Businesses in the Caerphilly county borough have received a range of support to help them adapt as the Coronavirus pandemic has evolved.
Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Business Enterprise and Renewal Team has seen a significant rise in the number of businesses contacting them for support; with the team dealing with around 30 enquiries per day, reaching a peak of 60 a day at the start of the crisis. In addition to dealing with incoming enquiries, the team also proactively sends out a weekly business e-newsletter to around 8,000 business contacts and stakeholders.
The Council made changes to its Caerphilly Enterprise during the pandemic to boost the budget, speed up the process and add flexibility to the criteria. To date, 66 applications for the Caerphilly Enterprise Fund have been sent out, with £188,727.97 of capital and £67,132.60 of revenue grants approved.
Two local companies that have already been awarded funding under the fast track scheme are Motion 29 and Heathpak. Pontllanfraith based Motion 29 secured a grant of £6,811 to purchase equipment enabling them to be ready to react at short notice in supplying connectors for ventilator projects. Heathpak based at the Pen y Fan Industrial Estate in Crumlin, whose products have been critical to the supply of meat and fish to UK supermarkets during the pandemic, are currently finalising a project to replace the current lining on the outside of solidboard material which will make their material a completely plastic free alternative.
The Business Enterprise and Renewal Team has also been active in supporting the Council’s finance team in promoting the ratings grants scheme to local businesses with over £34m of rate related grants being paid out against an initial projection of £36m being required, meaning that 94% of eligible businesses have been in receipt of financial support through this scheme.
A new Retail Safety Grant has been set up by the Council with a £50,000 budget to help non-essential retail & service businesses that were required to close put safety measures in place for reopening. So far over 60 applications have been received for grants up to £200.
In addition, the team is also administering a new business start up grant on behalf of Welsh Government; 119 applications have been received for the £2,500 grants. Businesses renting premises from the Council have also been given the option of a rent deferral scheme; with 43 requests approved to help business tenants with their cash flow.
Cllr Sean Morgan, the Council’s Deputy Leader, said “We understand the impact that the pandemic has had on our economy and are keen to send a message to businesses that we are there to support them. The figures here demonstrate the breadth and volume of support that’s being provided to our local business community.”
The Council also continues to work closely supporting the business community through the Caerphilly Business Club, which has been relaunched with over 150 members during the pandemic.
With large numbers of the county borough’s workforce currently on furlough and many employees facing an uncertain future the team has established a Redundancy Response Team to work with the many agencies who have a role to play in supporting workers that are facing the prospect of being made redundant.
The service is working to develop an Economic Recovery Plan and has engaged consultants to undertake a comprehensive Business Impact Survey that will feed into the recovery plan.