Tel: +44 (0) 191 516 6200

Covid-19 Updates and Resources

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Statement from the North East BIC

Page updated – 09/07/2020

As Coronavirus continues to disrupt all aspects of our lives, we want to reassure you that the wellbeing of our employees, tenants and clients is still our number one priority. As some of the recent lockdown restrictions are lifted and furloughed staff are beginning to return to work, we just wanted to keep you up to date with the changes the BIC has implemented to keep our staff, tenants, clients and visitors to the site as safe as possible.

Following government guidelines for the safe return to work the BIC has made a number of changes to the centre, from installing screens in the main reception area, and purchasing hand sanitiser dispensers and pump bottles, washable face covers and visors, and 1000’s of gloves, to installing signage in 25 communal areas/entrances around the site.

We will continue to utilise the technology we have in place to work flexibly and remotely wherever possible, but be assured that our team members on-site are being fully supported by staff working from home. 

Please see below how you can get in touch with our dedicated teams. This page will be regularly updated with key information from across the BIC and government bodies. You can also follow us on Twitter @northeastbic.

We know the weeks and months ahead will continue to be a challenge for everyone, but we are committed to supporting our community here at the BIC. We’re all in this together.

Information for Business and Employers is being regularly updated on the Sunderland City Council website in line with latest Government guidance.

For more information, please visit – https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/Covid-19Business

BIC Contacts

If any of our BIC tenants need to get in touch phone 0191 516 6200 as usual and our team will be ready to help. If you have any maintenance issues, please continue to log these at bicservices@ne-bic.co.uk – any non-urgent tasks would be carried out at a later date.

Although our Start-up workshops have now been cancelled until further notice, our expert business advisers are still contactable by phone. If you have any questions please contact 0191 516 6111 for further information or fill out the Contact Us form and one of the team will be in touch.

Our Innovation team, Gillian Middleton and Debbie Simpson can still be reached on 0191 516 6039. As usual, they are ready to talk through your idea in the strictest of confidence and provide expert help. For more information on our Innovation Programme click here.

The BIC will continue to provide expert advice and support for social enterprises who want to grow and access funding and / or social investment, including voluntary and charitable projects who want to increase their capacity and sustainability. Please email our Social Enterprise Manager Kevin Marquis with any questions – kevin.marquis@ne-bic.co.uk

Innovate for Good is an incubation project helping social entrepreneurs to start, grow and scale their businesses. We’re so excited for the potential of this project and would like to reassure our entrepreneurs that our work is continuing. If you have any questions please email lilla.preston@ne-bic.co.uk

If you have a general enquiry about the BIC please contact 0191 516 6200 or email info@ne-bic.co.uk.

Reception is currently open Monday – Friday between 9am – 4pm.

This is a confusing time for many businesses and our on-site Business Development Manager Louise Hardy is monitoring updates daily. If you have any questions or concerns about your business you can email Louise at Louise.hardy@ne-bic.co.uk and she will do her best to help or will direct you to someone who can.

If you require advice or support with your marketing and communication requirements during this time please contact Paul Finch at Pulse Creative Marketing.

Get in touch via our website Contact us form or email info@pulsecreativemarketing.co.uk

Updates from the BIC

Ensuring the people and organisations that make up the UK’s arts, museums and libraries are protected during the coronavirus crisis is Arts Council England’s number one priority.

 

They are making £160 million of emergency funding available for those organisations and individuals who will need it during this crisis, and have also changed the funding requirements for individuals and organisations currently in receipt of their funding, to help alleviate pressure on them as best they can.

Keep up to date with their emergency measures here >> https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19 

Information for Business and Employers is being regularly updated on the Sunderland City Council website in line with latest Government guidance.

For more information, please visit – https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/Covid-19Business

Sunderland Council’s control plan – https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/media/22433/Sunderland-COVID-19-control-plan/pdf/oce22017_Sunderland_COVID-19_Control_Plan.pdf?m=637291369026870000

This is a confusing time for many businesses and our on-site Business Development Manager Louise Hardy is monitoring updates daily. If you have any questions or concerns about your business you can email Louise at Louise.hardy@ne-bic.co.uk and she will do her best to help or will direct you to someone who can.

BIC staff will do as much as possible to assist you in these difficult circumstances and try to support the continued operation of your businesses and ours. The centre is open and a number of safety measures have been implemented, such as screens in reception, hand sanitisers, and signage all around the site.  You will have access to your office at all times.

We will continue to offer services as normal but if you have any specific needs please get in contact to discuss these. As quite a few companies are now working from home we are asking that you collect mail from reception and if you have any mail needing to go out please drop this off at reception. If you have any maintenance issues please continue to log these at bicservices@ne-bic.co.uk any non-urgent tasks would be carried out at a later date.

To assist with any working from home plans you may be deploying, if you are utilising our IP telephone system we offer App on your mobile phone that you can effectively make and receive calls from the business telephone number, please get in touch if you require further assistance.

In the event of a reception closure due to staff self-isolation being required, reception would still answer calls and e-mails as normal, clients would still have 24/7 access to their premises even if reception was closed, however we would not be able to accept visitors or deliveries on your behalf.

Can I ask that any clients with specific queries to e-mail them to me at my e-mail address below so we can collate them and provide clear and accurate responses.

Please be assured that we will do everything we can to support your business and in the meantime we wish you and your family the very best during this challenging time.

Stay well, with kindest regards,

Donna and the Team

Donna Surtees
Centre Manager

0191 5166066
Donna.surtees@ne-bic.co.uk

Cafe BIC has now re-opened, but please note that opening times have changed to:  8:00 am to 2:00 pm Monday – Friday, offering  a limited takeaway menu only. 

Useful Links

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

1. Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees
2. Support for businesses that pay business rates
3. Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates
4. Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
5. Support for businesses paying tax
6. Insurance

Full link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Personal guarantees removed by banks 

Barclays, Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC have all confirmed personal guarantees are no longer required to access smaller loans through the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which is designed to support small and medium-sized businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

North East Funds & Initiatives 

Guidance for businesses and employers on COVID-19

This toolkit provides businesses with the latest advice, guidance and support available from government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics covered include:

  • Financial support available for businesses
  • Official guidance for employees, employers and businesses
  • Advice on effective home working
  • How to care for staff/suppliers/customers and prevent the spread of COVID-19

Guidance for employees, employers and businesses in providing advice about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

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

It’s natural to feel anxious during times of uncertainty. See the 10 simple things you can do to maintain your mental wellbeing and deal with anxiety about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

https://necounselling.org.uk/work-place-support/

Calculate your benefits entitlement during the crisis.

https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/AboutYou

You might be worried about coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) and how it could affect your life. This may include being asked to stay at home or avoid other people.

This might feel difficult or stressful. But there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing.

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

https://realbusiness.co.uk/returning-to-work

There are a number of tools you can use to collaborate and communicate with your team as you work remotely from home.

Microsoft Teams – Chat, video calls, voice calls, file sharing, and project management.

Slack – Chat and file sharing.

Zoom – Chat, video calls, voice calls, file sharing, and conferencing.

Getting Started Guides

Microsoft Teams – Getting started and user guide.

Slack – Getting started and user guide.

Zoom – Getting started and user guide.