Published on 16th November 2022

Council staff members and colleagues on steps of Municipal Offices

Cheltenham Borough Council has won the Federation of Small Business local authority award in the best Covid-19 support and recovery for the South West region.

In October 2022, Cheltenham Borough Council was announced as the South West regional winner at the inaugural Federation of Small Business (FSB) local government awards. The award was presented to the council on Monday (14 November) by Sam Holliday, FSB development manager, and Russell Warner, FSB area lead for Gloucestershire.

The award is in recognition of the work across many council teams in supporting local businesses covering licensing, planning, business grants, environmental health and communications.

In particular, the award recognises the council’s innovative work by relaxing planning and licensing rules to allow businesses to move their operation, as well as the speed in which the council processed and paid business support grants. Partnership work between the council and the Business Improvement District (BID) is also recognised for supporting businesses with compliance advice, guidance and an enforcement approach focused on achieving compliance rather than sanctions.

Councillor Rowena Hay, leader of the council, said: “The council worked very hard during the Covid pandemic to support our businesses through an incredibly difficult period.  We did what we could to ensure businesses were able to trade and had access to financial support when they needed it most.

“We are very proud to have won the FSB award recognising and celebrating the work we did supporting our local businesses. We are particularly pleased as the only council in Gloucestershire to have won an award during the inaugural FSB Local Government Awards.”

Russell Warner, FSB Gloucestershire area lead, said: “We are delighted that the hard work that Cheltenham did during the pandemic to support, assist and encourage local small businesses has been recognised in our first ever national local authority awards. Cheltenham showed initiative and innovation in their support package and got financial help out quickly and efficiently. They are very deserving FSB award winners.”

Heath Gunter, chief executive of the Cheltenham BID, said: “At a time when businesses in Cheltenham needed strong leadership the council stepped up to provide much needed support and guidance. The staff worked with a solution-oriented approach to ensure businesses could operate within the guidelines. It's a well-deserved award and congratulations to all the staff who worked so hard in such a difficult time.”

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