In order to quickly support and protect businesses in Barnsley, Barnsley Council has to date paid out over £19M to over 1762 businesses in Barnsley in business grants ahead of receiving money from central government which arrived on Thursday 2 April.
Enterprising Barnsley, the business support arm of the council, is providing a central source of information on their website for national and local business support. This has been sharing government guidance, as well as being a hub of information to support businesses across the borough around HR, finance, business continuity and other support measures.
Working with the council’s finance team, a process was quickly established to drive grant enquiries to an online form, resulting in faster payouts to support Barnsley’s economy and hardworking residents who found themselves needing support.
Setting up a new online chat system on the Enterprising Barnsley website allowed the team to deliver a contact centre style function to manage enquiries and provide clear information to over 540 businesses in the first two weeks of the crisis, directing them to the available financial support and other business support.
Enterprising Barnsley Key Account Managers have also been reaching out to their businesses, both SME and large companies, and have helped to ensure they have access to up to date and accurate information, services and support. They are working with companies in the Council’s commercial property portfolio and the DMC, as well as all businesses from across the borough.
Further support is being provided by Barnsley Council’s Employment & Skills team who have set up a helpdesk for people to discuss concerns around current employment worries and seeking new employment, there is also information showcasing options to develop new skills whilst out of work. They are working closely with Enterprising Barnsley to provide a one stop shop of support for businesses and workers. For further information see https://www.enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk/support-for-employment/
Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, said: “We want Barnsley businesses to thrive and although many of them have been placed into a very difficult position, by acting quickly we have been able to help businesses survive.
“The decision to get money out to businesses before the money from central government arrived was a critical one to protect as many Barnsley businesses and workers as possible. I’m delighted that our services reacted quickly and worked together in testing times in order to provide the critical support people needed.”