Nottingham City Council is launching a new Nottingham Economic Recovery Unit (NERU) in response to the challenges the city and its businesses expect to face as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.

The new unit will adapt existing support through the D2N2 Growth Hub (part ERDF funded), Nottingham Jobs (part ESF funded), City Centre Management Team and link to key teams within the council, such as licensing, property, regeneration and transport strategy, to provide free, flexible support to businesses in the city during and post-pandemic.

While the City Council has the role of administering £127m of government support to businesses and citizens through the small business grant scheme, business rates and council tax discounts, NERU will focus on dedicated, one-to-one support to businesses and job seekers to mitigate the impact on Nottingham from the predicted forthcoming economic shocks of the pandemic.

Support available to businesses will include, but not be limited to:

  • Business support, including helping businesses open up after lockdown, and look for new business models;
  • Employment support, helping people find work, and supporting businesses either recruit and manage their staff numbers, retaining jobs wherever possible;
  • Skills development, helping retrain and upskill staff for the short and medium term pandemic response;
  • Support out of lockdown, guiding businesses and employees through the wind down of national business and employment support schemes;
  • Unlocking businesses, for example with dedicated licensing, transport, place making/marketing support; and
  • Linking to additional support, such as Universities, the Chamber of Commerce, Local Enterprise Partnership, Marketing NG, Creative Quarter, DWP and Nottingham College.

Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Growth and the City Centre, said: “While we have been working on the immediate support available to businesses and employees, such as the small grants for businesses scheme, ensuring easy access to support for self-employed people and helping those on furlough or looking for work during the pandemic, we knew we would need practical medium and longer-term steps to support Nottingham as lockdown winds down and businesses prepare to reopen.

“The support we can offer through the D2N2 Growth Hub, Nottingham Jobs and our city centre managers is reliable, well-trusted and designed to help whoever needs it. Uniting these teams under the banner of an Economic Recovery Unit, we can provide a single point of access to the most critical services for businesses so they can get the support they need quickly and without worrying they’ll have hoops to jump through.

“More than ever, it’s essential that our business community gets the right support in good time and first time as we follow the government advice on phasing out of lockdown. NERU will help us understand what support need now and what they’re likely to need in the future so we can shape our work around their needs.”