Published: April 16, 2020 | Updated: April 17, 2020
Dorset Biz News coronavirus update featuring BCP Council, Morebus and Marketing West
BCP Council issues £30m in grant support to business community
Nearly 2,200 businesses across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole have received grants totalling £30m from BCP Council to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.
The council received £128m from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government at the end of March as part of the Small Business Grants Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund schemes.
All the businesses on the council’s records which met the eligibility criteria for these grants were contacted within the first week of the funding announcement,
An online e-form has since been set up to enhance the application process.
Providing all the information supplied within the application is accurate, the council aims to make payments within seven working days.
Additional resources were also allocated over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend to support the processing of applications.
In some cases, businesses will receive a request to provide further information to enable payment.
Cllr Vikki Slade, Leader of BCP Council, said: “We’ve received thousands of applications and our Business Rates Team have been working diligently to process these as quickly as possible.
“We understand this is a difficult time for businesses and want to remind those who have not yet applied to check they are eligible and apply as soon as possible.
“We also appreciate that this funding does not cover all business sectors and we will continue to lobby the government for further support.’’
Businesses who have not yet applied can check their eligibility before applying.
The criteria and the forms are available on the council’s website.
Hair today, gone tomorrow for Morebus engineers
A group of Poole-based engineers had a close shave when they shed their hair for charity.
The Morebus team shaved their heads to raise money for Dorset County Hospital Charity’s Covid-19 appeal.
Daniel Large, Morebus engineer, said: “It’s fair to say a few of us were a little nervous – but it was all in aid of an incredibly worthy cause.
“I’m delighted to report we’ve already raised almost £1,000 of our £1,200 target, but we want to raise as much as we possibly can.”
Anyone wishing to donate to Morebus engineers’ Big Shave can do so by visiting the group’s Just Giving page.
Virtual networking goes one stage further
Online video meetings may have taken the place of networking events across Dorset but now they’ve moved to another level.
Marketing West has been running business networking breakfasts for the West and North West Dorset areas for about three years.
At the end of March the marketing and events company launched weekly virtual online breakfasts – and now it has added specialist speakers.
The idea is to give the local business community the chance to discuss issues, how they are approaching the current problems and how they see the future.
By adding a speaker they now replicate what would be happening if they were attending face-to-face breakfasts.
The first speaker was Charlotte Bowater, of Dorset Business Mentors, who spoke for five minutes, outlining their current offer of a free mentor for businesses in need of guidance during this difficult time.
Nigel Reeve, of Marketing West, pictured left, said: “We wanted to do something to help local businesses during these strange times.
“By doing this we give them the chance to talk, network and hear from experts who are relevant to the current issues they’re facing.
“There’s no cost and charge involved.
“It’s a chance for us all to pull together.”
Bridport based HR specialist David Thomas said: “It’s a great way to keep in touch with the local business community and to hear from relevant specialists covering the current problems.
“These virtual breakfasts and the specialist speakers get my full support.”