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Businesses urged to call on expert help

1 May 2020

South Lakeland businesses facing difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic are being urged to call on all the expert support and advice available to them locally.

South Lakeland District Council’s funding supports Cumbria Chamber of Commerce's Growth Hub and Business Start-up Support (BSUS), which are eager to help firms struggling in these difficult times.

During the coronavirus crisis, chamber staff and advisers are working from home, supporting clients remotely, online and by phone. Workshops are also being delivered online.

Some of the coronavirus-related support available at the moment includes:

  • completing CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme) applications and supporting documentation
  • getting the right information and calculations in place to get Job Retention claims submitted right first time and the money through within days
  • helping to adjust activities to move more online, target different customers or introduce new products and services
  • helping to review cash flow and business position and start to work out a way forward
  • subsidies of up to £4,000 are also available towards consultancy to support business growth and competitiveness, which can be used to work through the COVID19 crisis. These are being used for things like purchase of equipment up to £5,000 to support production of PPE (using a temporary flexibility in the scheme), financial planning and management - including work with their accountant to review business finances and help them through COVID19, and website design and enhancement to move activities more online or increase online sales

Businesses can contact the Growth Hub by:

The chamber also has a very helpful toolkit available online, drawing together and linking to Government schemes and information and useful resources: Coronavirus what businesses need to know

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: "Globally, business all over the world are facing hardship on a scale barely comprehensible and without precedent in the modern age. Many business owners and operators in South Lakeland will be understandably shell-shocked at the position then find themselves in but the very best support is available to put businesses on track to getting through this crisis and able to operate and trade normally again.

"The partnership between South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce so businesses in the district can access the Growth Hub and Business Start-up Support (BSUS) has been very successful, that is why we made the funds available to continue that support. In the midst of this crisis it is more important than ever that businesses in South Lakeland access that support."

Suzanne Caldwell, Deputy Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the lead partner in Cumbria Business Growth Hub, said: “This is a very difficult time for businesses but the Growth Hub is here to help them through it.

“Our advisers can offer access to grants, work with businesses on loan applications and act as sounding board for ideas. They are helping businesses find ways of continuing to trade through the crisis and others to plan for the future. All our advisers are steeped in business and that experience and outside perspective can be absolutely invaluable at critical times like this.” 

Useful links:

Notes:

  • the funding that supports the Growth Hub comes from a range of sources including Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the European Regional Development Fund, Sellafield Ltd., Carlisle City Council, South Lakeland District Council, Penrith Industrial BID and Cumbria LEP.
  • The Growth Hub is receiving up to £2,528,767 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014 to 2020. The Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations: England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds.
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