The Chairman requested a verbal update on InvestSK Ltd.
The Leader of the Council, as Director of InvestSK Ltd provided the Committee with an update on the work of the Company.
InvestSK Ltd were supported by a small team of 4 officers, providing an excellent support to business throughout the District. The Team had led on the administration of £51 million business support grants throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, to nearly 3,000 businesses in South Kesteven. Work currently being undertaken was the administration of a £2 million pound discretionary fund, which was aimed at supporting new businesses and existing looking to diversify and build resilience post Covid-19. £300,000 of which had currently been allocated, it was important that the fund be spent locally.
Grantham Future High Street Fund was underway, with the appointment of the Programme Manager in September. There had been liaison with stakeholders, property and landowners were taking place to move the scheme forward.
The Project Officer had continued to deliver the Heritage High Street Action Zone, in accordance with Historic England guidelines. There were already a number of positive outcomes; shop frontage improvements, civic and community engagement, heritage trails, scoping of sites and buildings of historic significance. Progress had recently been reported to the Culture and Visitor Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which had been well received by Members.
The Stamford Business Club was to re-launch, InvestSK Ltd supporting the Committee and Chairman. InvestSK Ltd had been involved in Grantham, Bourne and Deepings business clubs and was hoping to bring all the Club Chairman together to share best practice.
The Future High Street Funds Programme Manager had been supporting the Director of Growth and Culture with the Welcome Back Fund, to secure the funding and form the action plan. The fund would bring approximately £250,000 to help support high streets across the District, in particular the retail and hospitality sector, in the run up to Christmas.
A new Tourism and Visitor Economy Officer had been appointed, following the retirement of the former officer. This increased the InvestSK Ltd team to 5, building resilience required to support businesses across the District.
The InvestSK Ltd Manager had continued to support and engage with developers and landowners to help bring forward schemes to develop the local economy, notably Spitalgate employment land site, introducing end users to the site.
The Leader was pleased to note that the District was showing strong signs of recovering, the relationship between InvestSK Ltd and South Kesteven District Council was of great support.
The Chairman enquired about the InvestSK Ltd Business Plan and how what had been seen previously differed to the work currently spoken of.
The Leader advised that when he took on the role he changed the scope of the Company, to support the economic development and business engagement for the District. It was noted that no opportunities were “off the table” for InvestSK Ltd.
Further to the update on InvestSK Ltd the Chairman noted that the Committee were to be updated on the management figures for Environment SK Ltd. It was requested that Councillor Robert Reid (Director ESK Ltd), advise when an update would be provided to the Committee.
Environment SK Ltd had performed well with the delivery of its services. It had however struggled with recruitment and retention of staff; it was noted that was a sector wide issue. The financial position had been reviewed by newly appointed Director, who had requested numerous changes, whilst also reviewing the Company’s Business Plan. The Company’s Financial Statement, in a transparent and user-friendly format would be provided to the Committee on 25 January 2022, for their review.
That Environment SK Ltd Financial Statement be presented to the Committee at its January 2022 meeting.