Council's 'inspiring' help for 58 businesses after pandemic

Weston's High Street during the early days of lockdown. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Firms closed throughout the national lockdowns - Credit: Archant

More than 50 businesses have benefitted from a package of free support in the aftermath of national lockdowns during the pandemic.

Between January and March, the Welcome Back North Somerset initiative helped 58 independent businesses across the area.

Using Welcome Back funding, North Somerset Council commissioned Tomorrow’s Tourism to deliver the programme. 

Businesses were given access to a mix of one-to-one support sessions with expert advisers, group support sessions with other local business leaders, and were signposted to a range of resources and information.

Each business’ challenges were diagnosed, a realistic and achievable bespoke plan was then created covering various business practices.

Sonya Stockley, owner of Congars Café in Congresbury, said: “I’m very pleased with the advice and information that I received. The initial conversation was so reassuring and everything seemed achievable with a bit of work. 

"It’s certainly provided me with the right tools and information, while giving me confidence to improve my business practices. I don’t feel so on my own. 

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"I’m very grateful this was offered at no cost as I couldn’t afford to pay for such expert advice. I can’t thank you enough."

Lisa Clarke, owner of The Chocolate Tart in Clevedon, said: "Since the session, I’ve focussed on creating my post-pandemic re-start business plan. I’ve also researched web designers and branding. 

"I’d love to continue having this invaluable business support. It’s been so inspiring."

And Councillor Mark Canniford, NSC's executive member for placemaking and economy, said: "We've been delighted to support this project. I’m pleased to see that it’s been well received by local businesses and that those who took part have seen benefit from the solutions including raising sales revenue, attracting new customers and markets, and driving businesses further.

"As a business owner myself I see this has offered an incredibly helpful support at such a challenging time."

The scheme was supported by the Welcome Back Fund financed by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

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