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    NAA Update: The NAA is here to support you through COVID-19

    Let me begin this month’s newsletter by saying that all of us here at the NAA share your concerns about the year ahead. I also hope that you and your families are safe and well despite the challenges we are all facing…

    Just to re-iterate that as an automotive cluster organisation, we are still here to support you; as a reminder, please see our information regarding COVID-19 business support using this link.

    You’ll also notice that, despite COVID-19 restrictions, this is a bumper newsletter, showing that a lot has been happening in the NAA’s network, even if much of the activity is now taking place digitally and/or complying with new social distancing guidelines.

    Our almost daily dialogue with both local and national government as well as other trade bodies continues and I just want to say thank you to all those who participated in both our own and the SMMT surveys. Your valuable information is helping to form a clear picture of what it is really like on the ground in the automotive sector in our region. I have also personally received feedback from central government departments that this picture is helping to shape government policy and assistance schemes. I know that I can count on your continued support on this front.

    It has also been great to see some of our member companies, such as Bentley and Ribble Technology, actively involved in producing PPE and hand sanitiser for the NHS.

    Member networking events continue despite the challenges of lockdown, primarily as webinars, with recent topics including “Simple Software Solutions for Homeworking” and “Virtual Leadership”, with very encouraging levels of participation.

    I recognise that many of you will have furloughed employees at this time and whilst they cannot perform any work for the company, on a positive note, they can actively participate in training activities. Elsewhere in the newsletter you can find details of training opportunities for NAA member companies from both Blackpool and the Fylde College and Cheshire & Warrington LEP via their new “Accelerate” project.

    On a further positive note, I would like to welcome Brace Technology Limited as our latest new member company; based in Wigan and specialising in electric vehicle and component design and manufacture.

    Hopefully there is also now some light at the end of the “lockdown tunnel”. In the last week I have begun to see a real shift in focus of discussions towards re-start strategies. We will continue to keep you informed of any relevant developments and also seek your inputs to local and national governments’ requests for feedback.

    Finally, please remember that even though we are all still in lockdown and working from home, we continue to provide membership support, so if you need us please do not hesitate to contact us.

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham