This update comes to you as the Covid Pandemic continues to disrupt businesses and many of the day to day activities we used to take for granted. CNSRP continue to work with partnering organisations on focusing our strategic priorities, in supporting our cultural and organisational changes, while we incorporate remote and flexible working as we revise, develop and restart our development plans during these unprecedented times.
As we look towards future opportunities, here are a few updates relating to CNSRP activities and other items relevant to the area.
CNSRP Support Hub
CNSRP partnership strive to help the community in supporting job opportunities and regrowth of the business industry. In response to the unprecedented situation CNSRP have been working to establish a support hub to provide a boost to capacity to accelerate the project activity in the region. The hub will have the expertise required to help develop, coordinate and adapt to the changing picture to assist in developing projects to support the growth of the local economy. CNSRP are delighted to announce that 1st year funding has been approved through the Dounreay Socio Economic Board and that the recruitment process for a Project manager, a Business Development Manager and Communications support is under way. It is hoped to have a team in place by the end of October. We will of course keep you updated as this project develops and we feel this is one positive step forward in providing assistance during these uncertain and challenging times.
The Project was granted planning permission on the 24th June 2020. An application to the Land Court was made on the 28th August. If the application is successful this will be another step forward towards the target for construction starting in 2021. As the project progresses there will be the opportunity to look at the possibility of academic links with UHI, to attract inward investment and further develop interest in space investigations that will all help to support the local supply chain.
Sustainability – Business and Community Support
As always our partnering organisations continue to offer support during these difficult times:
Highlands and Islands Enterprise offer support to businesses, proving links to funding, events and property options.
Highland Council continue to offer support and advice and work with Public Health and other partners in the Local Resilience Partnership.
Chamber of Commerce offer a diverse level of support, guidance and information to businesses in the North Highlands.
North Highland College/UHI offer a variety of academic courses that can assist on expanding your career opportunities.
Skills Development Scotland offer advice on employment and business support, education, training and future career choices.
Connectivity – Road / Rail / Air / Sea.
Scrabster Harbour have re-commenced construction and piling is underway, with completion still expected in 2021.
Wind Farm Activity continues to be an important strand of activity. With the release of the recent Scotwind leasing round, it is hoped to further promote the 8 sites that potential developers have expressed an interest in, 5 of which sites have been identified off the coastline of Caithness and Sutherland.
Wick Airport Public Service Obligation partners continue to have discussions with Transport Scotland, HIAL and the Scottish Government. With the current uncertainties and the possibility of extended delays and limitations due to COVID19, thoughts are now looking towards having an emergency support plan in place.
Berriedale Braes has recently reopened to traffic. With the removal of the tight hairpin corner, the aim is to provide a safer and smoother journey up and down the A9 and while this may not necessarily cut the travelling time it comes as a welcome relief as we look towards the winter months.
Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson presented a draft £24bn Infrastructure plan to the Scottish government on Thursday 24th September. The five year plan covers from 2021/22 – 2025/26 and looks at the Green Economic Recovery following on from any COVID19 implications. The plan aims to support the needs of local towns and cities and overall offers to support 45 000 jobs.
Our partnering organisation Dounreay Site Restoration Limited recently announced that NSAN – Nuclear Bursary is now Open for Applications. The Nuclear Bursary provides financial support for training and educational development to those already involved in a career in the Nuclear Sector. This bursary provides financial assistance to employees in the nuclear industry or if you are an SME employer(1) to help individuals complete a programme of study that will upskill your current career pathway or will allow you to expand your career within the Nuclear sector. The bursary is also extended to graduates or apprentices who are at risk of redundancy or need further support due to Covid-19. As decommissioning continues, there will be the need for a diverse supply chain and this bursary provides the ideal opportunity for further personal development in a Covid safe and friendly way. Closing date for applications is 30th October 2020 at 4.pm.
Food and Drink and Tourism Sectors
Tourism has been particularly hit hard during this pandemic and as we approach the end of furlough on the 31st October, UK Government Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled his Winter Economy plan that offers to protect jobs and help businesses over the coming months. The plan includes a new Job Support Scheme to help workers on returning to their employment. It extends the Self Employment Income Support Scheme and also extends the temporary 15% VAT cut for the Hospitality and Tourism sector until the end of March 2021.
Caithness Chamber of Commerce are offering a free support service to business premises through #ProtectNorthHighlands – Test and Protect Service. This resource can be accessed from your smart device and helps businesses to safely store customer details in line with public health measure Test and Protect. The QR code can be scanned by your smart device when entering and leaving the premises. Information is then only stored for the mandatory 21 days.
The Tourism and Hospitality sector Scottish Government guidance and operations checklist still remains the same and provides information/strategy you can have in place to help keep staff and customers safe.
Many local businesses continue to diversify and aim to provide a safe environment for you to shop, visit or stay in. During these difficult times don’t forget to support the local businesses that kept us going during tighter lockdown restrictions.
Scottish Government introduced new Coronavirus guidance on Tuesday 22rd September, taking us a slight, but expected step backwards to Phase 3. New guidance has halted certain types of social gatherings and sees the closure of specific businesses, premises and venues. The current measures are expected to be in place for the next 6 months, however this is reviewed every 21 days. Although these steps can be viewed as negatives we should try and look for the positives that still remain, such as being able to meet family and friends outside, or socially for a coffee or meal while following the SG advice and guidance. Remember during these times it is important to look after our mental health and wellbeing NHS Scotland provide an A-Z of contacts for anyone who may be struggling at this moment and time.
Although we might find this guidance difficult to follow, it has been set in place and we are strongly advised to adhere in order to help keep us all safe and to protect others.
The SG continues to promote physical distancing, hand washing and good respiratory hygiene as being the most effective way to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
Highland Council recycling centre has welcomingly reopened to van and trailers, through a booking system.
NHS Scotland have introduced their COVID-19 app. The app provides notifications to you if you come into contact with someone who has had a positive coronavirus test. Advises you of the level of risk of coronavirus in your postcode area. Alerts you if you have been in a venue where you may have come into contact with coronavirus. Allows you to check your symptoms to see if you need to order or book a test and helps you get the results. It also helps you keep track of your isolation period and offers links to any further advice you might require.
The app is purely anonymous and does not store any information that can identify you or where you live.