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Covid-19 Business e-bulletin March 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. It will replace the monthly Local Restrictions Support Grants and these will close at the end of March. 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.

Non-essential retail will be eligible for the following –

  • Rateable values of 15,000 and under will receive £2,667
  • Rateable values of 15,001 to 50,999 will receive £4,000
  • Rateable value of 51,000 and above will receive £6,000

Hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care & gyms will be eligible for the following –

  • Rateable values of 15,000 and under will receive £8,000
  • Rateable values of 15,001 to 50,999 will receive £12,000
  • Rateable value of 51,000 and above will receive £18,000

Further guidance from government is awaited so details on how the grants will be administered, when and whether a new application will be needed, will follow on our website here.

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

Due to demand and limits on funding available we have temporarily closed the ARG Discretionary Grant scheme to new applications.

In the budget the Chancellor announced additional discretionary grant funding for councils to support businesses that do not qualify for the main business support scheme. We are still awaiting confirmation of additional funding so that we can revise our ARG scheme accordingly. We will update our website here with more information as soon as we have it.

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.

Covid Testing for businesses and staff – Register soon!

Businesses of all sizes, including those with fewer than 50 employees, can now register to order free lateral flow tests for their employees – click here for more information. The lateral flow tests will remain free until the end of June but note that registration closes on 31 March. More information on rapid workplace testing is available on an online portal for businesses here as well as information to plan and deliver a testing programme

For more information on rapid testing for communities or businesses, please visit Worcestershire County Council’s rapid testing page 

Enterprising Worcestershire Grant Funding Available

The Spring Call for the Enterprising Worcestershire Grant Fund is now open and offering grants from £1,000 up to a maximum of £15,000, at a funding rate of 60% / 40% (60% provided by the SME).

You could use this to invest in new equipment, have a website built or purchase software, whatever will help to develop your business in the early years. The scheme will enable SME’s to establish and grow whilst making a positive contribution to the Worcestershire economy and employment rates across the County by creating more sustainable SME’s. Different from the previous program, the maximum grant fund has been considerably increased allowing SME’s to make a much more significant investment. For more details click here.

Show your support for Comic Relief with Fleet Line Markers

Be part of something Spectacular for Comic Relief Day, 19th March, 2021. Fleet Line Markers are teaming up with Malvern Rugby Football Club to raise money for Comic Relief and they will be painting a pitch full of ‘Red Noses’ to support this special day.

Sponsor a Red Nose & see your ‘Company Name’ or ‘own’ name painted as part of it.  Further details are available on Just Giving website here or to reserve your Red Nose please contact 01684 573535 or email iainc@flmuk.com. Listen to Ian Courage talking about on BBC H&W Radio 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

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick has written a letter to local authorities outlining that in Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap (no earlier than 12 April) hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors and the measures to support the safe re-opening of hospitality businesses. Hospitality businesses can apply for pavement licences via Worcestershire Regulatory Services here

Here2Help Mentoring Scheme Webinar

Following the success of the mentoring pilot programme, the Here2Help Business team are pleased to start recruitment for the next cohort of mentors and mentees.

On the 22nd March 2021 11-12 they will be hosting a webinar with guest speakers featuring 2 mentors-mentees pairings from our pilot programme.  They will be talking about their experiences and how the programme has supported them in implementing various strategies for their business including growth plans, building resilience, efficiencies, marketing programmes and much more.  For more details and to register click here.

WBC Business Advisors Programme

Free business advice for local businesses but register before the end of March. The programme covers the following themes

  • General Business Support – Blue Orchid sessions will be centred around overcoming barriers that are hindering growth, but they also have COVID specific support.
  • Adoption of Technology – Borwell are offering a comprehensive service on the use of IT and upgrading your current system, this will be focused on software and hardware.
  • Financial Support – Perrigo are experts in finance and tax and can show you how to stay on top of all your financial information and streamline your processes.
  • Achieving Carbon Net Zero – Shrewsbury Business Consulting have in-depth experience and detailed knowledge of the issues and challenges surrounding carbon reduction in SMEs.

To find out more click 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 which will cover;

  • How the scheme works
  • How WWW reps support your business
  • Experiences from current WWW Members
  • An opportunity to ask any questions you may have

Registration for the event is now open for Members and Non-members.

Please note that Worcestershire Works Well is open to all public, private and third sector organisations located in Worcestershire that have a minimum of 5 employees.

Register here.

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 team will be following the latest guidance around the safety of events and will decide whether the awards will be physical or virtual later this year. The Worcestershire Apprenticeships Awards, in either scenario, will be taking place on 18 November 2021.

Click here to find our more and apply online.

Government announces £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.

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.

Malvern based W5G supports trials of 5G private Network at The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC)

The private 5G network powered by Malvern Hills Science Park based W5G and BT will be installed at MTC’s manufacturing research facility, located at its Ansty Park site in Coventry. The 5G connected workshop environment will enable enterprises of all sizes to explore multi-edge computing and robotics applications, and benefits, including a live 5G-connected robotics demonstration later in the year. Find more information here

How to trade with the EU and Northern Ireland

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has produced a toolkit for small and medium-sized enterprises to help them identify the decisions and actions they need to make to continue trading with the EU and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

The document, available here, provides an overview of actions to take outlines support, helplines and resources that may be useful for SMEs and signposts to more detailed guidance on government websites.

Workforce and labour supply handbook

The Home Office in partnership with the Association of Labour Providers (ALP) have created a handbook intended to help employers and providers of contingent labour to understand the new immigration system and ensure compliance with right to work legislation. The handbook covers existing workers and new applicants and determines what actions to take to help secure continuity of labour supply. The handbook can be accessed from the ALP website here.

New retail platform Love Where you Live Worcestershire

A new website designed to make it easier than ever to shop local online has been launched across Worcestershire. 

Love Where You Live (LWYL) was developed by local businesswomen Gillian Davies, who wanted to create a convenient online space where local businesses could sell their wares at a time when reduced footfall and now the Covid-19 pandemic has affected sales for many. 

LWYL Worcestershire is currently home to 70 retailers (and growing) selling over 600 products, all of which have been made or sourced by independent businesses in Worcestershire – from art and clothing to jewellery, experiences and homeware.  Some of the retailers include Oldfields Cider, Hussingtree Gin, The Malvern and Ross and Ross gifts. 

To find out more about how you can join the Love Where You Live Community, visit: www.lovewhere.co.uk 

Reset.Restart Webinar Programme

The Reset.Restart webinar programme helps companies refocus their business plans in response to the challenges of Covid. The programme is aimed at early stage businesses who have been trading up to three years, and are Worcestershire based.

Interested businesses should enrol on the first programme ‘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.

From good ideas to good business – the Business Model Canvas (1 of 4) – This interactive introduction to the Business Model Canvas will overview the elements that make up a thorough business rationale.

Marketing – Getting your business ‘out-there’ (2 of 4) – This interactive webinar will work through and start answering the questions needed to identify the valuable difference your business offers

Finance – Making & keeping your business profitable (3 of 4) – This live online training will enable you to read and use the financial information to help you manage your business growth.

Business Plans – how to translate your ideas into action (4 of 4) – This live online learning will share models to complement the Business Model Canvas helping you develop your own plan for a post Covid world

People Make Places: Ticket to Ride Fund

Would your business like to support community transport projects with funding?

We are launching the next round of funding for our People Make Places: Ticket to Ride Fund and we are offering the opportunity for interested businesses to support new projects coming forward.

This fund aims to support sustainable community transport projects across the district that are citizen-led and community-based. We have made a pot of £140,000 available over the next three years (across six rounds of funding) to support these initiatives. The maximum amount pledged to a project will be £50,000 or 50 per cent of the total project costs. We have already funded projects for the first round.

This is a great opportunity to be part of a project that aims to boost connectivity of communities by improving local people’s ability to travel to services and opportunities for social interaction. Also, to increase social mobility, promote independence and self-care, as well as to empower communities by creating an environment where people stay healthy for longer.

More information on new projects will be available in the spring but if you would like to know about what has already been funded, please visit our Crowdfunding webpage.

If you would like to support a future project please contact Amanda Smith at amanda.smith@malvernhills.gov.uk

Tell us how your business has been affected

The ED team wants to fully understand the impact of the Coronavirus on specific businesses and the wider economy. This will help us tailor our service to you and feedback to Government to help shape their ongoing response.  

If you would like to talk one-to-one with a member of the ED team about your business experience and effects of Covid-19, please email us with your contact details ecodev@malvernhills.gov.uk

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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