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COVID-19 Recovery Funds Programme

COVID-19 Recovery Funds Programme

The SELEP COVID-19 Recovery Funds Programme is a £4.4m programme of support in the areas of business support and skills. It will be used to support the recovery of the economy in 2021, investing directly in those areas across the South East most affected by the pandemic, and providing businesses with the tools they need to build back stronger.

This fund was part of the original decision by the SELEP Strategic Board back in 2020 to re-purpose some of the Growing Places Funding into COVID-19 response activity.

What is on offer?

SELEP COVID-19 BUSINESS SUPPORT FUND: £2.4m

What is it?

An online programme of:

  • business start-up courses;
  • 1-2-1 consultations;
  • specialist week-long events;
  • 24/7 start-up app; and
  • portfolio of online learning materials.

A package of learning, advice and mentoring and full support to new entrepreneurs to ensure greater survival and build resilience.

Who is it aimed at?

This scheme is for those who are looking to start or recently started a new business, as well as those made redundant or unemployed as a result of COVID-19.

Who is eligible?

To get involved, you will need to be:

  • Located in either East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend or Thurrock
  • Looking to start or having recently started a new business, and/or having recently been made redundant or unemployed as a result of COVID-19. Social Enterprises, Community Interest Companies and charities engaged in economic activity are also eligible

How to get involved

All online. Events and resources will all be hosted on sites like Eventbrite, Zoom, the WSX app. This website will be continually updated as events and activities become available.

It’s really easy to get involved. Simply register for the event below, or for more information please contact robyn.brookes@wsxenterprise.co.uk.

What will it cover? 

Each business signing up will receive:

  • An initial 1-2-1 meeting (1 hour minimum) – undertake initial diagnostic
  • Courses:
    • Business Start-up Programme (BSUP) webinar course (for pre-starts and start-ups if required)
    • Business Success Programme (BSP) webinar course (for start-ups or once completed BSUP)
  • Post-course 1-2-1 meeting (1 hour minimum)
  • Ongoing 1-2-1 support available via Zoom meeting
  • Ongoing 1-to-many support available via WhatsApp chat, Zoom meetings, Facebook group
  • Support for grant applications
  • Evaluation 1-2-1 to establish next steps and other routes to support growth for your business

Grants

We will have a select number of grants up to £2,000 available in Autumn 2021. In order to access these, all businesses must have received at least a 1-2-1 and up to three hours of support as the basic requirement to apply for a grant.

All programme attendees will be provided with access to the grants information and guidelines. Grant applications will be via an online Expression of Interest form. If the company is eligible, the grant administrator will contact them directly to progress the application.

Events

22 June 2021 – 29 June 2021 | 10am | Online

Find out more and book your place

Has your business been affected by COVID? Do you need to understand new ways of working to make yourself more profitable?

There is an exciting new world of digital technologies available to help you run your business more efficiently, freeing up time for you to concentrate on what you do best and connect with new customers.

Join us for a series of free weekly events that will showcase a diverse array of topics to help you navigate this exciting new world of digital that will help your business be more profitable, strategic, analytical, and help you grow and future proof your business.

Digital is so much more than learning how to do social media; it’s also about:

  • Online accounting;
  • Easier and more efficient ways to work from home;
  • Being able to collaborate effectively in a non-office or event environment;
  • E-commerce and optimising your business for online sales; and so much more.

We will be exploring all of this in engaging, two-way conversations with experts in their field, who can share their knowledge so you can walk away with the tools to implement and drive success in your business.

 

How the Adapting with Digital scheme can help your business grow

A programme of business support, 100% delivered online, consisting of awareness events and peer networking, masterclasses/workshops, 1-2-1’s, specialist week long events and a pool of online support resources.

What is it?

A programme of:

  • 100% online business support;
  • online awareness events;
  • workshops/masterclasses;
  • 1-2-1s;
  • specialist week-long events; and
  • a pool of online support resources.

Digital capability and helping businesses to be more resilient and efficient by utilising digital skills is crucial and can make a real difference to the competitiveness of the business.

Who is it for?

  • Business owners or staff who want to explore and make step changes with digital
  • Key businesses who will drive growth
  • Businesses that have the capacity to create jobs and grow within local communities
  • Businesses that are at risk of redundancies in these challenging times

Who is eligible?

To get involved, you will need to:

  • Be located in either East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend or Thurrock.
  • Qualify as a micro (less than 10 staff), small (less than 50 staff) or medium (less than 250 staff) business as per the EU Definition. Social Enterprises, Community Interest Companies and charities engaged in economic activity are also eligible.
  • Own or work for a business that is seeking support/advice on digital growth.
  • Demonstrate that you are a viable business that has been destabilised by COVID-19.

How can it be accessed?

All online. Events and resources will all be hosted on sites like Eventbrite, Zoom, the WSX app. This website will be continually updated as events and activities become available.

It’s really easy to get involved. Simply register for the events below, or for more information please contact robyn.brookes@wsxenterprise.co.uk.

Full event programme

  • Intensive support – 1-2-1 (1-3 hours dependant on need): Support from digital specialists via online Zoom meetings to diagnose key technology issues and priorities with the development of an action plan
  • Workshops and Masterclasses – Adapting With Digital Webinar Series (2 hour sessions): Bi-weekly, delivered by digital specialists and partnered by industry experts
  • Digital Week
  • Marketing Leaders Forum: A monthly meetup online of Marketing Leaders to help learn and share digital developments in the marketing world.
  • Online digital marketing show and networking (You Are The Media) – access to learning events, networking and events from world renowned Marketing speakers.
  •  

Grants

We will have a select number of digital/technology grants from £500-£2,000 available in Autumn 2021. These grants will be for SMEs to resolve specific technology-related issues or new online digital services that will lead to a step change adoption of new business technology.

In order to access these, all businesses must have received at least a 1-2-1 and up to three hours of support as the basic requirement to apply for a grant.

All programme attendees will be provided with access to the grants information and guidelines. Grant applications will be via an online Expression of Interest form. If your company is eligible, you will be assigned a Digital Development Officer to progress the application. Grant workshops will run each month to help engage and educate on the application process.

Events

16 June 2021 | 10am – 11am | Online

The digital communications landscape is always a challenging arena to navigate. Join David Taylor from DNASix and Richard Burn from WSX Enterprise to learn how you can effectively plan your digital communications for the future.

Find out more and book your place

17 June 2021 | 1.15pm – 2.15pm | Online

You Are The Media Learning is the community learning group on Zoom. This will be in a panel format, hosted by Matt King, where our panel will share what has made the main topic work them. In this session, it is all about productivity.

Find out more and book your place

Provider: Visit Kent and consortium partners

What is it?

  • A programme of grant funding/business support to help visitor economy businesses to innovate and adapt to the changed market conditions to build resilience in the sector.
  • Place-based campaigns: Building a network of businesses and organisations aimed at building long-term resilience and adaptation of the industry to a post-COVID world. Bringing together 80+ organisations across SELEP in a series of interactive virtual workshops and place-based campaigns.
  • Businesses will be able to receive valuable support and training on how they can effectively build confidence, increase spend and be part of wider place-making and regeneration initiatives.
  • The programme will also provide them with practical tools and campaign assets to help them promote their offer collaboratively as part of the wider destination story.

Who is it aimed at?
The grants should be for expenditure that is essential for the business to adapt or diversify its offering or help it to reach new markets. Particularly those groups of businesses within the visitor economy who missed out on previous government grants including event organisers and tour operators.

The expenditure should not be for business-as-usual costs or associated with implementing legally required social distancing or hygiene measures and must be necessary for the innovation or diversification.

In order to ensure that the funding is targeted at innovative projects that will help viable businesses in sectors that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19, the eligible SIC codes have been selected to ensure that the broadest possible definition of the sector is supported including crucial key supply chains and businesses without premises who missed out on previous grant support. Further detail can be found in Appendix 2.

What is the criteria?

  • Be located in either East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend or Thurrock.
  • Qualify as a micro (less than 10 staff), small (less than 50 staff) or medium (less than 250 staff) business as per the EU Definition. Social Enterprises, Community Interest Companies and charities engaged in economic activity are also eligible.
  • Be an existing business operating for at least 12 months.
  • Be operating primarily in one of the following sectors: tourism, culture, leisure, events or hospitality within one of the specified SIC codes.
  • Demonstrate that they are a viable business that has been destabilised by COVID-19.
  • Clearly explain how this funding will increase business resilience by supporting the business to adapt or innovate in response to COVID-19. This could include changes to operations in order to continue to operate in some capacity during restrictions, adaptations to increase capacity or improve consumer confidence. It could also help businesses to develop a new product or service which capitalises on changing consumer behaviour or emerging trends to generate a new revenue stream.
  • Demonstrate that this intervention will protect jobs (must be roles directly employed by the applicant).
  • Demonstrate that they have the resources and expertise to deliver the project, including all expenditure, within six months of the launch of the grant programme.
  • Confirm that the activity isn’t retrospective and hasn’t commenced before the time of approval.
  • Confirm that they have not been in receipt of other de minimis aid that would result in their business exceeding the EU threshold of €200,000 over a rolling three-year period.
  • Provide evidence if they have accessed recognised advice or support through routes such as Growth Hubs, SEBB, SEBCOR, Experience Development Programme, the pan-Sussex/South Downs National Park webinar series, Visit Essex COVID-19 webinars or the Rebuilding Confidence and Demand in the Visitor Economy Programme.

How can it be accessed?
A landing page with full criteria will be created with an eligibility check on a gatekeeper page before moving to the full electronic application form.

All partners will agree shared messages to promote the funding programme and a shared toolkit along with copy and assets will be produced and disseminated to consortium partners as well as business support organisations.

How will end users be identified?
Through the sector specific networks of the tourism consortium partners.

What will it cover?
In order to align with other existing programmes it is proposed that this grant fund is focused on purchasing of tools, equipment and trading approaches needed to implement innovations that businesses have identified as necessary to adapt to the current climate and changing behaviours.

Element 1: Delivery of the Visitor Economy Grant Scheme
The administration and delivery of the grant programme. Value? Number of businesses to be helped?

The programme will prioritise viable businesses, protect jobs and businesses that may have missed out on other government COVID-19 grants. Specifically, the programme will be designed to ensure that the support reaches:

  • Medium, Small and Micro businesses in the SELEP region
  • Businesses involved in the visitor economy including tourism, culture, leisure, events, and hospitality sectors as well as critical elements of their supply chains
  • Viable businesses that can demonstrate they have been negatively impacted by COVID-19
  • Projects that help businesses transition into the recovery phase and build resilience through innovative solutions and business adaptations
  • Projects that will help to protect jobs in the visitor economy
  • Businesses that have accessed recognised support/advice on how to innovate and remodel 1:1 support
  • Businesses that have not had access to COVID-19 government grants

Prioritising businesses that have accessed recognised support through their Growth Hub, externally through a SEBCOR grant or through other visitor economy related programmes such as Visit Kent’s Experience Development Programme will ensure that investments are aimed at innovations that will support future business resilience.

Grants
This programme is not about covering core costs but has a focus on building future resilience. Several groups of businesses not eligible for the government grants would be eligible for this programme.

In order to support as many businesses as possible, the programme proposes funding of between £1,000 – £3,000 per project (1 per business) which would provide grants for a minimum of 150 businesses across the SELEP region.

The grants will need to be spread fairly across the SELEP region with an agreed quota proportionate to either the value of the visitor economy, number of visitor economy businesses or the per capita split.

Close monitoring of grant application take-up will be carried out throughout with re-allocation of geographic targets if required to ensure the overall target is achieved.

Provider lead: Deidre Wells, Visit Kent

This is a consortium partnership made up of Visit Kent, Visit Essex, East Sussex County Council, Sussex Modern (with delivery support from 1066 Country and Visit Eastbourne) and Southend Council.

SELEP SKILLS COVID-19 RECOVERY FUND: £1.75m (up to £2m available)

Digital skills to support you to get back into work within the South East

Provider
We Are Digital is one of the UK’s leading digital skills and inclusion training providers, helping and supporting people to get back into work.

What is it?

Training + Equipment + Internet Access

This is aimed at providing kit, connectivity and access to basic digital training where this is a barrier to work or training.

  • Online digital training sessions
  • A tablet and/or data sim card for eligible customers
  • Multi-channel digital skills service which can be accessed via phone, remote trainer, 1:1 in-home and local group centre support across the SELEP region

Who is it for?
This is targeted at those in the SELEP region, who have become unemployed or redundant as a result of COVID-19 and are at risk of digital exclusion.

To be eligible, individuals must be based in the SELEP geography and have a clear need for digital kit and/or connectivity that is preventing access to work and training. Individuals will be unemployed or economically inactive.

How to get involved

What will it cover?
You will learn and gain skills in:

  • How use the internet to search for jobs
  • How to find the right agencies and employers
  • How to build their CVs online
  • How to conduct a job interview online
  • How do use online apps and tools for interviews

We’ll also support with:

  • Filling out and submitting online job applications forms
  • Covering letters
  • Device and internet access if needed
  • And much more…
Find out more

Provider: Tech Talent Academy

What is it?
Provide 200 individuals with:

  • Training to level 4 in software, data, cyber and cloud skills
  • Certification upon completion (in partnership with BCS, Microsoft and AWS)

Following completion of the course, graduates will be offered a pathway into entry-level jobs in the most in-demand roles as determined by cross sector research on digital and tech skills gaps, through a programme of employer partnerships.

Who is it aimed at?
Helping SELEP based individuals – particularly those from typically disadvantaged communities – enjoy successful careers in tech. This includes (but is not limited to) those:

  • who have faced barriers to inclusion through socio-economic disadvantages
  • who are unemployed as a result of the pandemic
  • who are female and/or female identifying
  • from ethnically minoritized communities
  • who are neurodivergent
  • who haven’t been encouraged in school to study technical subjects who haven’t had the opportunity to attend university

What is the criteria?
Individuals must be based in the SELEP geography and have a clear need for training for digital roles that will help them to secure employment in digital roles.  Individuals will be unemployed or economically inactive.

How can it be accessed?
There will be a web page to access support and referrals will take place via social marketing and through key stakeholders such as Job Centre Plus and local authorities.

How will end users be identified?
Working with Job Centre Plus, local authorities and social media, and connecting into the Digital Skills Partnership network and inclusivity group.

Communications plan to be shared but will include:

  • Targeted marketing campaigns within each location
  • Paid-for digital advertising
  • Print and online advertising with local media outlets, e.g. Sussex Live
  • Geotargeted display advertising
  • Geotargeted email campaigns

What will it cover?
A training and career pathway programme for individuals in the SELEP region who face barriers to employment or are at risk of unemployment.

Training to Level 4 Standard in:

  • Software
  • Data
  • Cyber
  • Cloud

200 individuals to receive training with at least 150 securing employment.

Provider lead: Kevin Vashi, Tech Talent Academy​

Find out more

Provider: Shaw Trust 

also supported with Essex CC funding

What is it?

A training and skills programme for 1002 people, recently unemployed or redundant due the impact of Covid-19. 

Who is it aimed at?

Evidence shows that pre-COVID disadvantaged areas, low paid workforce and   ethnic minority groups , were disproportionately impacted. Sectors hit hardest include non-food retail, and hospitality/tourism. ST will also provide training for individuals recently unemployed/redundant.

What is the criteria?

Individuals must be based in the SELEP geography and have a clear need for training to upskill  that will help them to secure employment in priority sectors .  Individuals will be unemployed or economically inactive.

How can it be accessed?

There will be a www.ixionholdings.com/pathway-to-jobs  web page to access support and referrals will take place via social marketing and through key stakeholders such as Job Centre Plus and local authorities.

How will end users be identified?

Shaw Trust will engage/reach target groups, e.g. unemployed who have worked in impacted sectors (e.g. retail/hospitality) through local marketing/e-marketing campaigns/skills shows.

Shaw Trust will accept referrals from across SELEP/groups however to make the biggest impact they will target specific areas/cities/towns/groups most affected by Covid-19. Referral pathways include:

  • self-referrals;
  • existing employability programmes e.g. JETS, National Careers Service (NCS); and
  • referral partners including 34 Jobcentres Local Authorities and Local Partners e.g. Family Mosaic.

There will be added value to complementary programmes e.g. WHP, JETS, NCS, integrate with local programmes e.g. LiveWell Kent and support providers e.g. Princes Trust, creating a reciprocal referral relationship for those needing additional/alternative support and therefore avoid duplication.

What will it cover?

Shaw Trust have designed the academy to support individuals to learn new skills and achieve industry relevant qualifications and to move into employment within key growth sectors.

The academy will offer a tailored programme of courses reflecting the recruitment requirements of employers across the SELEP region.

The academies will be staffed by a dedicated team providing person-centred and holistic learning, employment, and wellbeing support to the individuals.  Training will be delivered digitally through e-learning platform Skills Network/live classroom teaching over Microsoft Teams.

There will also be face-to-face training across 9 fixed sites e.g., Canterbury Road, Ashford and 19 established co-location sites with strong public transport links, ensuring equitable geographic coverage and access across SELEP.

 Provider lead:  Provider Lead Jacqui Oughton, Shaw Trust Operation lead Natasha Church

Find out more