Business News for Wells – August 2021

AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY – ANTONY GORMLEY to make loan to Wells

This Autumn renowned sculptor Sir Antony Gormley is to loan Wells a sculpture which he is making especially for the corner niche of the West Front of the Cathedral.

This will be a huge draw for visitors and residents alike.  We hope this project will be something that will boost the recovery of business in Wells in terms of footfall and visitors.

Somerset Visitor Economy Support Programme

VESP provides sector specialist advice to strengthen business performance and build resilience to meet the challenge of trading, resulting from the impact of Covid. Popular workshops that are running now include; • SEO – search engine optimisation • buying local for that authentic visitor experience • creating effective online content, and • high-impact websites – what works

To join the programme and find out more contact the VESP team at www.visit-exmoor.co.uk/business-hub/vesp

Due to recruitment difficulties the hospitality sector is experiencing, VESP is working with public and private partners to help put young people in contact with employers.

In partnership with Education Business Partnership, Dorset and Somerset Training Providers and the private sector, VESP has;

  • created a portal for young people to see job opportunities,
  • engaged with small businesses to participate and
  • produced a social media campaign to connect young people to jobs in the sector

Peer Network

Somerset County Council are running two more cohorts of the very successful BEIS Peer Networks for businesses across Somerset.

Active involvement in the Peer Network will enhance the leadership capabilities, knowledge and confidence of business owners and entrepreneurs within the local region. Through active learning SCC will support you to find new solutions enabling personal and professional growth.

Book your place via the email somersetbusinesssupport@somerset.gov.uk.  Registration NOW for a September 2021 start.

Somerset Economic Recovery Fund

Somerset County Council Cabinet has approved £6m of investment in the Somerset Economic Recovery Fund. This will provide support to individuals and businesses as we move beyond the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposals provide a wide range of support for those who may have slipped through the net of Government financial support programmes, including support for the visitor economy, social care providers, business start-up support, the self-employed and support for those who are unemployed and are returning to work. The first wave of funds is expected to launch in August so watch this space for more information on what is available and how to apply

Carbon Reduction Grants

Somerset County Council is extending the deadline for applications for the Carbon Reduction Grants for Business Scheme. Applications are now being accepted until 30 September 2021, with the deadline for completion of projects by 31 December 2021.

Applications are sought from businesses in Somerset for small projects that will help reduce the carbon emissions of their business. Grants of between £500 and £1000 are available with applicants required to match-fund the grant on a 50:50 basis.

Guidelines and an on-line application form can be found at Carbon Reduction Business Grants (somerset.gov.uk)

ERDF Grant Scheme

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) has now opened the second round of the £900,000 ERDF grant scheme to help foreign-owned SMEs to grow and create jobs in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay. Companies must be located in the Heart of the SW to be eligible. The funding can be used for both capital (which can cover items such as machinery, fixtures, fittings, business accommodation and workspace) and revenue costs (which can cover items such as services and consultancy, digital marketing, IP, quality management, IT systems).

For more information please visit https://heartofswlep.co.uk/growing-yourbusiness/inward-investment/heart-of-the-sw-inwardinvestment-support-project/heart-of-the-sw-erdfinward-investment-support-grant-scheme/

Support for businesses

“Step up Somerset”

It’s a one-stop-shop for employers and businesses looking for support and information about employment, skills, careers and apprenticeships in Somerset. Step Up Somerset also provides plenty of advice and support for businesses, offering tips on how to develop a talent pipeline through apprenticeships and industry placements, redundancy support and promoting events. Visit the Step Up Somerset website at http://www.stepupsomerset.org.uk/ for more information.

With very best wishes for a successful Summer

Judith Ludovino

Chair

Wells Chamber of Commerce & Tourism