£5million Staffordshire council’s partnership expands support to businesses and workers

back to businessTamworth businesses can now apply for a five-million-pound countywide package of support programmes, through a Staffordshire County Council partnership.

The new ‘Staffordshire Means Back to Business’ scheme will add to those already being delivered by Tamworth council, as well as a range of other organisations, including central Government.

Since March 2020, Tamworth Borough Council has been responsible for administering grant schemes to support businesses in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Various support packages have been available to businesses depending on the level of impact to the company due to lockdown and tier restrictions.

The latest Staffordshire Means Back to Business support programmes include an investment to fund wages for 500 apprentices, a training top-up fund for businesses to upskill their employees and a grant scheme to enable small businesses to thrive.

By pooling a targeted county council investment with district and borough council support funding, the programmes can benefit small businesses imminently. The three programmes are topped up by Government funding and other sources.

The county council is investing £860,000 into the schemes across Staffordshire and is running them on behalf of the partnership. District and borough councils are using Government funding given for businesses impacted by the pandemic. Tamworth Borough Council has contributed £377,000.

The three new programmes are:

‘500’ Apprentices Wage Support programme

The Staffordshire 500, Apprentices Wage Support programme could see the creation of up to 500 apprentices. It will incentivise employers to take on 16 to 24-year-olds by contributing to the costs associated with recruiting and retaining an apprentice. It will support smaller companies that do not pay into the national apprenticeship levy. The programme could also offer apprentices progression from the national Kickstart scheme.

Training Top-up Project

Businesses are being offered support to upskill their employees or train new staff in accordance with their changing business operations or entering new markets through the Free Training Top-up Project. Grants of up to £5,000 would be provided and matched through other funding sources.

‘To Thrive Financial’ Support Programme

The Small Business ‘To Thrive’ Financial Support programme offers grants to small businesses between £2,000 and £5,000 to cover additional expenditure to help businesses with a plan to recover and get back to growth. Applicants will need to demonstrate all the measures they have put in place to remain open during the restriction period or the growth plan they have in place. 

Find out more about the new programmes: www.staffordshire.gov.uk/5millionscheme

There is also a loan scheme for people who want to set up their own business and have completed the online Start-Up training course and a programme to support entrepreneurs currently in further education to set up their own business.

Anna Miller, Assistant Director of Growth and Regeneration for Tamworth Borough Council, said: “It is critical that as a council we continue to prioritise support for small businesses and people whose jobs or employment prospects have been impacted by the pandemic.

“In Tamworth we have been given Government COVID-19 funding to help support our small businesses. By collaborative working with other Staffordshire district and borough councils and a range of other partners, we can make our respective funding go further.

“Staffordshire County Council have put together a package of business support using district and borough Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) money.

“The new programmes are a combination of opportunities to top-up existing countywide schemes and cover any gaps in supporting skills development and businesses to “thrive” as Tamworth transitions out of lockdown when government restrictions are eased. 

“We hope that the three new programmes will reach more people and businesses affected by the pandemic. We owe it to businesses and community to direct all available funding where it is needed most, and vitally to make it accessible as soon as possible.”