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Bishop's Stortford BID and Go2Ex join forces to support shops and services

Bishop's Stortford mentoring and consultancy organisation Go2Ex is working with the town's BID (Business Improvement District) to help shops and services survive.

Most traders have been forced to shut their doors in the Covid-19 lockdown. The focus now is on ensuring they have claimed all the Government help available and are ready to reopen when restrictions ease.

Lynda Foster is both a director of Go2Ex and a BID board member with a long record of leadership and board positions, including vice chairman of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, the trade association for over 120 companies in the UK producing prescription medicines.

Lynda Foster and Richard Smith from Go2Ex
Lynda Foster and Richard Smith from Go2Ex

She said: "I've been working alongside the team at Go2Ex since inception three years ago. When the opportunity arose within the BID board, I applied to join. Although I don't have a background in retail, I've been running businesses for many years and understand the variety of issues that most business owners need to deal with, and I'm keen to use my experience to benefit others.

"Even in this current environment, I can empathise with business owners as there have been times when I've been on the brink of having to shut down a business with every side closing in.

"It's at these times when someone may need an ear to listen and perhaps just to double check that the new plan makes sense.

BID manager Gina Thomas with chairman Karen Burton
BID manager Gina Thomas with chairman Karen Burton

"Our team at Go2Ex can provide a variety of approaches and have specific experience in finance, planning, team-building/human resource and sales development. We offer impartial mentoring and consultancy services to the local community, with initial sessions free of any charge."

The BID is a defined area in the town centre within which businesses must pay a levy to fund projects within the district's boundaries. These districts typically fund services which are extras to those provided by councils.

Bishop's Stortford BID manager Gina Thomas said that when the organisation was set up, marketing, events, parking, accessibility and backing business were the planks of its overall strategy.

She said: "Right now, things are a little different, so we're adapting the plan accordingly and putting a focus on backing businesses. We're here to support businesses as they deal with the current situation and look ahead to reopening."

The BID has been putting together expert guides with Go2Ex and other local companies including law firm Nockolds, EmployAssist human resources and HNE Media.

Gina said the BID was funding a free two-hour session with Go2Ex for any levy payer who would like advice. Based at the Launchpad in the Causeway in the centre of town, its five directors and three associates have over 160 years' experience in a range of sectors.

She added: "We're keen to hear from more experts who would like to produce a useful guide. We will add it to our website and share on our social media platforms."

To help, email gina@bishopsstortfordbid.co.uk. For advice, see https://bishopsstortfordbid.co.uk/coronavirus/ and www.go2ex.co.uk.

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