Economic Development Covid Business Newsletter, Courses and Opportunities

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Economic Development Covid Business Newsletter, Courses and Opportunities

Somerset County Council Launches Covid Recovery Funds:

The County Council have launched two Covid funds to support business recovery:

Somerset County Council launches Covid recovery funds

The County Council have launched two Covid funds to support business recovery:


Rural Renaissance Rural Services Grants

Grants of up to £5,000 to assist service businesses in rural areas to help them move forward and become more sustainable.

Full details and information about the application process can be found here:

Somerset Recovery Fund If you need more information, please email your query to


Somerset Business Restart and Recovery Grant Fund

Grants of up to £50k to support the restart and recovery of anchor businesses and organisations, including the visitor economy in Somerset.

Full details and information about the application process can be found here:

Somerset Recovery Fund If you need more information, please email your query to


Please note that these grants are not administered by Somerset West and Taunton Council. Any queries should be directed to Somerset County Council.

Food and Drink Mapping:


Put your Food and Drink Business on the Map

Somerset West & Taunton, and Sedgemoor District Councils are working with the Food and Drink Forum to launch a Food & Drink Mapping project.

Through the project, the local Food & Drink Forum team based at The Food WorksSW, will be contacting as many food and drink producers, suppliers and local retailers based within the Somerset West & Taunton, and Sedgemoor District Council areas as possible, gathering feedback from businesses in the local area and their supply chain. From this, a publicly available map will be produced highlighting to businesses and the wider community the local supply chain and where to buy locally.

This work will provide important data and link into a wider food initiative the South West Food Hub- an innovative project targeting public procurement to increase local business access to public food and drink supply opportunities in the region.

This mapping work will also provide producers with the opportunity to feedback on the issues or business activity where they would benefit from support whether improved labelling, legislation, e-commerce or helping understand the scope for sustainability in their production.  This will help to shape the Council’s support available to businesses in the future with a better understanding of their needs.

Cllr Marcus Kravis, Executive Member for Economic Development at Somerset West and Taunton, said: “Somerset has some amazing food and drink producers and this project will inform businesses and the wider community of where to buy and sell locally.  The mapping work will help to establish shorter, more environmentally friendly supply chains and by shopping locally, we keep the money in the area which will in turn support local producers and create jobs.  It will also help us to enhance the support we provide to producers, helping them to develop their businesses.  I urge all our local food and drinks producers not to miss their opportunity to get their business mapped by engaging in this project when approached by the Food & Drink Forum.”

Cllr McGinty, Leader of Sedgemoor District Council says “we are blessed in Sedgemoor to have a wide and diverse landscape, which produces some of the best food and drink in the country.   We wholeheartedly support this programme and hope that residents and visitors use the map to find all the scrumptious items that are available on their doorstep.”

Simon Gregory, Commercial Manager South West, based at The Food WorksSW says “we have seen first-hand what a challenging 18 months it has been for food and drink producers, and so anything we can do to help Somerset West & Taunton, and Sedgemoor District Councils promote their local supply chain is crucial. We will be conducting short interviews and surveys with producers, suppliers and smaller retailers to better understand their business, product, and supply chain, and will use this information to map local opportunities and advise the Council’s on what support is needed in the future to best support their food and drink businesses.”

The period of lockdown brought into focus how important it is to shop locally, and so producers and retailers are urged to engage with the project to get their business on the map. If you are interested in taking part, the online questionnaire can be completed here:, or call the survey team based at Food WorksSW in Weston-super-Mare on 01934 315381. For further information or to get involved in the project please visit

The Food and Drink Forum

The Food WorksSW is operated by The Food and Drink Forum. Based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, and Leicester Food Park, The Food and Drink Forum has members across the UK including manufacturers, food service operators, suppliers, consultants and businesses providing services and support to the food and drink sector.

Its aims include championing the food and drink sector in the UK, developing strategic influencing partnerships, and acting as a centre for information and knowledge on all subjects relating to food and drink business needs.

The Food WorksSW is a vibrant centre of excellence for nurturing South West food and drink businesses. It offers state-of-the-art product development facilities, specialist food and drink technical and business support, and expert advice. It makes connections with and between local producers to collaborate, innovate, identify new markets, and create jobs within the sector.

The Food WorksSW was opened in April 2020. This dynamic food and drink innovation centre offers product development kitchens, food-grade business units and a business engagement centre with technical advisors, meeting, and conference facilities.

Located in Weston-super-Mare, Food WorksSW  provides a regionally accessible facility for all size of food and drink businesses.

See website:

Minehead and Coast Development Trust (MCDT)

The Minehead and Coast Development Trust (MCDT) have been working on a new Economic Plan for Minehead. A draft has recently been published and feedback is invited from residents and businesses alike. Please download the report and submit your feedback in the online survey, using the buttons below.  

Please note that the survey closes on 13th September 2021

Download the Draft Report from the MCDT website

Go to the online survey to submit your feedback and comments

Somerset Chamber of Commerce News and Events:

Somerset Chamber of Commerce

Somerset Chamber of Commerce engages with businesses from all sectors across Somerset, holding events, lobbying policymakers and acting as the voice of business locally, regionally and nationally.

As one of only 53 Chamber of Commerce in the UK which are accredited to the British Chambers of Commerce, Somerset Chamber effectively has a direct line to central Government and key policymakers, including the Treasury and the Bank of England. This enables us to have the very latest information and to amplify the concerns of our members and the business community directly to those who can make a difference.

Events - we have a wide and varied events calendar helping businesses connect, learn new skills and share best practice. Many are free and non-members can attend two events before being asked to join. More details here: Click here

Upcoming events include:

  1. online sector focus on recruitment on August 25,
  2. Annual Bank of England update on September 8,
  3. a lunchtime Let’s Network at Hornsbury Mill, Chard,
  4. On September 16 and the grand launch of Somerset’s only county-wide business awards, the Somerset Business Awards at Dillington House on September 16.

Kickstart – Somerset Chamber is an officially recognised gateway for the Government’s Kickstart scheme. We do not charge for our service and businesses receive their full £1,500 Government grant to use as they wish. Details here: Click here

Hinkley Supply Chain – Somerset Chamber oversees the supply chain collaboration in partnership with EDF to ensure local and regional businesses benefit from the legacy of Hinkley Point C: Click here

Hospitality Support West Coast 360

To support our local businesses now that Covid restrictions are lifted, Somerset West and Taunton Council, West Coast 360 and Skill Up West Somerset are pleased to offer FREE training to employers, their staff and anyone interested in working in the hospitality and leisure industry. These courses are for West Somerset residents whether you are returning to work after furlough, wishing to gain more skills or looking to start a career in this sector. Please follow this link to sign up!: Courses | West Coast 360 - Your pathway to Hospitality & Leisure excellence

West Coast 27th August

The Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership (HTAP) Grants

New grants to boost tourism

The Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership (HTAP) is offering grants to help fund business projects aimed at boosting tourism within the West Somerset and Sedgemoor area.

Led by Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT), the Tourism Innovation Grant Scheme has been set up by the HTAP partners in response to the impact on tourism from Covid.

The value of tourism towards Somerset’s economy is substantial.  Prior to the pandemic, 23 million day trips and 2.6 million overnight stays helped generate £1.3bn each year, in turn providing employment for 10 per cent of the county’s total workforce.

Tourism is even more significant in West Somerset and Sedgemoor, accounting for 40 per cent of all staying visitor activity across the county.

The new grant scheme is specifically designed to support SMEs in offering a greater range of visitor products and experiences.  Grants between £5,000 and £10,000 will be made available to businesses and organisations operating in the tourism, hospitality and events sector.

Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals aligning with HTAP’s strategic aims by contributing towards industry growth and the local economy.  Where possible, proposals should promote a ‘green’ visitor experience by being sustainable and less reliant on carbon.

The HTAP partners are also looking for creative and innovative experiences which are new to the area.  Inspiration for projects can be sought from other regions or internationally, providing they suit the area's natural resources and have not been adopted previously.

Above all, they must create a lasting legacy by being inclusive, providing an exceptional welcome and creating positive perceptions for the greater area.

Qualifying projects may fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Higher-spend customer markets
  • Genuinely new service provision
  • Shoulder season visitor opportunities
  • New networks or partnerships that consolidate activity into a package that enhances the visitor experience

Applications for the Tourism Innovation Grant Scheme will open week commencing 12 July 2021 until 10 September 2021, or until all the funding has been allocated.

The scheme is open to applicants based in the Somerset West and Taunton and Sedgemoor district council areas.  Applicants are required to match-fund a minimum 10 per cent of the awarded grant.

Any small business partnerships or networks looking to apply should visit SWT’s Hinkley tourism partnership webpage.