COVID-19 - A Business Update On How We Are Supporting Our Community

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6 April 2020

Government's Business Support

The Government has made available a full range of business support measures for businesses and employees. 

Click on the link for a one stop page of information on how to access support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.

Government Business Support

Council Leaders 

Cllr Judy Pearce and Cllr Neil Jory

SHDC and WDBC Leaders

We have handed out essential funding of over £9.2 million received from the Government to support local businesses affected by COVID-19. 

This is providing a crucial lifeline to businesses in the current economic climate, and will help the local economy to survive. 

Across the two Councils, £9.2 million is on its way to 703 businesses in the South Hams and West Devon so far. We have already taken over 12,000 calls from businesses and sent out nearly 5,500 letters to eligible businesses for business grants. 

With over 2,500 applications received so far, there has been a Herculean effort to get essential funding out to those who urgently need it, since we received the funding from the Government on 1 April.

If you haven’t yet applied for your grant on the Councils’ websites, please do so as soon as possible so that they can process your claim. You will need your unique reference number from the letter sent to your business rate contact address to be able to apply online.

Our voices are being added to those of neighbouring councils Devon, Plymouth and Torbay in lobbying Government over the severity of the economic situation for Devon.  We reinforce the report from neighbouring councils in calling for Government to support those businesses who don’t fit into any of the support measures already announced.

This includes a £40 million Response and Recovery Fund which is flexible enough to allow funding grants for small businesses missing out on Government support.  Also being lobbied for are loans for businesses with a turnover over £45 million, along with a request for speeding up support for the self-employed.

Judy Pearce

We're pleased to say that all letters to businesses who may be eligible for funding grants have now gone out.  Due to security processes, you will have to pick up your letter from your place of business but if this is difficult, call our Contact Centre on 01803 861275 (for South Hams) or 01822 618800 (for West Devon) and we will make other arrangements. 

Our officers have worked long hours over the weekend to work through the payments as quickly as possible and the first payments have now gone out electronically, direct into bank accounts.  Businesses will receive an email when their payment has been authorised but it will take two days for the money to reach their bank accounts.

We absolutely feel the frustration of those businesses who fall between the gaps of the current funding packages available, simply because their rates and rent are combined together or because they sit just outside of the Government’s thresholds for grants.  We want to assure you that we have not forgotten about you and we are heavily lobbying Government to find a solution to help you get the support you need.

We fully understand that time is of the essence to help businesses to survive in the current climate and I urge everyone to support our local businesses who are still able to operate to help them to stay afloat.  If we don’t support them through this crisis, they will most certainly struggle to survive, so let’s rally round them.

We also know that some businesses still need workers such as crop pickers which are desperately needed at the moment to harvest crops so they don’t get wasted.  We’re currently working out how to put those people in need of short term work in touch with the businesses who currently have work available.

Cllr Neil Jory

The Councils encourage anyone needing support to engage with them through their website and they will respond as quickly as they can. 

Register Your Essential Business


We have today launched a website to advertise food and essential goods suppliers across West Devon and South Hams to help our residents find local suppliers.

Registration is free and we would like to make sure that as many local businesses as possible can advertise their services to residents.

This includes:

  • Food banks providing collection or delivery services
  • Shops, butchers and pharmacies offering delivery of essential supplies
  • Shops, butchers and pharmacies offering dedicated opening hours for vulnerable residents of key workers

If you provide any of the above across South Hams and/or West Devon, please register your details on the links below.

Community Support Available

Support is available in your area.  For food and medicines and other essentials, please use our one-stop community support pages to get the help you need.

Community Support

We have a team of re-purposed staff who are working closely with your community groups and Town and Parish Councils to get aid and support to your area as quickly as possible. We've already delivered food parcels to those on the NHS database of the 1.5 million most vulnerable in society.

If you know of a group who hasn't been in touch with us yet, please get them to log their details via our website on the link below. 

If you want to offer your services as a volunteer, you can also join on our community support page.

HOTSW Growth Hub

For business advice and guidance, including advisor support please click on the link below. 

Click here to find out more

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