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South Somerset District Council reflects as swift and sustainable action for local businesses during Covid-19 is recognised and praised

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A recent report published by South Somerset District Council’s Economic Development Directorate evidences the efficiency with which the council delivered ‘swift and effective’ action to prioritise and support South Somerset businesses, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The measures – including the administration of time-sensitive government business grants to over 3,500 local businesses, creation of a Broadband Directory to enable businesses and residents to source good broadband and access technology, facilitating the safe re-opening and recovery of town centres and high streets, to name a few – saw the introduction of a robust set of initiatives, a number of which have resulted in continued positive outcomes for the local community.

Of the report, Cllr Val Keitch, Leader of South Somerset District Council commented:

“The collective efforts of this council to prioritise and support South Somerset’s economy throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has been exceptional and rightly recognised, with relevant and sustainable action continuing from this work.”

The Food and Drink Directory launched in April 2020 to promote businesses which were open and provided critical services to local residents throughout the lockdown period. Offering residents local alternatives for essential items, while minimising the risks of not being able to social distance in larger shopping areas, the directory supported local businesses at a hugely difficult time. The directory remains active and in light of the current cost of living crisis will be further added to with details of local food banks. Should any local businesses wish to be added to the directory please contact us via

Three Opportunities Hubs in Chard, Yeovil and Wincanton opened as a direct response to the number of individuals claiming out of work benefits during the pandemic. These ‘one stop shops’ have continued to help people seek employment, gain access to training and learning provision, as well as health and well-being support as they become work-ready.

Business Support Week in March 2021 saw a successful collaboration with Mendip District Council as over 100 businesses took part in a series of workshops designed to support economic recovery and growth post Covid-19. 15 different business support events were hosted by the two councils across the region, focussing on topics such as Selling online, Digital marketing strategies, Shaping future high streets, Fuelling growth amongst others. Feedback and learning from these events have resulted in further events being added to the programme of business events in place prior to Covid.

 Cllr John Clark, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Commercial Strategy commented:

“The response to businesses and individuals to the challenges of Covid has been as broad as it has been impressive. In partnership with town councils, business groups and community representatives, the initiatives launched not only served an immediate and critical need but have resulted in best practice learning and sustainable outcomes for our business community and our residents. Everyone within SSDC should be very proud of the achievements.”

Cllr Val Keitch, Leader of South Somerset District Council added:

“Our work hasn’t and doesn’t stop here. The knowledge and learning that we have acquired over the last two years has been unprecedented in informing our priorities. From our vital role in engaging with the work of Somerset Economic Futures building evidence-based scenarios for the future of our economy over the next 5, 10 and 25 years, to reviewing and reshaping our economic development strategy and implementing initiatives to create economic and social prosperity in South Somerset, I believe we are well-placed to deliver effectively and sustainably today and into the future.”

Image: The launch of the Opportunities Hub at Yeovil Library.

Yeovil Opportunities Hub

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