Recovery and resilience
The LEP mobilised its network of partners and stakeholders to offer immediate support to those sectors hardest hit by the crisis.
And it followed up this work with a widely-praised week of events to both draw together the experiences of businesses across the region and plot a course for the recovery we are now starting to see.
Part of our response was to release £1.58m from the Marches Investment Fund to inject into the regional economy to support tourism and businesses affected by flooding and the coronavirus.
In Herefordshire, we awarded £444,220 to help fund a marketing and PR campaign to support the recovery of the visitor economy. The funding has led to the development of a widely-praised TV advertising campaign, launch of a new Visit Herefordshire website, and a new energy to the county’s promotion on the national and international stage.
In Shropshire we helped fund a range of recovery activity with a £737,000 investment following an application from Shropshire Council, supported by the Shropshire Business Board. Help included grant schemes to help 75 of the hardest-hit small businesses in the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure and Business Enabling sectors, £137,000 for market town recovery work and £117,000 to key market towns.
Telford & Wrekin received £404,000, with £230,000 supporting the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust with the loss of visitor income caused by flooding and the closure of the whole museum because of Covid. A further £174,000 was targeted at the re-energising of local and regional consumer demand across Telford’s retail, hospitality and leisure sector with a particular focus on five key borough towns/centres, through a programme of digital innovation, marketing and innovative events.
Our business support service, the Marches Growth Hub, played a central role in keeping businesses up to speed with the latest Covid restrictions and the help and support on offer, both locally, regionally and through central Government.
The Marches Growth Hub’s website saw a huge surge in visits as businesses turned to the trusted service for advice and help, and extra one-to-one support was delivered by an expanded team of experts to help businesses navigate the crisis.