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COVID-19: the safety and support measures we’ve put in place at Capital Space

COVID-19: the safety and support measures we’ve put in place at Capital Space
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COVID-19: the safety and support measures we’ve put in place at Capital Space
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

In these challenging times, we want to reassure our customers that their safety and that of our staff is our number-one priority. To that end, we are restricting all our activities as from now. We’re also reaching out to customers who may need our support in the wake of economic difficulties that many of them may be facing. Our aim is to keep working – now remotely – to ensure you can keep working, too. You may not be able to work in your Capital Space centre for a while but as far as we’re concerned you’re still a much-valued Capital Space customer and we will do all we can to help you concentrate on running your business, wherever you’re temporarily based.

EASING THE CASH FLOW OF OUR CUSTOMERS

Clearly our customers are going to be concerned about their businesses, bills and how they’re going to pay them. We are helping our customers and will continue to help them through these difficult times.

Helping to ensure cash flow

We understand that our customers may have a cash-flow shortage in the short term until they receive financial assistance from the Government. That’s why we’ve given them the option of taking payments from their customers’ deposits come our next direct debit run on 1 April, so they won’t have to find any additional cash immediately. We can repeat the process, if necessary. While we of course understand that this eats into their deposit, it will give our customers some financial breathing space.

Peter Boam, managing director of Capital Space, said: “Our whole team has been great this week, really stretching themselves to agree deals with lots of our customers. We want them to survive and we will help them.”

We have received some positive feedback from grateful customers.  Based at Churchill Square Business Centre, Wayne Hall, of Create with Impact, said: “I would like to acknowledge the professionalism of both yourself and the owner of Capital Space. We feel we are in good hands with our landlord.”

Daniel Tucker, of Kitchens by Design, at Laurence Industrial Estate, in Southend, wrote: “Many thanks to Peter and you guys; it all helps massively at the moment.”

Adam Howkins, of The PT Centre, at Milton Keynes Business Centre; said: “I really appreciate this and long may we continue in business. We will all get through this. Thanks again for your understanding and support.”

Ensuring our customers have access to available support

Our centre management teams are in regular contact with our customers by email outlining the Government support that is available to them and informing them of any updates with respect to their centres. Key information has also been posted on our website homepage and via social media.

There are new measures being announced regularly, but government initiatives to date include:

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • A Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs)
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
  • (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme enabling the self-employed to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. 

More information about getting financial assistance from the Government is available here.

Rates free for a year

To apply for this, customers need to fill in a Small Business Relief Form (SBRF) for your local council; any business that SELLS or HIRES may eligible to apply. These include:

  • Shops
  • Furnishing shops 
  • Display rooms – this includes double glazing and garage doors
  • Car / Caravan show rooms
  • Second-hand car lots
  • Markets 
  • Petrol Stations
  • Garden Centres
  • Hair and beauty services

For example, if you run a business that sells a product from within a workshop based in one of our centres you could be eligible for rates relief.  

NOTE: YOU HAVE TO APPLY FOR THIS RELIEF – YOUR COUNCIL WON’T APPROACH YOU ABOUT IT, so you’ll need to be proactive!

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

The government will provide additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small-business rate relief (SBBR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. 

TO CLAIM: Some councils are contacting business, others are asking businesses to contact them –check your local authority website to see what, if anything you need to do; the quicker you take any necessary action, the better. Although some local authorities are starting to try to get in touch with businesses, many business premises are unattended at present. It is in the interest of customers to make themselves known to the local authorities.

Insurance

Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres and other social venues is sufficient to make a claim as long as all other terms and conditions are met.

Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.

ENSURING SMOOTH WORKING AND SAFETY AT OUR BUSINESS CENTRES

Businesses that can’t work remotely

For businesses which are unable to work remotely from home, rest assured, they are still being able to access their office space via their security fob. As there are substantially far fewer customers at every site, the cleaning teams are being asked increasingly to focus on public communal ‘touch points’, such as regularly disinfecting door handles. If customers and their staff are going to be coming in, we have asked them to email the centre management teams to let us know. That way, we can continue to ensure areas such as kitchens and washrooms are regularly cleaned and maintained.

Central support

Capital Space’s head-office team – our IT support, finance and office manager – and that of each centre are all now working remotely. If you ring your centre with a query, your call will be forwarded to the person you want to speak to via their home number.

Taking deliveries  

For the safety of our staff, all our receptions are closed until further notice, which means there will be no one around to accept any deliveries. A contact number has been posted on the front door of reception at each centre and in other key positions so that any organisation arriving with deliveries will know who to contact in the absence of staff. Customers have been asked not to arrange for any deliveries to come direct to their office space unless they can be sure that there will be someone there to receive them.

Phone services  

Customers are being reassured that if they want to divert their business phones to alternative home or mobile numbers, all they need to do is email their centre management team.

Temporary parking measures

All our parking permit systems are suspended until further notice.

Ensuring site safety

Periodically a member of the centre management team will visit each centre to complete works associated with health and safety, security and ongoing maintenance of the centre. 

Virtual customers

Virtual customers, who pay for a registered postal address at the centre and are now unable to collect their post in person, are being sent their post by the centre management teams – we’ll charge postage but not an admin fee for doing this.

LOOKING AFTER OUR STAFF

We have agreed to retain everyone on their full salaries for three months, regardless of whether employees are working for us, looking after dependents or doing less work because of a current reduction in business. This is good news for everyone – reducing worry for our employees in these difficult times and ensuring, for our customers, that our team here at Capital Space continues to work behind the scenes to look after you and your businesses. 

We are here to support you and your business in these challenging times. Whatever your concerns, please do not worry alone – speak to a member of your centre team and we’ll do all we can to help you. Look out, too, for our regular postings on social media, via Twitter and LinkedIn.  We will continue to keep our customers updated with any further developments on our operations and with the evolving COVID-19 situation.  Stay safe.

To find out how  Capital Space virtual offices or business premises

could benefit your growing business,

call 0800 107 3667