Blogs - 23 April 2020

Sajeeda Rose: The role of D2N2 in the time of Coronavirus

In this blog, D2N2 Chief Executive Sajeeda Rose gives an update on the organisation’s efforts to support the response to Coronavirus, the work happening with partners, and planning for the economic recovery.

In the space of a month, our businesses and people have had to evolve to meet the new challenges of an ever-changing national and global crisis.

I think it’s fair to say all the United Kingdom has transformed beyond recognition.

As a Local Enterprise Partnership, we have not been exempt from these changes.

Our mission of helping to grow the local economy has taken on a significant new perspective since the crisis began.

We have found ourselves at the centre of change, and like many others, we have had to adapt and plan for an uncertain future.

Working in Partnership

As a partnership-based organisation, we have used our influence to coordinate intelligence and best practice with policymakers at local and national levels.

We are working with partners in government to disseminate critical information to our stakeholders and feeding information directly back to government identifying the gaps in support, and how we can plug them.

We have been in constant liaison with our local authorities to support them with several activities, including the provision of data and analytics to support decision making and recovery planning.

I am proud of the work that D2N2 and my colleagues at the Councils have done to work together at this difficult time, and this collaboration demonstrates a genuine desire from all to help our region’s businesses and communities react to this unprecedented pandemic.

Our region’s businesses are in uncharted territory and D2N2, and our Growth Hub, are doing what we can to deliver the support businesses need. We have been working with government and partner organisations (East Midlands Chamber, FSB, CBI) to regularly review and update the support for businesses as details emerge both nationally and any complimentary local support that becomes available.

D2N2 Growth Hub

So far, our Growth Hub, in its capacity to support SMEs, has had over 2000 enquires on a range of topics: from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to financial support available, like the Business Investment Fund.

The Growth Hub also continue to run their series of webinars, free to attend, that advise businesses on how best to cope with the pandemic while continuing to offer their usual range of excellent content designed to upskill our businesses on a range of topics, from digitalisation to accounting.

PPE4NHS

From the outset of this crisis, it has been clear that Covid-19 represents a profound challenge to our way of life in several ways, from our physical health to our economic well-being.

D2N2s response to this crisis has been to help whoever we can, wherever we can, when we can.

Earlier this month, we helped our nation’s health and care sectors by supporting the PPE4NHS campaign.

A drive created by Sutton-in-Ashfield based Lindhurst Engineering, which is encouraging businesses in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to donate spare personal protective equipment (PPE) to support health and care workers.

The PPE4NHS campaign has made an impressive start and has so far received and distributed over 15,000 PPE items from local businesses as diverse as barbers, and publicans to colleges and engineering firms.

Redeployment Triage Scheme

We have also been working with partners on the Redeployment Triage Scheme (RTS), a measure designed to match recently redundant workers with new jobs in sectors experiencing large demands for new staff such as the food & drink, distribution, and care sectors.

The service engages with employers needing to make redundancies to ensure a smooth transition for employees into new work.

That scheme, administered by Futures, the National Careers Service provider for the East Midlands, is now in place and ready to begin taking referrals from our partners including the Department of Work & Pensions.

The RTS is an excellent example of how we have re-purposed our existing resources and programmes to support the national effort.

Local Industrial Strategy

This crisis is not a short-term issue, and its repercussions will be felt for a long time to come. We are continuing to develop our Local Industrial Strategy and reshaping it to reflect the impact of the current crisis, reviewing all emerging evidence to inform the future economic strategy of our region.

This will include reshaping the focus to ensure it identifies the immediate support required to enable economic recovery. 

It will harness the positive lessons learnt from the response to the Covid-19 outbreak, such as the expansion in home working as part of our collective response to reducing carbon emissions.

That’s for the future, and in the meantime, we will work with our partners to develop our plans for economic recovery.

For the time being though, we’ll continue to do all that we can to improve the life chances of those who live in our region.

So please stay at home, continue to follow the latest guidance, and above all, stay safe.

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