Support package to help businesses through coronavirus lockdown in Swaffham area
A district council is rolling out a support package totalling in excess of £6m to help businesses in the Swaffham area through lockdown and beyond.
The Breckland Council programme brings together locally-designed and funded activities, to complement the new wave of nationally-funded lockdown business grants.
It comprises initiatives designed to help existing and new businesses to thrive, individuals to adapt to the pandemic jobs market, and vital funding to keep businesses going during lockdown.
Under the new Local Restrictions Support Grant, eligible businesses which have had to close due to the new lockdown regulations will be able to claim a one-off grant of up to £3,000 to cover the lockdown period.
Businesses can claim directly using a form on the Breckland Council website.
The local element of this package includes help for small high street businesses to improve their online presence to enable web sales.
In addition, people who may have lost their job due to the pandemic will be offered free employability advice to help them back into work, while grants and advice will be offered to people looking to launch their own business, with extra incentives for new start-ups onBreckland high streets.
The new package of support is being made available after more than 1,000 businesses shared their views on the types of support that they needed.
The activity will be delivered by the council in conjunction with programmes from the Department for Work and Pensions, and the New Anglia LEP, as part of Norfolk’s coordinated response to the pandemic.
Part of the funding was given the green light on Thursday (November 5) at a full council meeting.
Members voted to accept £583,572 from the Norfolk Strategic Fund, a pot which was established in June to support regional economic activity and formed of money secured from Business Rates, New Anglia LEP, Norfolk County Council and the county’s district councils.
The remaining money for the £6m package will come from existing resources and the Government.
Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen, leader of Breckland Council, said: “We’ve been working closely with businesses of all sizes throughout the pandemic and they’ve shown incredible resilience.
"However, we’re not being complacent and recognise that further challenges lie ahead. This significant programme of funding will help future-proof our businesses and support people back into work locally.”
What is included in the £6m package?
- Lockdown Grants – Grants of up to £3,000 for businesses which have had to close because of the new regulations for the second lockdown. Funding is based on the ‘rateable value’ for each business premise, and can be accessed immediately by a claim on the Breckland Council website.
- Employability support - Individuals who have struggled to find opportunity in the jobs market will be able to access free employability advice and support, in the form of one-to-one and group sessions, delivered via Covid-safe online support.
- New business grants - Those who have lost employment because of the pandemic, or are struggling to access the jobs market, will be given the support to start their own enterprise. Grants are being made available of up to £10,000, along with access to expert advice and support, to help people take this opportunity to make a fresh start.
- High Street Start Out - Those who want to start a new High Street business will also be given access to funding and advice to help make a start-up viable, as part of a drive to help bring new offers to the High Street across Breckland.
- Digital support for Businesses - Breckland retailers and shops will be able to access expert training and advice, as well as gain small grants to help buy in new technology, launch a website, or improve existing digital presence and advertising.
- Hospitality & Leisure Grants – For businesses looking to expand or adapt their offer to reach more customers under social distancing rules.
Local advice and guidance – through online portal and local Businesses advisors, signposting to the latest advice, guidance, support, and toolkits relevant to Breckland businesses.
Following the Confidence High Streets campaign over the summer, Breckland is also planning a ‘shop local’ campaign to encourage people to support their independent traders in the run up to Christmas and into the New Year.
To find out more and submit an application, go to: www.breckland.gov.uk/businesssupport