Digital presence vital for Inverness local business recovery
22nd January 2021
Inverness Councillors on The Highland Council's City and Area Recovery Group today discussed the importance of local businesses having an online digital presence for customer access during the pandemic and post-lockdown recovery.
Good digital access via websites and social media was the common theme raised by two speakers from Business Gateway and the Highland Food and Drink Trail in presentations to Councillors.
Depute Provost and Leader of Inverness and Area, Cllr Graham Ross who Chairs the City and Area Recovery Group thanked speakers Danny Gallagher from Business Gateway Highland, for their Digital Inclusion delivery and Douglas Hardie, Bad Girl Bakery for the Highland Food and Drink Trail for their presentations, he said:
"It is encouraging to hear about the high level of interest and uptake for Business Gateway online digital training and advice and assistance. We know that people want to shop local, during the government coronavirus restrictions and they also want to support local business. Its vitally important that local businesses can be easily found to new customers seeking them online.
"Members are also very excited about the proposals for the Highland Food and Drink Trail in Inverness. This model has huge potential for the local food and drink sector which could potentially be rolled out across the Highlands. Again, we are hearing that the active social media presence of businesses will play a huge part in the food and drink trail. Businesses will be able to respond and promote menus accordingly as daily fresh produce is available to them.
"The Highland Food and Drink Trail is a very exciting prospect for the sector and its customers leading to the promotion of the City as an attractive place to visit and Council officers are actively working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Council's Roads and Transport, Licensing and Planning services to help progress this project."
Councillors also received an update on the work of Inverness BID prior to Christmas covering their advertising campaigns - both with the Inverness Common Good Fund and HN Media Group and independently by the BID with Moray Firth Radio. Mike Smith, Inverness BID Manager thanked the Council on behalf of M&S for the Council's support in the closure of Hamilton Street before Christmas to enable safe customer access to collect orders from the store.
Members were also informed about the Council's implementation of the Scottish Government Spaces for People funding in the city. The project is a response to the public health crisis to give people space to move around towns and cities safely across the country. Further details on the Spaces for People Project will be reported to the City of Inverness Area Committee in due course.
Caithness does not have Business Improvement District (BID)
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Depute Provost and Leader of Inverness and Area, Cllr Graham Ross who Chairs the City and Area Recovery Group.
To help mitigate the persistent uncertainty and challenges arising from the pandemic, the Highland Council continues its humanitarian support, in partnership with the Community Food Initiative North East (CFINE), which operates FareShare Scotland in the north of Scotland. With funding from the Scottish Government and donations from supermarkets and food suppliers, FareShare, the Highland Council, local community groups and the Third Sector have adopted a collaborative and co-ordinated approach to food support for the wellbeing of households across the Highlands.
The Corporate Resources Committee of Highland council debated the latest account to December 2020 that show an underspend in staffing costs of £14,474. This saving has helped to create a surplus and stated in the report "at current projections for the year-end outturn position suggest a net year end budget surplus of £3.1m, a significant improvement from the £8.7m forecast overspend reported to this committee in November." Councillor Matthew Reiss appeared today to chair the meeting of the Corporate Resource committee following the resignation of councillor Alister Mackinnon.
School communities across Highland are being encouraged to remain vigilant on safety measures as a partial school return begins today. Chair of the Education Committee, Cllr John Finlayson said: "I am delighted to see the return of some of our pupils to education settings across Highland today.
Members of the Caithness Committee have agreed to use Town Centre Funding to invest in the CCTV infrastructure for both Wick and Thurso. £16,100 will be used to digitalise the existing aging analogue public space CCTV system in Wick town centre and connection of the new system into the council's CCTV monitoring office with £25,625 to do the same for Thurso town centre.
This item was discussed at the meeting and is available on video below. Members of the Highland Council's Caithness Committee have had the opportunity to review and comment on the two updated Active Travel Masterplans for Wick and Thurso aimed at making it safer for people to walk and cycle in and around the towns.
Letters to parents, senior-phase pupils and supportive information to school staff will be issued this week to explain the phased return to schools for some pupils on 22 February, in line with today's announcements and new guidance issued by the Scottish Government. A large amount of work and progress has already been achieved to prepare our schools for the return of P1-P3 children and Senior Phase students who will return for essential practical activities for certification, and we will continue to provide in school remote provision for our key worker and most vulnerable learners.
Retail, tourism, hospitality and aviation businesses will pay no rates during 2021-22 under proposals outlined today. It is one of a series of measures proposed by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes following confirmation of a further £1.1 billion of consequential funding arising from UK Government coronavirus (COVID-19) spending.
Housing Secretary extends support for renters during pandemic. Renters will continue to be supported during the ongoing national lockdown restrictions, with an extension to the ban on bailiff evictions.
The agenda was hanged to take the Caithness Horizons paper first. Read the Agenda Read the Supplementary Agenda Item 3: Minutes Report, 124.69 KB Item 5: Police - Area Performance Summary Report, 75.13 KB.
On Tuesday 16 February 2021 from 9:30 until 17:00, motorists are being advised by The Highland Council that two streets in Wick will be temporary closed to allow KIER to safely carry out Iron work repairs. U3529 Grant Street, Wick, will be closed from its junction with the U3560 Huddart Street to its junction with C1073 Macarthur Street U3560 Huddart Street, Wick, will closed from its junction with the U3654 Smith Terrace to its junction with U3569 Kinnaird Street.