The past eighteen months has been hugely challenging and disruptive on many fronts, not least for our businesses, town centres and high streets across London.
Whilst our absolute priority through this year has been to save lives and protect local people, we also placed huge importance on supporting our businesses, and getting government grants out to them as quickly as we could.
As we continue to trace our path out of lockdown towards the restoration of normal life, this support remains essential to ensure businesses survive and thrive, employing local people and generating local income.
With this in mind, we have introduced a number of initiatives, underpinned by the three themes of our corporate recovery work: reducing inequality, building an economy that works for everyone and creating a greener future. These include a £350,000 High Street Recovery Fund, open to businesses and voluntary groups in the borough to apply for grants for projects that support high street renewal and recovery; and a £2m Pioneers Fund to invest in Southwark’s entrepreneurs of the future.
Supporting our businesses as we recover from a year of huge challenge and distress requires innovative thinking, and through our Town Centres and High Streets Strategy we will work with local people to reimagine these spaces through their recovery. We will ensure our shared plans balance inclusive economic growth, health and wellbeing, sustainable transport, and culture and leisure.
Out of adversity comes opportunity, and in central London the opportunities are endless. By working in partnership with businesses, and thinking differently, we can all ensure that out of pain and challenge comes a positive legacy for businesses across our great city.
Cllr Kieron Williams is Leader of London Borough of Southwark – 6.7.21