resilience can be one of the main factors on which we judge ourselves and others on. A lack of resilience is often perceived as weakness or failure, which can lead to spiraling negative thought processes and self-doubt.

    This self- doubt is more likely to affect your leadership than the set- back you faced in the first place. A more constructive approach to resilience is to understand your current level of ability to bounce back, accept where you are and grow through adversity.

    Understanding your current level of resilience

    The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale is a great self-assessment tool, which looks to identify your ability to adapt to change, cope with stress, handle unpleasant feelings and make informed decisions under pressure. There also needs to be a level of self-reflection to help understand your coping mechanisms as well as your available resources such as your social networks and your physical health.

    It is then about acceptance. You may not feel resilient and that is okay, even the best leaders in the world suffer set-backs, cry and have sleepless nights thinking they will never get through it, but they do and they grow from these challenges.

    Growing your resilience levels

    American psychologist Martin Seligman discusses his research findings in this area as part of HBR’s Mental Toughness. He highlights that most of his research participants claimed that their success had come from a challenging and sometimes quite traumatic experience, including the loss of a business due to an economic crash.

    Growth from set-backs has been covered extensively by other psychologists including Richard G. Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun, who focus on improved relationships, personal strength and a greater appreciation for life, people do survive even the hardest of times.

    How do we grow our resilience?

    Seligman suggested that the key to resilience building comes down to learning from set-backs, not letting them define you or dictate your future prospects.The suggested mechanisms for this were self-care, developing optimism and focusing on strengths.

    Self-care from set-backs:

    During a period of high pressure, or indeed a set-back, you need to prioritise your health This article from Noam Shpancer here suggests:

    • Nurturing rather than isolating yourself
    • Prioritising meaningful activities
    • Being honest and flexible with your feelings
    • Problem solving rather than avoiding the problem or worrying

    Developing an optimistic view:

    • Personalisation - How much of the situation are you actually responsible for? How much of it can you actually change?
    • Pervasiveness - How much will this actually impact your life? How much will this actually impact your future? Does this define you?
    • Permanence - Will this set-back be short term? Will it actually affect you long term?

    To gain a better understanding of developing optimism click here

    Focus on your strengths to move forward:

    Once you have applied self-care and questioned any pessimistic views you hold, your next move should be to focus on your strengths. The VIA strength survey allows us to hone in on and utilise our resources to overcome adversity.

    However the current challenge is affecting you or your business, prioritising your wellbeing and understanding that all challenges can be overcome is going to be key to moving forward, even if these challenge seem impossible. Anyone that is struggling with additional stress and pressure should also be aware that there is national and local support available, please click here.

    Acknowledgements: Swindon Borough Council, Swindon & Gloucestershire Mind and Business West, Swindon Mindful Employer Network.


    Swindon Borough Council #HereForSwindon

    Swindon Borough Council measures to support residents and businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak. The council is responsible for administering the following grant funding in Swindon Borough:

    - Small business grant funding
    - Cash grant for retail, hospitality, and leisure
    - Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure
    - Business rates holiday for nurseries

    Swindon Borough Council have now published a list of businesses and organisations who they believe may be eligible for government grants but are yet to apply. Please visit their website to check the list, have a look at the eligibility criteria and get in touch: www.swindon.gov.uk/covidbusiness

    They have processed over £20m in grants to 1,670 firms in Swindon so far but would still need to hear from more so they can help be #HereForSwindon

    Service updates, health advice, and other things you should know: swindon.gov.uk/coronavirus

    How our most vulnerable residents can get essential food, household supplies and prescriptions: swindon.gov.uk/emergencyhelp

    For any other information relating to Swindon Borough Council's #HereForSwindon campaign, visit: https://www.swindon.gov.uk/hereforswindon

    Over the last three weeks 1,951 eBooks have been loaned from Swindon Library's online collection. There are hundreds of books and audio books to choose from, sign up to become an online library member here.

    Government Support for Businesses, Employers and Employees

    You can now claim wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Claim for 80% of your employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, if you have put them on furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

    Details on this and other Government available support can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

    The Government has provided full guidance in the following documents:

    GOV.UK website - Coronavirus (COVID-19): business support grant funding - guidance for businesses

    GOV.UK website - Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on business support grant funding

    GOV.UK website - Business rates: expanded retail discount - guidance

    GOV.UK website - Business rates: nursery (childcare) discount 2020 to 2021: coronavirus response – local authority guidance

    Find out what financial support is available for your business: www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder


    Trading Through Coronavirus

    Business West is offering guidance and support to businesses and their employees across the South West of England and beyond during this period of unprecedented disruption. Their expert team are busy answering 100's of your questions and concerns on how coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting your business.

    Find out more here: https://www.businesswest.co.uk/trading-through-coronavirus

    Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading

    Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. You should only leave your home for very limited purposes:

    • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
    • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
    • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
    • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

    Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: When and how to use masks

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) provides advice on the use of masks in communities.

    Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19 can be found here.

    DENTISTS & OPTICIANS - URGENT CARE AND ADVICE

    BRUNEL DENTAL PRACTICE

    Owing to the Corona virus outbreak Brunel Dental practice is now closed and will be open only on Monday and Thursday 10 am to 3 pm for pre-booked emergency patients only. Click here for home care sheets which you may find helpful.

    AMBIENCE DENTAL PRACTICE

    Ambience Dental Practice Is Temporarily Closed for Face To Face Appointments They are operating a telephone triage service & remote prescription service. Please call for urgent care & emergencies on 01793 529 985

    WHITE HORSE OPTICAL

    White Horse Optical have ceased all non essential eye examinations and offer only essential services. Essential services include eye examinations based on a clinical need, and urgent eye care pathways. If you have any concerns please contact us by phone 01793 432751 or email swindon@whitehorseoptical.co.uk.

    HAINE & SMITH OPTICIAN

    Haine & Smith have as of 23/03 made the decision to temporarily close all of our practices from Wednesday 25th March. They will be running an urgent and essential service by phone only. Details of how to contact Haine & Smith can be found in the FAQ of their home page.

    VISION EXPRESS

    Vison Express are currently only able to provide essential care for emergencies and urgent needs only. Call us on 0800 038 2177 to arrange an appointment.

    SPECSAVERS

    Specsavers are temporarily closed due to the current situation, for urgent or essential care, please contact the store on 01793 617858

    Swindon Town Centre Open For Essentials

    A number of businesses continue to trade through these very challenging times to provide essential goods and services. In line with the government guidelines, stay home and only visit Swindon Town Centre for essentials and please follow the two metre distancing to protect yourself, the staff and other visitors.

    Swindon Town Centre businesses providing an online service

    In line with the government guidelines, non-essential businesses are closed in Swindon Town Centre but continue to provide an online service.

    Restaurants and Takeaways providing Home Delivery

    Swindon Town Centre restaurants and takeaways offering contact free home delivery.

    Parking in Swindon Town Centre

    The following town centre car parks are completely closed:

    - Brunel North
    - Spring Gardens

    The following town centre car parks are open with no lift access:
    - Brunel West
    - Fleming Way
    - Whalebridge

    All surface level car parks where you pay and display are open for essential journeys.
    Car park tariffs are in operation.