Firstly I am pleased to formally announce that Radian Homes have agreed to become a Patron to our Shaping organisation and we are delighted to have them join us at this critical time for the City. In meeting with Ralph and Michelle recently we instantly agreed on the synergies and objectives we both have for the City. The formal announcement will be made shortly and I have copied both Michelle and Ralph on this communication.
Our City action group continues to make brilliant progress in tackling some of the issues Covid-19 has caused us and here are the latest set of actions that have come from the work the group are doing.
Portsmouth Chamber of Solutions
This is the free Business Support programme using Zoom technology and where each fortnight we focus the help to small businesses on a particular theme. In the first week, Tuesday 28th July we had 48 registrations and 39 attending and on Tuesday this week, 11th August, we had 42 registrations and 22 attending.
These free programmes will start to focus on individual needs in the next three sessions and we are working with the Job Centre + team who will be nominating people for the upcoming sessions.
To bring this need into sharp focus the latest set of unemployment data we have from ONS is as follows and the Wards are data sorted by numbers of claimants:
Our percentage of population unemployed is 7.1% above the Hampshire percentage and the UK as a whole.
We have asked the team that puts on the Chamber of Solution to look at running a Ward by Ward set of sessions and to work with some of the ward leaders, where they exist, and ask them to influence the people to trust in these sessions and attend them where relevant.
Open The High Streets Project (The Go Project)
This is making slow but steady progress. We now have the first of two "contactless" Apps on trail at 15 hospitality venues and this first one is called Contactless Menu and it allows complete order to pay service to be done by the customer allowing the venue to simply deliver to the table the order.
In the first week of the trials the venues have reported between a 50-60% reduction in contact with the customers and we continue to work with the App developers on improvements. Once we have secured around 40 venues on the app and run the trial for a few more weeks we do intend to scale this offer which costs, (post trail), the venue £199 for the machine that connects with the Customer, and 3.9% of each transaction for payment and collection costs.
The second app which is more aimed at shops on a click and collect basis is due to go into trial in two weeks time. Owned by a Dutch developer they have just added a QR code based Track & Trace facility which we are evaluating. This app will cost the Shop around £10 a month plus 1% of the sales made through the app.
Finally the four main Shopping areas we are focussed on helping most urgently are, North End, Southsea, Fratton & Albert Road. Two of these, Fratton & Albert Road have a very active Trade Association and the other two do not. Meetings have been arranged in the next two weeks with the leaders of the two Trade Association by Shaping and visits to the other two shopping areas are also booked for 19th August, (North End), and 3rd Sept, (Southsea).
As you may remember Shaping has been asked to lead this project and Sam McGrath and I will be visiting all these shops and aiming to get a coordinated approach to the help they need and then to work with the relevant agencies to support the "Go" campaign recently launched.
Digital Enablement Project
As part of the Action Group we had two separate members raise the issue of Digital Exclusion, Lou Wilders at the Hive, and Mike Stoneman from the Education team at PCC. We have decided to merge the two projects and have held the first meeting to look at this issues and have created the following vision and set of objectives which will be finalised in the coming weeks.
We have also flipped the term on its head and rather than talk about a negative, (exclusion), we are talking about a positive, (enablement). I am also delighted to say that in addition to the PCC, Hive and Shaping we are now joined by both Vivid & Radian Homes on this team.
The draft vision and objectives are:
Everyone that wants to improve their Digital skills and associated Wellbeing by knowing how to use technology will get the access and support to achieve this.
- Improve the skill base of those most in need and prepare them for the digital future
- Improve individual's employment prospects by helping them become digitally skilled
- Reduce / Eliminate the isolation of sections of our society by connecting them to others
- Ensure any Digital access and learning, and use, is NOT based on the ability to pay
- Provide the right level of ongoing support to our Schools in their provision of learning
These are the main projects that are running, and as a group we are now about to look at the following:
- Creative Industries focus
- Citizen Wellbeing with the Solent NHS team
- Building a partnership with the Portsmouth Care Homes in the City
We have also extended the fortnightly meetings out to the end of November as we are getting real traction with the Group.
I hope you find these updates useful and please do let me know if you need anything further on any of the above subjects.