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All About Hitchin

COVID-19 BUSINESS SUPPORT

Posted: Monday 20th April 2020
UPDATED INFORMATION Furlough Portal & Support Schemes 20/4/20
For the last few weeks Hitchin BID has been focusing on supporting businesses, promoting products and services, advertising vouchers and delivery services and offer you all up to date information on how to access grants and loans to help get you through these challenging times. Many of you would have received your BID levy bills, these are statutory payments based on your Rateable Value and are not affected by the Government’s recent changes to business rate payments. We do however,  understand that these are very challenging times for businesses, and hope the new Government packages with additional support, will help businesses with fixed costs such as these.
 
Although many of the activities we deliver are temporarily put on hold, we are working on a town centre recovery strategy to help businesses get back to normal and encourage visitors to use and support the town once the restrictions start to be lifted. Part of the BID levy will be used to fund these projects which will directly benefit many businesses in the town centre. 

As always, if you have any questions or need advice on the support available to you, I am here to take calls and emails at any time of the day on 07597380818 or tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com 
 
Claiming for furlough – Now Open!
This morning, HMRC opened the portal for businesses to claim refund for furloughed staff.  


You can claim for employees that were employed as of 19 March 2020 and were on your PAYE payroll on or before that date; this means that you will have made an RTI submission notifying us of payment of that employee on or before 19 March 2020
employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to us on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for you after that, and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if you re-employ them and put them on furlough.

How to claim
As you prepare to make a claim, please note:


the only way to make a claim is online – the service should be simple to use and any support you need available on GOV.UK; this will include help with calculating the amount you can claim
you can make the claim yourself even if you usually use an agent
claims will be paid within 6 working days; you should not contact HMRC unless it is absolutely necessary – any queries should be directed to your agent, representative or the HMRC webchat service
HMRC cannot answer any queries from employees – they will need to raise these with you, as their employer, directly.

Information you will need before you make a claim:
You will need to have the following information before applying:
 
  • a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'HMRC services: sign in or register'
  • be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can do so now, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'PAYE Online for employers'
  • the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for:

Name.
National Insurance number.
Claim period and claim amount.
PAYE/employee number (optional).

if you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee
if you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; we will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods.

If you want an agent to act for you
Please note:


agents authorised to act for you on PAYE matters can make the claim on your behalf using their ID and password
you will need to tell your agent which UK bank account you want the grant to be paid into, in order to ensure funds are paid as quickly as possible to you.

You should retain all records and calculations in respect of your claims.
Please follow this link for the most up to date information on furlough claiming https://www.gov.uk/guidance/work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages-to-claim-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme 
 
Andrew Pearce from Bradshaw Johnson Chartered Accountants on Bancroft has kindly agreed to offer free impartial financial business advice on this process. Please email andrew.pearce@bjca.co.uk   
 
Government Grants – You Must Apply!
North Herts District Council have made a large number of grant payments and continue to process many others this week. You must apply for the grant to receive payment. Businesses who do not apply and are eligible may not receive payment. Please follow this link to read the eligibility criteria and apply for the grant https://www.north-herts.gov.uk/home/emergency-planning/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-help-businesses  If you are unsure if you are eligible, please complete the application form and the Council will be in touch.
 
If you have any questions please contact revenues@north-herts.gov.uk 

Free IT support
Mark at Idea Anvil on Bancroft have kindly offer local small businesses free IT support to help them through this challenging time. If there are any businesses or organisations in Hitchin that do not have any IT resource to support them during this disruption then within reason they are happy to provide that free of charge during these extraordinary times and until businesses get moving again on a more normal footing.
 
For example if businesses need help with;
 
  • remote support for their staff that are working from home, setting up email, printers, cloud services
  • or they have a technical issue in the workplace,
  • or need technical advice on any aspect of IT systems or services,
  • or simply someone to bounce ideas off

If you want to discuss this at all please contact me – mark.scott@ideasanvil.com  Managing Director, Ideasanvil Ltd. - https://www.ideasanvil.com/  
 
Delivering products and food
Setting up a delivery service for food and products can be a complicated and daunting task. I understand that some businesses are in need of advice on how to set this service up whilst keeping within the health and safety Government guidelines. If you are keen to set up a delivery service and need some advice, please get in touch.

If you are already set up for deliveries, please email tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com with the following information to be added to the business directory as a delivery businesses on the www.hitchinherts.com website and to promote you on our social media platforms.
 
  • Business name
  • Phone number
  • Type of food or product
  • Logistics of delivery

Local Business Vouchers
To try and ease cashflow challenges over the coming weeks, we are encouraging businesses to create and offer vouchers for residents to buy now and redeem later in the year. We have set up a voucher page on the www.hitchinherts.com website which we will promote on various social media platforms.
 
Please send us the following information to tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com         
 
  • What the voucher includes
  • Which business it is for
  • An image or company logo to accompany the listing
  • Contact details (website, phone number) for customers to call or purchase voucher.

If you don’t already have vouchers, we are also offering all businesses FREE voucher printing in the Information Office. Please email a PDF of your voucher and how many you want printed to tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com           

 
 
 
Continue Reading
Posted: Wednesday 15th April 2020
UPDATED INFORMATION - Hitchin Town Centre Businesses 14/4/2020
I’ve spent the last week answering questions from businesses and offering support and guidance on various aspects of the Governments business support plan. If you are struggle to find out what funds you might be eligible for, how to access support or need advice, please do get in touch with me any time by emailing tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com or call me on 07597380818. If you have missed any of my updates please follow this link where we have upload all the information https://www.hitchinherts.com/blog.php?id=64    
 
Continuing to trade
I appreciate that many of you have had to close your doors under the Governments order to protect customers and ensure social distancing is adhered to. I have however seen many businesses come up with innovative ways to continue trading and delivering products and food to local residents. Many businesses have stepped up and are offering new services such as knitting activity boxes, pre-mixed hair colouring, gelato and roast dinner deliveries. If you would like some guidance on promotions, setting up online shopping, how to deliver products safely or just need some ideas or advice on how you can adapt your business during these times, please get in touch.
 
If you are not on the list of businesses ordered to close and would like to safely open your doors and continue trading there are a number of steps you will be required to take. Please get in touch for further advice on the health and safety measures need to allow the public to enter your premises.   
 
Government Grants

North Herts District Council will be sending the majority of grants out this week. You must apply for the grant to receive payment. Businesses who do not apply and are eligible may not receive payment. Please follow this link to read the eligibility criteria and apply for the grant https://www.north-herts.gov.uk/home/emergency-planning/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-help-businesses  If you are unsure if you are eligible, please complete the application form and the Council will be in touch.
 
A message from Cllr Ian Albert Executive Member, Finance and IT - NHDC
1. As of Thursday, over 1,100 business grant applications had been received. The software to make payments to bank accounts had been installed. Over 800 applications had been put into the system for payment. It is hoped that first payments will be received early this week and most of the remainder by the weekend. If you have made an application but haven't received anything in your bank account by early next week, you can contact NHDC but please be as patient as possible.If you haven't made an application yet and are unsure whether you're entitled, explanatory information is to be found on NHDC website or give us a ring.

2. Software to support new business rate reliefs was received at the end of last week. This will be installed and tested. It is then planned to issue you with new bills, many zero rated, over the next fortnight. Direct Debits are not being taken.

Furlough Staff
As some of you are still trading or partly trading during this time, I wanted to make you aware of some recent information regarding furlough form the Government website. Any employees you place on furlough must be furloughed for a minimum period of 3 consecutive weeks. When they return to work, they must be taken off furlough. Employees can be furloughed multiple times, but each separate instance must be for a minimum period of 3 consecutive weeks.

Many of you have already furloughed your staff to allow access to the Governments job retention scheme. Through PAYE, HMRC will refund 80% of staff salaries up to £2500 per month. It is up to the employee whether they pay staff 80% of their salary and claim it all back or top it up by 20%. HMRC have yet to open the portal to allow claims to be processed. I would advise you contacting your accountant to ensure they are ready to claim as soon as the portal opens. Andrew Pearce from Bradshaw Johnson Chartered Accountants on Bancroft has kindly agreed to offer free impartial financial business advice on this process. Please email andrew.pearce@bjca.co.uk   

Hitchin Landlords
On Friday 10th April, Hitchin’s commercial landlords, Bim Afolami MP and myself discussed via conference call the impact that Covid-19 was having on businesses and in particular the effect this was on having on local businesses, their tenancies and on the landlords.
 
All parties conveyed to Bim the need for further clarification from the Government on guidelines and specific roles for landlords in this pandemic. Much of the discussion focused on the relationship between the landlord and their tenants with the landlords outlining the challenges they are facing in this crisis and the support they are providing to their tenants. There was an emphasis on the need for landlords and tenants to continue to have conversations and reach voluntary agreements for this period and beyond.
 
As there are a wide range of circumstances businesses are currently in, it’s advised that, if you are struggling or find you may be struggling to meet payments in the future, to get in touch with your landlord as soon as possible to explain your situation and discuss options.  

Free IT support
Mark at Idea Anvil on Bancroft have kindly offer local small businesses free IT support to help them through this challenging time. If there are any businesses or organisations in Hitchin that do not have any IT resource to support them during this disruption then within reason they are happy to provide that free of charge during these extraordinary times and until businesses get moving again on a more normal footing.
 
For example if businesses need help with;
 
  • remote support for their staff that are working from home, setting up email, printers, cloud services
  • they have a technical issue in the workplace,
  •  need technical advice on any aspect of IT systems or services,
  • or simply someone to bounce ideas off

If you want to discuss this at all please contact me – mark.scott@ideasanvil.com, Managing Director, Ideasanvil Ltd. - https://www.ideasanvil.com/  
 
Delivering products and food
If you are already set up for deliveries, please email tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com with the following information to be added to the business directory as a delivery businesses on the www.hitchinherts.com website and to promote you on our social media platforms.
 
  • Business name
  • Phone number
  • Type of food or product
  • Logistics of delivery

 
Local Business Vouchers
To try and ease cashflow challenges over the coming weeks, we are encouraging businesses to create and offer vouchers for residents to buy now and redeem later in the year. We have set up a voucher page on the www.hitchinherts.com website which we will promote on various social media platforms.
 
Please send us the following information to tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com         
 
  • What the voucher includes
  • Which business it is for
  • An image or company logo to accompany the listing
  • Contact details (website, phone number) for customers to call or purchase voucher.

If you don’t already have vouchers, we are also offering all businesses FREE voucher printing in the Information Office. Please email a PDF of your voucher and how many you want printed to tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com      

 
 
Continue Reading
Posted: Monday 6th April 2020
IMPORTANT INFORMATION Covid-19 Hitchin Business Support 6/4/20
I’ve spent the last few weeks receiving and sending out relevant information to help you access the financial support announced by the Government. Reading up on Government information, being in contact with our local MP, NHDC and various other businesses and organisations has meant I am able to give local businesses support and guidance through this time. If you are struggling to find out what funds you might be eligible for, how to access support or need advice, please do get in touch with me any time by emailing tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com or call me on 07597380818. If you have missed any of my updates please follow this link where we have upload all the information https://www.hitchinherts.com/blog.php?id=64   

Government Grants
North Herts District Council will be sending out grants to eligible businesses that have completed an application form from 9th April. Please follow this link and read the eligibility criteria https://www.north-herts.gov.uk/home/emergency-planning/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-help-businesses 
If you think you are eligible, please complete the application form and the Council will be in touch.
 
Furlough Staff
Many of you have already furloughed your staff to allow access to the Governments job retention scheme. Through PAYE, HMRC will refund 80% of staff salaries up to £2500 per month. It is up to the employee whether they pay staff 80% of their salary and claim it all back or top it up by 20%. HMRC have yet to open the portal to allow claims to be processed. I would advise you contacting your accountant to ensure they are ready to claim as soon as the portal opens. Andrew Pearce from Bradshaw Johnson Chartered Accountants on Bancroft has kindly agreed to offer free impartial financial business advice on this process. Please email andrew.pearce@bjca.co.uk  

Hitchin Landlords
Many landlords have already been in touch with their tenants to offer various support and on commercial rent. As the Government have stated that it is down to their discretion as to the level of support they offer, I am intending to hold a meeting to allow key landlords to share the support they have in place and receive advice. I am in the process of setting up a conference call with the MP Bim Afolami and some of the key Hitchin landlords in coming days.
 
Free IT support
Mark at Ideas Anvil on Bancroft have kindly offered local small businesses free IT support to help them through this challenging time. If there are any businesses or organisations in Hitchin that do not have any IT resource to support them during this disruption then within reason they are happy to provide that free of charge during these extraordinary times and until businesses get moving again on a more normal footing.
 
For example if businesses need help with;
  • remote support for their staff that are working from home, setting up email, printers, cloud services
  • they have a technical issue in the workplace,
  •  need technical advice on any aspect of IT systems or services,
  • or simply someone to bounce ideas offIf you want to discuss this at all please contact me – mark.scott@ideasanvil.com, Managing Director, Ideasanvil Ltd. - https://www.ideasanvil.com/ 
 
Delivering products and food
Setting up a delivery service for food and products can be a complicated and daunting task. I understand that some businesses are in need of advice on how to set this service up whilst keeping within the health and safety Government guidelines. If you are keen to set up a delivery service and need some advice, please get in touch.

If you are already set up for deliveries, please email marketing@hitchinherts.com with the following information to be added to the business directory as a delivery businesses on the www.hitchinherts.com website and to promote you on our social media platforms.
  • Business name
  • Phone number
  • Type of food or product
  • Logistics of delivery 
Local Business Vouchers
To try and ease cashflow challenges over the coming weeks, we are encouraging businesses to create and offer vouchers for residents to buy now and redeem later in the year. We have set up a voucher page on the www.hitchinherts.com website which we will promote on various social media platforms.
 
Please send us the following information to marketing@hitchinherts.com        
  • What the voucher includes
  • Which business it is for
  • An image or company logo to accompany the listing
  • Contact details (website, phone number) for customers to call or purchase voucher.If you don’t already have vouchers, we are also offering all businesses FREE voucher printing in the Information Office. Please email a PDF of your voucher and how many you want printed to tom.hardy@hitchinherts.com     
 


 
Continue Reading
Posted: Monday 6th April 2020
Hitchin Businesses offering delivery - update

These local businesses are offering delivery so you can continue to support them while following social distancing or self-isolation measures
Tim's Art Supplies
(Art and Craft Supplies)Delivering pre-paid supplies locally for you arts and crafts. 
FREE DELIVERY ON PRE-PAID ORDERS OF &POUND25 PLUS, OR &POUND2 CHARGE FOR SMALLER ORDERS (MINIMUM &POUND5)
Over the phone payment available for confirmed orders.
Covering Hitchin, Letchworth and local villages.
For more information and to check availability please call: 01462 455 376

Tastebuds
(Coffee, cake and light meals)Lunchtime delivery service from 11am onwards
Have delicious food and tasty coffee delivered to your home or office.
For more information call: 01462 455 733

Maison Blanc
(Furniture. homeware and gifts)
Offering both Home Delivery and Kerbside Collection. 

Home DeliveryDropped at your front door with a call to let you know your goods have arrived.
Pre-payment essential, available over the phone.
£30 minimum spend.
5 mile radius for delivery.
Donations towards petrol costs welcomeKerbside CollectionCollect your goods from outside the shop (21A Bancroft, SG5 1JW)
Order and pay by phone.
No minimum spend.Call 01462 625 265 for more info, or see Maison Blanc on Facebook. 

Kazoku
(Japanese DIning)Takeaway replacing all eat in services.
Either collect your order or have it delivered.
Pre-ordering and pre-payment available by phone.
Cash payment also available on collection.
Small delivery charge applies: £2 for Hitchin, £5 for Letchworth, £5 for Stevenage
New Takeaway Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 5pm-9.30pm / Sun 12pm-9.30pm
Call 07438 853 471 

The Vintage Bay
(Vintage Homeware and Gifts)Delivery available through their website: https://www.thevintagebay.co.uk/

VaperBar
HitchinHome delivery available from 23rd March
Products delivered: Vape Juices, Coils and Mods
Available to all customers within a 7 mile radius of HItchin SG5 1BG
Minimum of £20 order with free delivery
Payment accepted: Cash or contactless and also bank transfers if customers prefer .
To order call 01462 432 959 or 07940 972071

Etcetera
Offering home delivery and kerbside collection
Home deliveryItems (that will comfortably fit in our cars) dropped at front door
Pre-payment essential - order & pay by phone
£20 minimum spend
5-mile radius   Kerbside collectionOrder & pay by phone
Collect goods from outside shop
No minimum spend
For more info contact 01462 434946 or look at our Facebook and Instagram pages

Art Nest
We will be setting up an online shop and a FREE delivery service to all our customers within a 10 mile radius of the gallery 
Postage & packing will have to be charged to customers outside of the 10 miles

Beer Shop
Order via our web store https://shop.beershopshq.uk/
Craft beer, traditional ales and lagers in bottle or can plus our Beer Shop merch
Delivery via courier and locally bu us where possible

The Car Agents
Our MOT and Service Centre are offering a Free Collection and Delivery service within a 10-miles radius
All vehicles will be collected and delivered back having been repaired, MOT'd or serviced and then cleaned, and supplied with a seat, steering wheel & gear lever cover, together with a floor mat
The vehicle owners can book online or over the phone, we will then collect, carry out the works, take payment online or via a car payment and then deliver back with the keys placed in an envelope, to be put through the letterbox
01462 441460
www.thecaragents.com

H Town Rags
Offering local home delivery via our Instagram @htownragsuk and have online Depop shop @ragsonlineuk

Candl - ibrium
www.candl-ibrium.com
Handcrafted candles, wax melts, Bathbombs and reed diffusers
Delivered by Candl-ibrium staff to local Hitchin, Luton and Stevenage areas (including villages)

Jolly Brown
07779 490847 / 01462 434292
Clothing & Acessories
Customer will purchase online or in store whilst we're open
www.jollybrown.co.uk
They will pay online or over the phone, we will pack it up and its ready for delivery HITCHIN ONLY

Wholesome Weigh
01462 433155 and we will be delivering on cargo bikes
Organic food and zero waste
Our website will soon be up and running to take orders
www.thewholesomeweigh.co.uk

Molly's Tearoom
01462 337470
Tea and cakes
Takeaway or delivery of Afternoon Tea while we are closed for customers
We will be in the shop between 10am-1pm to take bookings or collections

Caffe Elite 
 01462 451298
BREAKFAST, LUNCH, BRUNCH HOT AND COLD DRINKS MILKSHAKES & SMOOTHIES
Collection or Delivery free delivery Over £10 in Hitchin 
https://m.facebook.com/CaffeEliteHitchin/

Bosphorus
Deliveries now available to Hitchin and surrounding areas
01462 451904 to place order
Visit www.bosphorus.co.uk to view menu

Juicy Vapes
FREE next day courier delivery on orders over £20 from the website
www.juicyvapes.co.uk

Kushma Cottage
Delivery Thursday to Sunday only
01462 435936
www.just-eat.co.uk
www.kushmacottage.co.uk

Dhaka Restaurant
Takeaway and delivery service
01462 451732
www.dhaka-restaurant.co.ukPaprikaDelivery
01462 458140
www.chefonline.co.uk
www.just-eat.co.uk

AkashDelivery
01462 434241
www.just-eat.co.uk

Sukawatee
Delivery
Payment over the phone
01462 450255/07512 250864/65
www.sukawatee.com

Rice n' Spice
Meals delivered to your door
Discount for NHS and vulnerable
Immune system boosting food
No waste
Visit WWW.RNSMEALS.COM to get signed up

Jasmine
01462 423663
Menu: www.jasmineexpress.co.uk
www.just-eat.co.uk

Professional Dry Cleaners
Pick up and delivery service
Hitchin, Stevenage, Letchworth and surrounding villages
Dry Cleaning/Laundry & Pressing/Ironing service
10% discount on all household items
Min. order of £20 for free pick up and delivery, £3 charge under £20
For more information: 07728 263551

Fussey & Baer
Delivery takes place every Mon / Wed / Fri & Sat morning within Hitchin. Deliveries are contactless, we’ll simply knock on your door, leave your order on your front door step and wave from afar. 
Products - Coffee beans / ground coffee, cakes, at home coffee brewing equipment, hot chocolate powder, Chai, gift vouchers 
 
https://www.fusseyandbaer.com/shop
Info@dusseyandbaer.com can be used for any enquiries. 
 
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