Covid 19 – Support and Advice for Businesses

The Heart of the SW Local Enterprise Partnership is working hard with key partners in Government, Local Authorities, Business Representative Organisations and other agencies to support businesses through the unprecedented health and economic shock we are facing due to the Covid 19 pandemic. A significant number of measures and financial support packages are emerging from Government both for individuals and employers, and local partners are considering further levels of advice, support and guidance. Navigating these and managing an ever increasing level of enquiries from businesses is creating capacity issues for some agencies and partners, and I wanted to offer the Heart of the SW Growth Hub as the main sources of advice, guidance and help to ease the pressures particularly on Local Authority partners.

Details on the specific financial packages of help and support, eligibility and processes for applying are still being developed, however having a single place of consistent information and sign posting to where to apply, and other sources of information and where enquiries can be logged would seem to be an appropriate action to take. At the same time local and free support and assistance is being offered by local partners and we are including details of these schemes and links to apply and find out more on the Growth Hub website. The Growth Hub team have capacity and interim support has been put into place by LEP partners to ensure increased volumes of enquiries can be managed. Longer term capacity is also being reviewed considering the budget announcement of more funding for Growth Hubs. Updates and communications on latest advice will also begin shortly from the Growth Hub and businesses can sign up to receive this service.

I have set out below the key details for you and your teams to promote the use of the Growth Hub and a briefing note is attached. I hope this will ease the workload and capacity you are all facing.

Finally, I wanted to add, that we are also collating through the Growth Hub real time impacts on businesses from the pandemic and feeding these into Government. Support from your economic development teams in gathering this is very much appreciated, and this is a rapid and changing picture. From this analysis we are able to escalate key issues straight to Government, and advise on additional support and measures that are needed, as well as seeking clarity on the current mechanisms and support being offered. I encourage you to keep this flow of information to the Growth Hub team.

I hope what I have set out in this letter is helpful, and as more information emerges we will update you.

Yours sincerely

David Ralph

Chief Executive