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New tourism website for district - Visit South Cambs

Our new stand-alone website promoting tourism across South Cambridgeshire has now launched! 

Visit South Cambs supports the local economy by showcasing the area as a fantastic place to visit for traditional tourism, as well as the increasing number of staycations. It highlights the many attractions and open spaces we have to offer, along with great places to eat, drink and stay.

We would love to hear about any events taking place in South Cambridgeshire, and to hear from independent retailers and services operating in the tourist sector, such as galleries, gift shops, artisanal bakeries and businesses offering beauty treatments, spa facilities and personal care.

Apply to list your business or event free of charge

Supporting high street businesses

High Street Business Support Officers were recruited following the first COVID-19 national lockdown in 2020 and tasked with helping and supporting local small to medium sized businesses across the District. This support came in the form of assisting with any queries or concerns as they gradually recovered from enforced closures and reopened to the public.

Since that time in July 2020, Officers have provided hands-on support to over 500 high street businesses within the District, completing well over 2,000 visits collectively across South Cambridgeshire and have engaged with local community market events to propel those thwarted in the last eighteen months by the pandemic. This has lead to creating an emphasis around the importance of having good relationships with cottage industries, many of whom we have seen develop business models during the pandemic. Chiefly though, there has been an aim to recapture and restore confidence to the high street, fledgling business and their customers.

 

The three High Street Business Support Officers

 

Among other activities during the pandemic, the Reopening team has signposted all relevant Government guidelines, especially during the Roadmap out of lockdown last year. Local businesses and Parishes were given clarification on regulations whilst provided with resources such as window signage and safety banners. Even after measures were relaxed in the summertime of 2020, the team continued to work actively in the District, ensuring businesses remained safe and open.

More recently, the Omicron variant sadly hampered businesses' efforts to gain ground on local commerce further. This came at a time when huge efforts had been made by business owners throughout the District to rejuvenate trade. Once again, High Street Officers assisted the high streets to be as COVID-19 Secure as possible.

We know local business owners have adapted to ever-changing guidance, but the Reopening the High Streets Safely team continues to offer support. Restrictions may be relaxed in spells, but the virus is still with us. The Reopening team would therefore recommend still observing previous guidelines to reduce infection numbers across the District.

So, if you are a small to medium customer-facing enterprise in South Cambridgeshire, and require advice from our High Street Officers, please contact the team: reopening@scambs.gov.uk

Here are some examples of ways in which our High Street Business Support Officers have helped in the last year:

  • Directing businesses to resources to assist completing comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessments, and to make sure all is covered to keep staff and customers safe
  • Clarification of relevant sector regulations, ensuring businesses have understood and taken all practical steps to help people work safely from a "COVID-19 Secure" workspace since the pandemic started
  • Supporting businesses by signposting local government grant schemes and indicating the best way to apply for funding
  • Offering details of local partner support networks which aim to deliver advice and help build market skills. These can be in the shape of free webinar sessions or one to one mentoring
  • Continuing to supply safety signage and other physical resources to support COVID-19 best practice as businesses adjust to mandatory restrictions during the pandemic 
  • Being the first point of contact at South Cambridgeshire District Council for enquiries on evolving guidance, business uncertainty or aspirational growth

 

Case studies

The Farmland Museum & Denny Abbey, Waterbeach

Preparing for reopening isn't always as easy as it sounds, and our officers assisted The Farmland Museum in Waterbeach who requested support on how best to prepare their site for visitors once again.Farmland museum

Ensuring that social distancing guidelines were followed in the cafeteria, one-way systems were devised in certain exhibitions, and additional cleaning and capacity controls on children's outdoor play areas were all judiciously assessed. For a museum which attracts people from far and wide, having these measures in place shed light on some grey areas Denny Abbey were unsure of initially.

 

 

Hairs & Graces, Harston 

Like all close contact businesses, Hairs & Graces of Harston have suffered with being in lockdown and unable to trade. Tracy and the team decided to be proactive and make the most of their time by improving facilities at their salon. One way of making the salon COVID-19 Secure was increasing ventilation by opening up the rear of the salon to a wonderful garden area for clients to relax. Spacing between each work station has been improved giving added security to both customers and staff. The team also share regular lateral flow tests results to ensure not just their safety, but that of their customers too.

 

 

photo of the exterior of the Willingham Auctions Cafe in Willingham

Willingham Auctions Café, Willingham

In addition to signposting the business owner towards potential funding opportunities such as the Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) and organisations providing further support such as the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Growth Hub, we were able to answer specific questions the business owner had regarding the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme last year, and which of the Willingham Auction Café’s offerings were eligible. Furthermore, we were a direct point of contact when other queries arose regarding updating the company's self-isolation procedure, should an employee develop COVID-19 symptoms.

 

European Regional Development Fund

The project received up to £140,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.

 

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