COVID-19 Support For Businesses

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17 September 2020

The Kickstart Scheme

If you are an employer looking to create job placements for young people, check if you can apply for funding as part of the Kickstart Scheme.

You can use the Kickstart Scheme to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements should support the participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.

Funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support, and training.

Funding is available following a successful application process. Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. If you are unable to offer this many job placements, you can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number.

For further information on this please contact Worcestershire Business Central on 01905 677888 or email

If you are a representative applying on behalf of a group of employers, you can get £300 of funding to support with the associated administrative costs of bringing together these employers.

Kickstart is not an apprenticeship, but participants may move on to an apprenticeship at any time during, or after their job placement.

This as a great opportunity to open new doors with employers for our young people, and to offer apprenticeships and careers advice, as well as a real boost for young people who have found themselves unemployed.

More information about the scheme is here.

Cllr. Richard Morris.

Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for economic growth and tourism.

Low carbon sector innovation events

The Low Carbon Opportunities Programme (LOCOP) has been designed to support businesses with innovation within the low carbon sector.

The programme is introducing a series of webinars which will help small businesses in Worcestershire and Shropshire to benefit from and thrive in this sector.

The webinars are aimed at:

  • Businesses interested in launching new ventures
  • Businesses already in this market
  • Businesses who see the value in diversifying into this sector

The programme exists to provide direct support to small businesses through targeted and intensive expert advice and financial support. The series of three-monthly webinars will take small businesses through understanding the support available from Worcestershire County Council, analysing what business opportunities exist in the low carbon economy, and how to plan and launch business ventures in the market.

They each will last around an hour and will include an opportunity for interacting with the speakers and for networking with other attendees. They will feature input from businesses which have already benefited from the programme.

The first of the series will be at 4pm on 16 September.

If you would like to reserve your place, please follow this link.

BEEP offers free energy assessments and funding

The Business Energy Efficiency Programme (BEEP) continues to offer free energy and resource efficiency assessments, advice, and grant funding from £1,000 to £20,000 to small businesses throughout Worcestershire and the Marches.

Despite lockdown BEEP has successfully carried out energy assessments remotely and awarded grants to businesses.  Now businesses are returning to work site visits to carry out energy assessments have resumed.

The programme offers FREE assessments which could lead to grants for small businesses who wish to use their energy more efficiently, reducing costs and improving environmental credentials.

Businesses have found the BEEP process both efficient and effective to get support for improvements in their energy consumption. The grant approval process is quick, the process is simple and full business support is given.  Grant activities include lighting; compressors; energy efficient equipment; heating and boilers; waste and water reduction.

For more information see the Worcestershire Business Central website, email or call: 01905 677888.

BEEP is a European funded programme and a partnership between county and district councils.

Everything online

The Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and Worcestershire Business Central are just two of many business support organisations that are providing online advice to support current business needs and future recovery plans. They both have a series of webinars available in place of events, training courses and face to face meetings to inform you on the latest government updates, business support, HR and legal advice, mental wellbeing and much more.

Here are links to book some of the latest Chamber webinars:

Skills Development Webinar

Armed Forces Webinar

Charity Forum

EU Exit Are You Ready?

You can view all past webinars on their YouTube Channel. To find out about their virtual training days for the recovering business head straight to the training calendar for upcoming courses.

WBC offer free business support webinars to help your business during the COVID-19 pandemic they are listed here - upcoming events

Green Commute Initiative

Green Commute Initiative is a Social Enterprise with a vision to get commuters out of cars and onto any kind of bike, with the dual purpose of improving both the individual’s health and wellbeing, as well as reducing the environmental impact of pollution and congestion from cars. They do this through their cycle to work scheme which benefits both employers and employees.

GCI is not restricted to the £1,000 limit of other cycle to work schemes and the bike is yours to keep and use at the end of the scheme. Step one is to speak to your employer about participating in the scheme, step two get a quote and then find your nearest registered bike shop. All the information about the scheme is here.

Recycle Week 2020

Now in its 17th year, Recycle Week 21 to 27 September is a celebration of recycling.

This year, the theme will be to thank the nation for continuing to recycle despite the challenges that COVID-19 has presented, under the banner ‘Thanking the nation: 'Together - We Recycle'.

The thank you will acknowledge the work done by the recycling crews during lockdown as they continued to collect from people’s houses (and a few businesses), and also to thank the public for continuing to recycle when the world was a little bit chaotic to say the least!

As part of the work being done by Worcestershire County Council and the six district councils, buildings are being asked to light up green to show their support for Recycle Week. Evesham Bell Tower and Broadway Tower will go green in support of the week’s theme.

Shops and businesses may also wish to light up green for the duration of Recycle Week.  If businesses are interested please contact Emma Stuart at Worcestershire County Council for more information, or just light up and send Emma photos of your green business which will be included in publicity material during the week.

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