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News and information for West Oxfordshire’s businesses - 11 Jun 21

Support for our high streets

I am delighted to announce a major new initiative to help our town centres and in particular the retail and hospitality businesses that underpin our high streets.

We have partnered with LoyalFree, a digital loyalty app which helps businesses attract new customers.  It is already running in 35 towns and cities across the UK and provides a platform for businesses to promote their offers, loyalty schemes, reviews, products, services and more.  

Love West Oxfordshire

We will be promoting the LoyalFree app to residents as part of our new 'Love West Oxfordshire' campaign with the strapline 'Be local, think local, shop local'.

The emphasis is on local and will be backed up with a significant marketing campaign over the summer.
We will be running an online event with LoyalFree on 15 June to explain how local businesses can engage with the scheme.  The session will explain the app, its features and functionality, and cover how businesses can sign up to use it to drive footfall to their door. The app is free and simple to use, both from the business and the customer’s perspectives.

Any retail, hospitality or personal services businesses that have fixed premises in a town or village centre in West Oxfordshire are encouraged to sign up for the event which will run from 6:30pm to 7:30pm on Tuesday 15 June.  Please sign up to attend below.

Any retail and hospitality businesses that are not able to attend but would still like to find out more, please contact us at
Attend our LoyalFree business event

Google online mentoring programme

Enterprise Nation and Google are running a mentoring programme for SMEs to improve their online presence. The programme will provide 1:1 practical guidance on digital skills as well as becoming more discoverable on Google search,  creating digital and social media strategies, building or optimising websites and how to sell products and services online.

In addition, businesses that sign up for the programme will benefit for from year-round support via Enterprise Nation membership, exclusive offers, local events and meet-ups.
Google online mentoring programme

OxLEP Skills for Business programme

The OxLEP Skills for Business programme helps businesses identify and evaluate skills and learning needs, including upskilling current staff.

The support can range from assistance with apprenticeships, the Kickstart Placement Scheme, recruitment, upskilling staff, work placement and advice on training providers. The programme will run until 31 July 2021.
OxLEP Skills for Business Programme

COVID spot checks on businesses

West Oxfordshire district council is continuing to work with the Health and Safety Executive to carry out checks and inspections on local businesses. These inspections will be carried out via calls and visits in order to check whether businesses have been following the current guidance. The COVID-secure measures businesses should have in place include:
  • Risk assessment: every workplace should have a COVID risk assessment. Update it to reflect any changes in legislation or guidance that may impact your work activity
  • Social distancing: where possible you should keep people two metres apart. If this is not viable, keeping one metre apart with risk mitigation is acceptable.
  • Cleaning, hygiene and handwashing: keeping your workplace clean reduces the potential for coronavirus to spread. It is a critical part of making and keeping your business COVID-secure.
  • Ventilation and air conditioning can help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
  • Talk to workers: provide information about providing support and maintaining control measures.
  • Working from home: provide the equipment they need, keep in regular contact and discuss their wellbeing.
  • Vulnerable workers: talk to staff, provide information and consider the risk to workers who are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus – putting controls in place to reduce that risk.
Please follow the link below for further information on how to run your business safely.
Running your business safely

Other helpful organisations

Several business groups are coming up trumps with help and advice for businesses. The ones below are good but do also check the trade association for your own sector.
  • Enterprise Nation - a vibrant community of small businesses and business advisers with a website packed full of resources
  • Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) - the UK’s largest grassroots business campaigning group
  • OSEP CIC - supports social entrepreneurs, social enterprises, enterprising charities and purposeful business across Oxfordshire
  • Prince's Trust - useful advice, guidance and resources targeted at young entrepreneurs under the age of 30.
  • Institute of Directors (IoD) - business organisation for company directors
  • Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) - represents the UK's self-employed including freelancers, interim managers, consultants and contractors 
  • UK Hospitality - represents the broad hospitality sector – covering everything from bars, coffee shops, contract catering, hotels, nightclubs, visitor attractions and other leisure venues
  • Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) - Growth hub for Oxfordshire
  • MD2MD - helps managing directors compare notes on business MD to MD. Now operating online with a free trial period for qualifying business leaders.

Keeping up to date

Please forward this email to others to whom this might be useful and encourage them to sign up to further updates.  Please note that you can access previous editions of this newsletter too.
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West Oxfordshire District Council, Elmfield, New Yatt Road, Witney OX28 1PB.

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