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Covid-19 Business e-Bulletin April 2021

A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees. 

Follow the links to see the latest updates from Government, find financial support for your business and click here if you are self employed.

The Government has set up a business support helpline on 0300 456 3565. This is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm.Visit the Malvern Hills website for the latest Covid business advice. If you are not receiving this newsletter directly, please sign up to our regular email newsletter for the latest updates on business support.

Restart Grants Update
The Restart Grant is a new fund for businesses for what is hoped will be the final stages of Covid-19 restrictions. The government is providing Restart Grants of up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential retail businesses and up to £18,000 per premises for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses.We have now received confirmation of funding and guidance from government on how the grants will be administered. Because of changes to information required by government for the Restart scheme we will require all businesses to apply. The online application form for Restart grants will be added to our website here on the 12th or 13th April.

National Lockdown Business Support Grants Scheme Update
The Council continues to process applications for Covid business support grants for those business required to close or significantly impacted by the pandemic between November and March. The majority of eligible businesses have now been paid up until the end of March. Details on the scheme are available on our website here.

ARG Discretionary Grant Scheme Update
We have now received confirmation of additional funding for the ARG discretionary fund. The scheme has been on hold and we are now working to reopen the scheme and determine the process for delivering further support. It is anticipated that we will be able to process applications again very shortly and we will update our website here with more details as soon as they are confirmed.

Covid Testing for businesses and staff
You can order free rapid lateral flow tests to test your employees twice a week in the workplace.If you have 10 or more employees, from early April you’ll be able to order tests for your employees to collect from their workplace and use at home twice a week. You can do this if you cannot provide testing in the workplace. You must register by 11:59pm on 12 April 2021. If your business is closed or you cannot provide tests now, you should still register so you can order tests in the future. Find out more here.Anyone in England who does not have symptoms can now get regular rapid lateral flow tests to check for coronavirus. You can now get regular rapid tests at a test site or to use at home by collecting from a local pharmacy or test site or by ordering for delivery to your home – see the NHS website here. For more information on rapid testing for communities or businesses, please visit Worcestershire County Council’s rapid testing page

Recovery Loan Scheme Launched
A new Government-backed loan scheme is now launched to provide additional finance to those businesses that need it. With non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality reopening next week, Ministers have ensured that appropriate support is still available to businesses to protect jobs. From today, businesses – ranging from coffee shops and restaurants, to hairdressers and gyms – and can access loans varying in size from £25,000, up to a maximum of £10 million. Invoice and asset finance is available from £1,000. Find out more here.

Reopening Hospitality in Malvern Hills
Following the recent announcement that outdoor hospitality is expected to reopen on Monday 12th April, we would like to understand when hospitality businesses are planning to open back up. If you are from a hospitality business within Malvern Hills district, please complete our short survey here.

Community Renewal Funding
The UK Government are providing £220 million of additional funding for 2021/22 through the UK Community Renewal Fund (CRF) to support people and communities most in need. It also intends to help the UK move smoothly away from the EU structural fund programme and is a pilot programme to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.Worcestershire County Council has been nominated by government as the lead authority and they are now inviting organisations to submit applications that deliver on the priorities identified in the Community Renewal Fund prospectus and Worcestershire’s local Priorities as detailed in the Invitation to Bid Document.The call for projects for the Community Renewal Fund is now live. The application deadline is 10 May 2021 at 5pm. Find out more about Community Renewal Fund here.

Worcestershire Jobs website launched
Worcestershire Jobs is a completely free service that has been launched by the Worcestershire LEP and Worcestershire County Council to help people easily find jobs, training options and educational courses all within Worcestershire. The online jobs portal works by collating all local vacancies and courses into one easy to use website. This allows anyone to quickly search for jobs, training opportunities or further educational courses at the click of a button.Users can also enter keywords to filter their results based on the interests or skills they have. You can access the website here.

Help to Keep Malvern Hills Workforce Safe
To help organisations and businesses keep their staff safe, Worcestershire County Council have pulled together some resources including posters, leaflets, and social media communications to help them reinforce messages within the workplace. As you do not have time to search through multiple websites for posters and leaflets they have done it for you and you will find these plus draft social media posts and a range of translated material here. If businesses would like to know more about the number of Coronavirus cases in Worcestershire in detail, please see Worcestershire data dashboard on the County Council’s website.

Support for the reopening of outdoor hospitality
Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) have recently issued guidance for hospitality businesses on opening outdoors safely. This has been sent directly to most hospitality businesses and includes guidance on what can be considered an open outdoor structure, and collection of customer details.We will update our website shortly with this guidance or contact WRS if you have queries.

Are you in the tourism sector in Worcestershire?
If so, join us for a look at the future of tourism and hospitality in Worcestershire! This free event will be held on Thursday 29 April from 9.30am to 11.00am and is open to businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector and will include a choice of workshops run by @TheHospitalit10. Sign up here by Friday 16 April.

New Government Scheme: Help to Grow
Take your business to the next level with the Government’s new Help to Grow programme. The Help to Grow programme aims to support medium sized businesses to learn new skills, reach customers and boost profits. The programme offers two distinct packages delivered through online learning platforms, 1:1 sessions with mentors and a peer network.Management – improving business performance and growth potential.Digital – online advice and money off software to save time and reduce costs.See the website here for information and registrations.

Entries are now open for Worcestershire Apprenticeships Awards 2021
Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcestershire County Council have announced that the popular apprenticeship celebration event, the Worcestershire Apprenticeships Awards are returning in 2021. Apprentices, employers, schools, careers leads and training providers in Worcestershire are being encouraged to submit their nominations via the new online nomination process, before the 16 July deadline. The Worcestershire Apprenticeships Awards will be taking place on 18 November 2021.Click here to find our more and apply online.

Innovation in Farming
To improve productivity and reduce the negative impact of agriculture on our environment, we need to think about innovation and invest in research and development.It’s also vital that we work with farmers, researchers and businesses to help turn novel ideas into smart solutions which work for them. Happily, that is exactly what Defra and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) are doing through the Farming Innovation Pathways competition, which is open for applications. Read this Defra blog post for an overview.

£20 million SME Brexit Support Fund
The Government has announced a £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund to support small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.SMEs who trade only with the EU, and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes, will be encouraged to apply for grants of up to £2,000 for each trader to pay for practical support, including training and professional advice, to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU. More information about the SME Brexit Support Fund can be found on GOV.UK.

Digital support for your Business
Through Digital Boost, you can receive free mentoring, workshops and courses to help you understand digital technologies and the potential impact on your business. The Digital Boost project is supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.Over 1,000 expert volunteers are on standby to communicate with you and answer your questions.Learn more about Digital Boost here.

Set your course post Covid
Worcestershire Business & IP Centre (BIPC) in partnership with the British Library have collaborated to create a Reset.Restart webinar programme. This is aimed at supporting companies refocus their business plans in response to the challenges of Covid.  People will initially enrol on the first webinar ‘From good ideas to good business’. Participants are then invited to attend all four elements of the programme, after which they qualify for a two hour, bespoke 121 session. The programme is aimed at early stage businesses who have been trading up to three years, and are Worcestershire based.Find out more and register here.

Incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice
Employers will receive £3,000 for new employees of any age who start their apprenticeship from 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021.The incentive payment is in addition to the £1,000 employers already receive for hiring an apprentice aged 16 to 18 years old or under 25 with an education, health and care plan or who has been in the care of their local authority.For more information contact Worcestershire Apprenticeships here.

Business opportunities at Commonwealth Games
The search is on to find suppliers who can deliver nearly £5million worth of catering services for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.  With just over 500 days to go until the start of the Games, the official procurement process to find catering suppliers of all sizes to provide services to spectators, athletes, officials, volunteers, and workforce, is now open. Catering contracts are expected to support approximately 2,000 jobs during Games time and will be a much welcome boost to a sector that has suffered during the global pandemic.The invitation to submit initial bids is April 2021, with the final tender in May 2021. The contract will be awarded in the summer of 2021. Interested businesses are encouraged to apply via the procurement portal here.

Worcestershire to benefit from ‘Project Gigabit’ launch
We are delighted to share with you the news about ‘Project Gigabit’ and inclusion of Worcestershire amongst the earliest areas to benefit from the launch of this £5bn scheme: You can read more here.

Worcestershire Works Well Webinar
Improved employee health and wellbeing has been shown repeatedly to improve profitability and productivity of businesses. Worcestershire Works Well is a free accreditation scheme designed to support businesses to improve the health and wellbeing of their employees.To help you gain a further understanding of Worcestershire Works Well we have launched a free webinar on 21st April 12-1pm Register here.
Contact Us
Economic Development Team
Malvern Hills District Council
The Council House
Avenue Road
Malvern
Worcestershire
WR14 3AF
ecodev@malvernhills.gov.uk
www.malvernhills.gov.uk/business 

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