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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

You can view the full information pack here.

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 three hours of support from the programme (to include a 1-2-1).

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

Find out more and sign up to attend

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?

  • Beneficiaries must be looking to adapt and innovate through digitisation, focussing on the benefits of online or cloud technologies in order to remain viable during and/or beyond a COVID 19 climate
  • Be registered and operating in East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and/or Thurrock (subject to Postcode Checking)
  • Beneficiaries must have either sole trader status or have been registered with Companies House and must evidence at least 1 year of trading history and be the sole trader, or the owner or an agreed representative from the registered businesses
  • Social Enterprises, Community Interest Companies and charities engaged in economic activity are also eligible

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.

You can view the full information pack here.

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 a minimum of three hours of support, including a 1-2-1, 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.

Previous events

The digital communications landscape is always a challenging arena to navigate. David Taylor from DNASix and Richard Burn from WSX Enterprise held a webinar in June to show businesses how you can effectively plan your digital communications for the future.

Watch the recording

Find out more and sign up to attend future events

The Revi-VE programme is a package of support designed to support the recovery of the hard-hit Visitor Economy, delivering long-term resilience and adaptation of the industry to a post-COVID world.

  • Element 1 will inject businesses with the financial investment they need to respond to changes in the market.
  • Element 2 will provide a framework for the SELEP region to ensure rapid recovery of the visitor economy so it can be a catalyst for wider place-based recovery and regeneration.

The programme is delivered by a consortium of Visitor Economy partners across the South-East led by Visit Kent. The partnership is made up of Visit Kent, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Visit Essex, Sussex Modern, East Sussex County Council.

Element 1
Revi-VE South East Visitor Economy Fund
Open for applications from 09.00 on 15th July to 23.59 on 18th July 2021.

The Revi-VE grant fund is offering small 100% grants of between £1,000 – £3,000 to visitor economy businesses to a minimum of 150 businesses across the South-East. The fund is designed to inject businesses with the financial investment they need to respond to the changed market conditions through innovation and deliver long-term resilience.

This fund is targeted at hard-hit businesses within the visitor economy that need support to make adaptations to their business model or operations in response to COVID-19 and meet certain criteria.

  • Micro, small or medium enterprises in the SELEP region (East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock).
  • Businesses operating primarily within the visitor economy including tourism, culture, leisure, events or hospitality. This includes groups of businesses who missed out on previous government grants such as event organisers, tour operators, key supply chains and businesses without premises.
  • Viable businesses that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 with innovative ideas that will help to protect jobs in the visitor economy.
  • Businesses with project ideas that will help transition into the recovery phase and build resilience through innovative solutions and business adaptations.
  • Please note that as the focus is on innovation, expenditure should not be for business-as-usual costs or associated with implementing legally required social distancing or hygiene measures.

We anticipate that demand for these grants will be much higher than the total number available. Before starting your application, please check the eligibility criteria to ensure that this fund is the right fit for your business.

Click here to find full eligibility criteria and details on how to apply.

If you are a business support organisation or local authority and would like to receive the business communications toolkit or more information about the grants, please contact Visit Kent.

Element 2
Revi-VE Place-based networks and campaigns
Development of networks will begin from July 2021 with campaigns to launch in early 2022.

Place Based Networks
Networks of businesses and organisations involved in promoting our destinations as great places to live, work, visit, study and invest will be developed aimed at building collaboration, long-term resilience and adaptation of the industry to a post-COVID world. The networks will bring together 80+ place-making organisations across SELEP in a series of interactive virtual workshops which will inform the development of distinct destination brand place-based campaigns for Kent, Essex and East Sussex that meet the needs of the destination.

Who should be involved?
Any organisation involved with delivering place-making projects, economic development activity or promoting the destination as a place to live, work, visit, study or invest will be invited to join a relevant place-based network.

Place Based Campaigns
Informed by the place networks, the programme will deliver a series of destination brand campaigns to increase visitor confidence, footfall and spend as well as support the wider recovery by improving perceptions towards our destinations. These campaigns will be designed to align with and build on existing place-making activities and meet the specific needs of the destination. A set of shared destination assets which reflect the distinct proposition for each geographical area will be created to be used in destination promotion to a variety of different audiences and within existing placemaking activity.

Wider businesses will be provided with practical tools and destination-specific assets to help them promote their offer collaboratively as part of the wider destination story, build confidence and increase spend with their target audience. There will be opportunity to attend workshops on how best to utilise these tools on their own channels, how to capitalise on local place-making activity and to be part of regeneration initiatives.

Who should be involved?
Any visitor economy business or business that relies on a strong destination / place-based message to attract customers should engage with the campaign workshops and assets.

Place-based networks and campaigns will be led by the Visitor Economy delivery partners in each area drawing on existing strategic partnerships and networks. If you’d like to be involved in your local network, please contact:

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: Nasir Lakhanpal, Tech Talent Academy​

Find out more

Provider: Shaw Trust 

Also supported with Essex CC funding

What is it?

A training and skills programme for 1,002 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. Shaw Trust 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 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. Follow the link below to access the page.

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 nine 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

If you would like to receive updates on these programmes, hear when projects and grants go live and upcoming events, please email hello@southeastlep.com

If you are interested in a particular fund or specific information, please let us know.

Please note we will share your contact details with those who are delivering each of the projects to help ensure the most up to date information. By sharing your details you are agreeing to receive these emails.