The Cheshire & Warrington Covid Recovery Grant supports businesses (SMEs) across Cheshire & Warrington affected by Covid 19.
The 100% grant of a maximum £5,000 is to help businesses develop new business models, develop new products and target new markets or customers.
The focus of this discretionary grant is to protect jobs within those sectors and businesses most impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic.
Cheshire & Warrington LEP have the following funding available for grants
- £175,000 for Visitor/ Tourism economy businesses which equates to approximately 55 grants
- £311,000 for the wider business economy, this equates to approximately 95 grants
The programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
It is anticipated these grants will be provided to SMEs for consultancy support in a wide range of specialisms which will be to assist the business in their recovery efforts.
Examples such as;
- Marketing including Promotional Campaigns, Branding & Design Work, Marketing Materials, Marketing Strategies and Market Research, in order to engage customers, enter new markets and communicate new trading conditions
- Digital Services including website development & build, e-commerce functions & electronic payments systems, mobile apps, search engine optimisation, web-campaigns, video material and virtual tours.
- HR, Financial & Legal Services where the business can demonstrate that these are used to restructure, adapt and address the changes to business practices arising from the Corona Virus.
- Business Management & Strategic planning consultancy including activities to support management teams in diversification into new sectors and markets, change management programmes & restructure
- Product development & Process Management consultancy including advice and guidance on the development & production of new products, changes to production lines and facilities to support social distancing; sales, product specification and marketing to enter into new markets, etc.
The grants are administered via a defrayal mechanism, therefore you will be required to pay for the consultancy services which you will claim back once you submitted evidence of payment, therefore you must ensure you have sufficient funds to cashflow your project before applying.
The VAT element of any support or purchase is not eligible for grant support.
Grants will only be awarded to support Covid 19 recovery and not ‘business as usual’ activity, personal protection equipment (PPE), social distancing plans or for projects that have already started.
How to apply
In order to ensure that as many businesses as possible have an opportunity to apply for the grant, the application portal will open on a monthly basis and will accept a set number of applications which will then be reviewed, processed & approved.
The first round of applications will open at 12.00 noon on September 28, 2020 and will be accessed here.
The aim is to release 40% of the budget in round 1 and the grant application portal will close when we have received applications which will commit this funding.
The website with be updated with the date of the next round.
Demand for the grant is expected to be exceptionally high and grant allocations will be based upon our assessment of the potential impact of your application on your business and the Cheshire & Warrington economy and will take account of the information you provide on your business, sector, at risk and furloughed employees and the on-going impact of social distancing policies on the operation of the business.
Please note this will likely result in priority being given to those applicants that can demonstrate that their project will safeguard at risk jobs and/or make a significant contribution to returning a business to a positive financial position.
Please Note that due to expect levels of demand no telephone guidance will be available on the completion of the initial application.
Therefore you are advised to carefully read the application guidance and assessment criteria and utilise the time until opening to collect the information that we require to assess your application.
Who can apply
Small or Medium sized enterprise (SMEs) headquartered or with premises & employees within Cheshire & Warrington, with less than 250 employees and an annual turnover of less than £45.1m or balance sheet of less than £38.8m.
There are some eligibility exceptions including businesses in agriculture, forestry or fishing, primary production e.g. mining.
In addition businesses in food & drink retail & hospitality venues will only be eligible if located in a tourist area and dependent on visitors.
Demonstrating the impact of Covid-19
In order to apply you must be able to provide evidence of the impact of Covid 19 upon your business through enforced closure of your premises, reduction in sales or bookings, reducing your workforce.
Please note that you will be required to provide some form of evidence of the impact that you report, which may include;
- VAT Returns for two comparable periods. (for tourism businesses this maybe your peak period in 2019 and 2020; for a non-tourism business a quarter prior to lockdown and a recent quarter)
- Number of staff furloughed/ made redundant or at risk of redundancy
- Evidence that either you or your customers had to close your business during the lockdown period
- Booking data from electronic booking systems
Please Note: You will have to provide accurate data on sales from your VAT return and Staffing impacts numbers from PAYE returns therefore you should have this information available when you complete the form.
You should also ensure that you have the following information about your business at hand when you prepare to complete the application form;
- Company number (if applicable)
- Business name
- Business address including postcode
- Principal activity of business/ SIC code
- Date began trading
- Name and contact details of the person applying on behalf of the business
- Staff headcount
- Turnover at the end of the last financial year and for the prior year
- Deprecation Costs (from your accounts)
- Company VAT details
Initial application guidance
As part of your initial application you will need to:
- provide a detailed description of the proposed project you are applying for the grant to support
- details of the activity that you wish your appointed supplier to deliver
- details of the outcomes that you expect from the project
- explain how the project will address the Covid-19 impacts that your business has faced
- select what criteria you will use to choose a supplier
This information will be used to generate a procurement specification that we will post online to ensure that you are able to get the required three written quotes from suppliers.
How do I claim the grant
In order to claim the grant when the project has been concluded satisfactorily and you have paid the suppliers invoice in full you must submit;
- a copy of the invoice from your supplier,
- copy of your business bank statement(s) showing payment to your supplier leaving your bank account
- a completed Grant Claim from