We are doing all we can to support businesses – that’s the message from Wakefield Council as the district pulls together during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Council has employed a series of measures to help the district’s businesses at this difficult time.
A dedicated team of account managers helping businesses and gathering information
The team has already made contact with over 700 businesses to find out what support is needed locally. The team has signposted almost all businesses to help with staffing issues, financial pressures, supply chain and import/export challenges, training needs, key partners, government grants and additional funding.
The data compiled by the team will allow the Council to have a greater understanding of the support needed in the district and we can tailor the offer accordingly, lobby for additional funding and respond to particular areas of concern.
This has given the team insight into which support services are needed and a local list of these has been sent out to businesses.
In addition to this, the team are also looking towards the future and gaining information on what support they feel would be beneficial in the future. Using intelligence will allow the Council to focus resource into the recovery effort, supporting our economy to recover quickly.
A helpline providing one to one telephone support to any business that might be struggling and needs to hear a friendly voice and sound advice signposting the caller to a range of services and support. Wakefield First, the business facing arm of the council is working closely with key partners such as the Federation for Small Business, Wakefield Bondholder, Mid Yorkshire Chamber and Nova to coordinate messages to their members and clients.
The Council has already helped over a thousand local businesses and charities across the district to receive their Government grant but there are many more that are eligible for support.
To date 3,400 online applications have been received, more than 1,250 have been processed with £13.5m of grant funding being released on Friday 3 April.
Daily data sharing
The economic growth service provides daily updates about information gathered and the support that is needed across the district to a range of Council departments and partners.
A speedy online form to access Government business grants As part of plans to take some of the burden off businesses, the Council has set up a special business grant application form so that they can receive Government grants in light of the coronavirus outbreak – speeding up the process to access much needed funding.
The application process will be supported by a team established to process the high volume of business grant applications. They will be working through all grant requests to ensure all eligible businesses receive the payment.
A knowledgeable team updates the district on a range of issues through a dedicated webpage and social media posts on topics such as:
• HR – advice on redundancy, sick pay and the government’s jobretention scheme.
• Tax liability
• Rating reliefs
The council’s Step Up’ service, set up to provide advice to help residents find work, improve their skills or make a career change is providing tailored support based on personal circumstances by telephone.
To contact the team call 01924 303334.
Cllr Darren Byford said: “It is an extremely challenging and uncertain time for all businesses and we are doing all that we can to support them.
“We know how important it is to hear a reassuring voice on the other end of a telephone and that is why we are providing a dedicated team of account managers ready to help.
“As well as this, we have online support on our website covering many frequently asked questions by businesses at this time, ranging from how to access a grant to staffing issues and financial pressures.
“Please be assured that we are ready to help in any way we can to protect our very important local economy.”