Make It York – Update from Sean Bullick, Managing Director

Make It York’s Managing Director, Sean Bullick, sets out the challenges currently facing the city, and the support that Make It York is busy putting in place.

This is a hugely challenging time for everyone. As we all know, we’re living through unprecedented times and with previously unimaginable levels of peacetime day-to-day uncertainty. We’re incredibly grateful for the amazing efforts of all those key workers who are continuing to serve throughout this period; NHS staff, teachers and carers, bus drivers, binmen, police, and supermarket staff – thank you for keeping us all safe, secure and fed.

At Make It York, our key role throughout this period is to help the business community to navigate the support options that are available to them locally and through government. We’re doing this with City of York Council and York BID and have produced the following guidance on the different funding options available. You can read our funding guide here.  

We are also running a cross-sector business survey to collate a city-wide picture of the issues facing York businesses, including access to bank loans and problems specific to the self-employed. This will allow us to focus our resources where they are most needed and to evidence these concerns at a national level with the government. I encourage businesses across all sectors to take part and all responses will be confidential: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MIY-BusinessSupport-Covid19.

Beyond all of this, we are continuing to champion the valuable work that York businesses do across all sectors, in particular where it relates to helping overcome the challenges presented by Covid 19. Please let us know if we can help highlight your business by contacting us on comms@makeityork.com.

Tourism is of course of huge value to the city – bringing in around £765 million each year and supporting over 24,000 jobs. We’re working hard to ensure that York remains at the forefront of people’s minds as their place of work, the city that they love, or the city they plan to one day visit – and as a world-class destination. Our team are working on promoting the wonderful work being done in the city by businesses to adapt to these challenging circumstances – whether that is through diversifying by offering delivery or online options, or through sharing inspirational content online. We are already looking at our plans for a ‘recovery’ campaign so we bounce back as quickly and strongly as possible one we are through this.

While we have had, like everyone else, to make the difficult decision not to go ahead with events such as Bloom, we are already looking ahead to plan for events that we can bring to the city later this year; what currently remains confidential, but I can confirm they will be new and very York!

Talking of which, we have turned our annual Visit York Tourism Awards into a ‘virtual ceremony’ this year. Working with Minster FM (which as all the necessary tech!) we will ensure tourism businesses across the city still get the recognition they deserve for all the hard work they have put in over the last twelve months. A huge thank you to our sponsors and partners, including Minster FM who have supported us to ensure the ceremony can still go ahead.

Finally, if you think we can help at all, please get in touch: we are here to help and support and the various MIY teams have areas of real expertise as well as experience working on other crises such as the 2008 financial crash.

Our website also includes a dedicated page outlining all the current support available and links to the City of York Council and UK Government websites with further detail: https://www.makeityork.com/coronavirus-update/business-support-advice/