Cheltenham - covid-19 business survey
IMPACT AND RESPONSE TO COVID-19
Results of Cheltenham Business Survey – Summer 2020
At the height of the first national coronavirus lockdown in May 2020, Cheltenham Borough Council conducted a survey of the local business community in Cheltenham in order to gain a clearer understanding of the impact on local businesses – particularly SMEs and smaller companies – and how the services of the Council could be best utilised and adapted to respond and provide support. This Cheltenham-specific survey complemented the survey conducted by GFirst LEP across the whole of Gloucestershire, which, over a similar period, targeted the 250 largest businesses in the county.
The survey received a total of 64 responses from businesses around Cheltenham – the majority of which were received in July and early-mid August when some businesses were starting to re-open, or putting plans in place to re-open.
This survey was undertaken at a time when businesses were responding to a period post national lockdown and at a period of unprecedented change. Due to the number of responses received compared to the numbers of businesses across the borough the survey is not statistically robust, however when analysed alongside surveys also undertaken by GFirst LEP and wider informal engagement with businesses and key stakeholders, it provides valuable intelligence and insights that can inform the Council’s and Cheltenham Economic Recovery Task Force’s response to Covid-19 recovery moving forward.
The key challenges and recurring themes in both the Cheltenham survey and the GFirst LEP survey were as follows:
- Importance of driving customer confidence
- Understanding of Government guidelines on social distancing and safety measures
- Developing new ways of working, product and service diversification, upskilling
- Importance of digital
- Impact on unemployment short term (impact of furlough/loss of casual contracts) and medium/longer term (impact of changes in business models that is reducing staffing requirement
The full survey results can be viewed here: Cheltenham_Summer Business Survey 2020 response FINAL