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Our priorities are to:
1. Help reduce the rate at which the virus spreads, and
2. Support local communities, businesses and the long-term future of places that we manage.
Supporting the West End
In March 2020, Grosvenor acted quickly when lockdown was announced, offering significant, immediate financial and practical support to people and businesses affected by COVID-19.
We waived all rent for hundreds of vulnerable businesses and charities between March and June. We also provided a package of assistance for communities across London including cash donations, physical spaces and other resources.
Going forward, we continue to provide financial and practical assistance to hard-hit tenants with a focus on the retail, food and beverage sectors – targeting our help where it is needed the most. Recognising the impact of further lockdowns, we have also offered to waive 50% of rent for small independent businesses in November/December 2020 and in the first three months of 2021.
We operate on the principle that well-capitalised tenants should continue to pay their rent, ensuring support and time can be focused where it will have the most impact.
Over the course of the pandemic, we have demonstrated our commitment to help businesses and communities affected by COVID-19. This is in addition to donations made by the Westminster Foundation, which manages the charitable activities of the Duke of Westminster and Grosvenor Estate businesses.
The core of our business is deeply invested in the future of the West End of London. We have, and always will, act in the long-term interests of these incredible places and recognise that our business has a critical role to play in rebuilding the local economy and tackling the climate emergency.
Looking ahead, we are already working to support a full and fast recovery for the West End once restrictions end, working closely with businesses, communities and the council.
Supporting communities and suppliers
We try to take a highly personal approach to tenant and supplier relations.
Throughout April-December 2020, on average we paid all our suppliers within 8 days. Many are small or independent businesses, and this is critical to help them during the first lockdown and as they prepared for reopening. The industry average in normal times is at least 30 days.
Our staff have also been active in the community while dealing with their own challenges. One of our team, Dean, organised a group to deliver sandwiches to vulnerable and elderly residents on Cundy Street in Belgravia, using donations by the general manager of Waitrose on Motcomb Street, and set up a chat group so that locals can stay in touch during isolation.
We are also promoting Westminster City Council’s fantastic Westminster Connects volunteering programme and creating a 5m high street art mural in Eccleston Yards to celebrate the work of the NHS and key workers. Find out more about the mural here.
Funding charities on the frontline
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland has donated £250,000 to the London Community Foundation. This will support front line efforts to help communities in the capital most affected by COVID-19.
With the Westminster Foundation, we have also waived rent for the 26 charities based on our estate for six months and became a founding supporter of LandAid’s Covid Emergency Fund with a £170,000 donation helping young homeless people.
One of these is the Cardinal Hume Centre. Right now, they are providing a home to 36 young homeless residents, amongst a lot of other great work.
You get a flavour of what this is really like from one of their staff, Patricia Marron, who emailed to say: “I’m covering a shift in our hostel today. Some of the young people are very nervous about going outside so we’re trying to get creative and reduce their isolation, inviting them to water our community garden or play table tennis. Our life skills coordinator Gail and her clients are cooking together.”
Elsewhere, Grosvenor is working hard to support the community in Southwark close to our site at the Biscuit Factory. We are helping the Compass School with funding, resources and equipment to enable their most disadvantaged pupils to access virtual learning. Close to our sites in Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire, we have also helped supply food boxes and essential items to the people most in need.
Keeping in touch
We are continually monitoring official guidance and actively responding to COVID-19 developments to ensure our response o ensure our help is focussed where it can have the greatest impact.
You can also visit this webpage: https://www.grosvenor.com/news-and-insight
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