There is so much going on in Breckland - and the future is bright

Sam Chapman-Allen smiles, wearing a dark suit and tie

Sam Chapman-Allen, leader of Breckland Council. - Credit: Gary Donnison Photography

Breckland Council leader, Sam Chapman-Allen feels the future is bright for the district, with projects in the pipeline and lots of hope post-Covid.

There’s no getting away from it, whether you have had concerns about your own health or the wellbeing of your family and friends, or have had concerns about your job or business, the pandemic has brought challenges for everybody.

It isn’t a situation any of us expected to face but I am delighted by how the district council and our partners, our local businesses, and Breckland’s communities have all responded.

Thank you for the part you’ve played in keeping yourself and your neighbours as safe as possible.

Throughout the pandemic, protecting lives and livelihoods have been Breckland Council’s top priorities.

All in all, we’ve released more than £50m of funding support to local businesses, including £4m across 1,100 businesses via Breckland’s discretionary grants programme to make sure any Breckland business impacted by covid-19 could be given some form of support.

This funding has helped businesses stay afloat during incredibly difficult trading periods or even mandated closures.

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Some businesses have used the money to help make adaptations so they could operate safely in new ways, such as installing outside seating to enable easier social distancing.

I’m delighted that almost 200 Breckland businesses have now received accreditation under our Covid Safe Scheme.

We started the initiative to give local businesses an official stamp of approval for their coronavirus safety measures and to reassure people that Breckland businesses are safe businesses.

Sam Chapman-Allen, leader of Breckland Council, said work was being done to support the district ami

Sam Chapman-Allen, leader of Breckland Council, said work was being done to support the district amid a growing coronavirus infection rate. Picture: Simon Finlay - Credit: Archant

While we are beginning to emerge from the pandemic, Breckland Council continues to offer a range of support through our ‘Springback’ scheme.

This includes funding renovations to shop fronts to brighten our high streets and encourage shoppers back to our towns, working with people interesting in launching brand new businesses, and providing digital skills training to modernise existing businesses (see the back page for details on some of the support available).

Having weathered what we hope will have been the worst of the storm, Breckland is set to emerge stronger than ever.

To help existing businesses to grow and attract new organisations to the area, we are working with partners to secure significant enhancements to major infrastructure.

This includes securing and investing millions of pounds to improve electricity supplies in the district.

We’re seeing good signs of the district’s businesses going from strength to strength already.

In recent weeks, I’ve been delighted to see a number of brand new independent businesses open their doors in Breckland for the very first time.

The Green Britain Centre, Swaffham, closed unexpectedly in 2018. Picture: Ian Burt

The Green Britain Centre in Swaffham closed unexpectedly in 2018, but has now been bought by an international company. - Credit: Ian Burt

Meanwhile, it has now been confirmed that an international business is moving into the district to set up its headquarters in Swaffham’s former Green Britain Centre.

This is great news for the town, which will benefit from new employment opportunities and a boost to the local economy, while demonstrating the confidence businesses have in the opportunities within the district.

Through the Future Breckland programme, the future of the district is in all of our hands.

All of the district’s residents, businesses, partners and community groups are being invited to have their say on our district’s unique strengths, as well as identifying ways to tackle some of our challenges.

This is an incredibly exciting initiative as you can help change the face of our district (you can read more about this on the centre pages).

Now is the time to be bold and ambitious and I invite you to help make sure the future is bright in Breckland!