COVID-19 Support For Businesses

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8 April 2020

COVID-19 help for businesses

Register for grant support now

Have you registered for grant support yet? There are around 2,600 eligible businesses in Wychavon and so far at least 1,000 of these have not registered. Are you one of them? If you are reading this for the first time and think that you are eligible for a grant please complete this form to register. There is more information about the qualifying criteria at our business rates page.

Registering with us will enable you to claim one of the following two grants:

If you have already registered, over 600 grants have been processed and these funds are arriving in bank accounts now. Please keep checking the bank account you registered with us to see if the money has arrived. The team are working hard to get more out, and it’s hoped that the process will soon accelerate.

Grant on the way for Fladbury Flowers

One business whose grant has been received is Fladbury Flowers, from Pershore. Esther Weetman, who runs the business as a partnership with Hazel Robertson, said: “I am so relieved the grant is on the way – as a new partnership business, we don’t meet the criteria for support for the self employed, so the grant will go a long way to keeping us afloat.  Our landlord has been very understanding too, and I’m really grateful for his support. With everyone playing their part, we will all get through this”.  

Esther isn’t alone – so please, if you can pass the message on to any businesses you know that have not yet registered, please do so. And please – you must fill the form in carefully and accurately, small mistakes can cause a long delay in payment.

Job Retention Scheme updated

Under the Job Retention Scheme, it is perfectly possible, legal and may even be desirable for ‘furloughed’ workers to work elsewhere. For instance, the horticultural sector and the care sectors are both short of staff – in some cases, desperately so. For anyone looking for work whilst ‘furloughed’, please see the latest local job opportunities here.

The ‘new’ employer simply has to choose ‘Option C’ from the Starter Checklist which you can find here.

Furlough – live advice session

The Government has updated its guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or ‘furlough’. This live session on Thursday 9 April 10.30am – 12pm will look at how the scheme will work in practice, and the government’s new guidance. Click here to book.

Other support available

There is a range of other business support available including business loans where the eligibility has been updated, and help with business rates, tax, and wages.

For all business support enquiries and information about the Government’s COVID-19 measures please visit

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce have published additional advice and support for employers on such issues as the HR and legal implications of COVID-19, and the global impact of the pandemic on international trade. Please visit

If you need to talk to one of the team at Worcestershire Business Central, please call them on 01905 677888 or email They are ready to help you navigate your way through the information and support that is available.

Chamber webinars

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce has been running a series of webinars to inform you on the latest government updates, HR and legal advice, and mental wellbeing. Click here to book onto Managing Mental Health during the COVID-19 Crisis on Thursday 9 April at 12pm.


Extended Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

In response to feedback received since the scheme’s launch, the Chancellor is taking further action by extending the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) so that all viable small businesses affected by Covid-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible. This change is designed to enable all long-term viable businesses experiencing difficulties as a result of the coronavirus outbreak to access finance. 

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme update

The new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25m to firms with an annual turnover of between £45m and £500m. This will give banks the confidence to lend to many more businesses which are impacted by coronavirus. Facilities backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest.

The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders. The Government will provide lenders with an 80% guarantee on individual loans for businesses that would be otherwise unable to access the finance they need.

The new scheme will launch later this month and will support a wide range of businesses to access finance products including short term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance.

Rural Response Emergency Grants Programme

The Prince’s Countryside Fund is inviting applications for emergency funding from farming and rural community support groups, who are providing assistance to counter the effects of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Groups can apply for grant funding of up to £2,500 if they are: providing emergency relief to vulnerable or isolated individuals or; are providing support to farmers and farm businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic or; are helping rural or farming communities to cope with COVID-19.

£100,000 total is available in this first round of funding. The fund will assist projects that support farm businesses or other rural businesses and rural communities. This may include, but is not limited to, volunteer and fuel costs for grocery and prescription delivery from rural community shops, pubs, and hubs; costs associated with emergency support by farm and agricultural support groups; or rural foodbanks and food delivery services. Visit here for more information about the scheme, and to apply.

£50 million Heritage Emergency Fund launched

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50 million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the COVID-19 outbreak.   It is available to organisations across the full breadth of the heritage sector, including historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives, parks and gardens, landscapes and nature. Click here for more information.

£20m to help boost long-term resilience of COVID-19 impact

Grants of up to £50,000 will be available to technology and research focused businesses to develop new ways of working and help build resilience in industries such as delivery services, food manufacturing, retail and transport, as well as supporting people at home in circumstances like those during the coronavirus outbreak.

Innovations could include:

  • new technology allowing retailers to respond better to sudden spikes of consumer demand and improve deliveries across the UK.
  • new services for families to connect with and remotely monitor their elderly or vulnerable relatives, giving people peace of mind that their loved ones are receiving the services they require such as food deliveries, doctor’s appointments and paying bills.
  • creating education tools which seamlessly integrate the classroom with the kitchen table, allowing teachers to remotely set dynamic tasks, support vulnerable children and make certain no child is left behind.

The proposals will be reviewed as part of a competition launched by Innovate UK, seeking the best new ideas from businesses. All the projects will begin by June 2020 and will last up to 6 months, with products and services expected to be available to the public towards the end of this year.

Find out more on the GOV.UK website.

COVID-19 business impact survey

These are very difficult times for businesses and many will have been severely affected by COVID-19.  If your business has been affected by the coronavirus, please take a moment to complete this brief survey, so that Worcestershire Business Central can endeavour to support your business in any way they can.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do

The information available to businesses is changing regularly. We will continue to actively provide a regular information service as soon as we receive information.

Businesses can receive these updates by signing up to our business e-newsletter