Coronavirus Support: Find Answers to Your Questions

What is the latest guidance for myself and my business? 

Health Advice:

Above all, it’s important to know what to do if we or a member of our family falls in the high risk category or feels unwell with coronavirus symptoms. The NHS has laid out all such information here. 

 

The Scottish Government provides latest news here, and advice and updates, including the latest figures on cases of coronavirus in Scotland, here.

 

Scotland's proposed route map through and out of the coronavirus crisis can be found here.

Business Guidance:

The government has published guidance for employers and businesses, including social distancing, sick pay and food safety. 

Download new guidelines for self-catering and short-term letting cleaning protocol on our Resources page here.

Settings where face coverings must be legally worn in Scotland has expanded and further rules for the hospitality sector have been announced. Find out more here.

What is furloughing and what do I need to do? 

Furloughing means that an employee has been given temporary leave. Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employers who have had to furlough employees due to the coronavirus can apply for a grant to cover a percentage of their wages. Businesses can bring furloughed employees back to work part time and be responsible for paying their wages while in work. From August 2020 the amount of government grant provided will be tapered, dropping from 80% to 70% in September, and 60% in October.  You can claim here. 

 

A template of a furlough letter that you can send to your employees can be found here.

 

The HR Dept has an easy to use hub for employers, including information on Statutory Sick Pay and working from home here, and employers can now reclaim Statutory Sick Pay using this online service.

 

If you’re employed and are concerned about what you should do, then you can find the Government advice here. 

What if I can’t pay my bills?

You can try applying for Universal Credit here. It’s now easier to apply because you can verify your identity through the government gateway system

 

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) offers advice for those experiencing short-term cash flow problems because of coronavirus, including asking for a 3 month payment freeze on personal loans, credit cars and motor finance, here. 

 

You also may have the option to take a mortgage holiday and your bank may be able to offer some assistance—check what your bank says here. 

 

HMRC has launched a tax helpline. 

 

Get debt advice here. 

The People's Energy Covid Community Fund was set up to try to help members of People’s Energy in financial difficulty caused by Covid-19. You may be eligible for help if you received Universal Credit before the lockdown, have applied for Universal Credit recently or have applied to the government’s grant scheme for the self-employed. Find out more on the website or apply to the fund. 

I’m self-employed, what help can I expect?

Self Employed Income Support Scheme: Applications for the second instalment of the scheme is now open. If you were eligible for the first grant and you can confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected on/after 14 July, you’ll be able to claim. Find out more here. If you are unsure if you are eligible to claim please get in touch at connect@growbiz.co.uk

Self Employment Income Support Scheme, Meaning of ‘Adversely Affected’: A key condition for claiming the SEISS grants is that the business must be adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This article explains what that means and what records you should keep. If you are unsure of your eligibility please contact us for help.

The Scottish Government Business Support Fund is being expanded to include small B&Bs who were ineligible for other support due to not having a business bank account. They will be able to apply for a share of £3 million of funding which has been re-purposed from the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund. This funding will be administered by local authorities and applications are expected to open on 15 June. Find out more here.

The Women’s Business Centre has been launched by our ecosystem partner Women’s Enterprise Scotland and will help you bring your business idea to life. Whether you are curious about starting up a business and want to find out more, or actively shaping up a new idea, you'll find practical tips on the new platform here.

The Scottish Government has published advice for small and micro businesses where there is no sector-specific guidance published to reopen safely. Read it here.

Record Keeping for the Self-Employed: Whether you use cash basis or traditional accounting, this webinar from HMRC covers how to set up a record system, typical records you should keep, the advantages of accurate records and how long to keep them. Choose a date and time.

Is there help to keep my business open?

The Rural Employment Incentive will provide employers with a financial contribution towards the costs of recruiting and sustaining a young person in employment, aiming to support employers and encourage the recruitment of young people (aged 16-29). 

An extensive guide to new cleaning protocols for self catering and holiday lets has been published by the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers and is available here.

Settings where face coverings must be legally worn in Scotland has expanded and further rules for the hospitality sector, including the introduction of new statutory guidance, have been announced to increase compliance and keep the sector safely open. Find out more here.

 

You can find printable signs and social media cards to let your customers know that you are open for business and COVID compliant can be downloaded for free here.

The Women’s Business Centre has been launched by our ecosystem partner Women’s Enterprise Scotland and will help you bring your business idea to life. Whether you are curious about starting up a business and want to find out more, or actively shaping up a new idea, you'll find practical tips on the new platform here.

The Scottish Government has published advice for small and micro businesses where there is no sector-specific guidance published to reopen safely. Read it here.

Kickstart Scheme: The government has launched its fund to create high quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment. Funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. Check eligibility and apply here.

How can I help?

If you’re able to provide employment you can enter your vacancy into the Our Skillsforce Job Hub. 

The Department of Work and Pensions has created Employerhelp, a new website which focuses on recruiting.

Economic Wellbeing Plan for Perth and Kinross: The Covid-19 Business Support Task Force has the Draft Economic Wellbeing Plan for Perth and Kinross for consultation. Take this opportunity to have your say here.

Circular Arts Network: This is a platform where businesses can donate their "waste" material for use by the arts sector. The website is very easy to navigate and donating spare materials will help establish a circular and sustainable arts sector in Scotland. 

‘Escape the Everyday’ Campaign: A new UK-wide campaign to encourage people to take a domestic break during autumn and winter has been launched by the UK’s national tourism organisations and is calling for tourism businesses, visitor attractions and destinations across the UK to get involved. Find out how here. 

REDS (Rural Enterprise Directory Scotland): Our £3 million fundraising campaign to support micro-enterprises and the self-employed in rural Scotland has had almost 50 pledges so far! If you haven’t yet contributed please take a moment to look at our crowdfunding page and consider making a donation, however small: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/reds 

There are several funding 

opportunities available for organisations and individuals with ideas and/or projects that will have a positive effect in the community. Take a look at the funding section on this page for more details.

Is there any other work available for me? 

A free-to-use jobs portal to help workers from the tourism and hospitality sectors who have found themselves displaced as a result of the COVID-19 has been launched.

 

You could also consider learning something new. The government is hosting a free online learning platform designed to boost workplace skills. 

The Department of Work and Pensions has created two new websites: Jobhelp and Employerhelp. Jobhelp offers essential advice about which sectors are recruiting now, transferable skills and how to secure a new role, and Employerhelp focuses on recruiting.

Blairgowrie & Rattray Development Trust are recruiting for a part-time Finance Officer. Find out more here, or email eileen.ferguson@brdt.org.uk

Young people aged 16-24 can apply for apprenticeship opportunities in different occupational areas with Perth and Kinross Council. You can find current vacancies on MyJobScotland or find out more here.

First Port Pounds for Purpose: You can apply for Pounds for Purpose funding if you have an idea to generate positive change, are aged 16-26 and need some funding to put your idea into action. They can provide business support if you decide to turn your idea into a business. Find out more here.

What about help for the third sector?

Find lots of third sector help and advice on the SCVO website hub. 

The Scottish Community Development Centre is offering advice on how to work digitally here. 

Rural Social Enterprise Network Survey: The provision of local access and progression routes are especially vital in view of the challenges of increased unemployment, particularly for young people. To get a better understanding of what social enterprises could offer, Rural SEN are carrying out a short survey to determine previous activity and future support. Take the survey here.

SCVO is asking staff and volunteers from charities, social enterprises, community groups and voluntary organisations who could start or who already are sharing their experiences through blogs, diaries and articles to start using #NeverMoreNeeded when sharing on social media. The campaign is to help remind government, funders, donors and the general public of how essential the voluntary sector is now and in the future.  

 

If your organisation has a story to tell, you can also contact Third Force News, where the team have been reporting on how the ongoing pandemic and lockdown measures are affecting the sector for months.

Care and Wellbeing CiC: This care and wellbeing community exists to support both clients and providers of care. They are currently encouraging new members to join and will warmly welcome all local professionals who believe in local, compassionate, flexible and personalised care and wellbeing. To join, complete the simple contact form here.

Am I eligible for business rates relief?

You can get help with non-domestic rates through the Small Business Bonus Scheme. You can find out if your business is listed as a commercial property here

You will be now able to apply for this grant if you not a ratepayer, but you occupy certain types of shared space. You must lease the space from a landlord who is the registered ratepayer and have a lease signed before 17 March 2020. You must also be a registered business or partnership, employ at least one person and have a business bank account. Find out more here. 

Help for women in business
The Women’s Business Centre is available to help you bring your business idea to life and flourish as a business owner. This new platform is free to access and offers dedicated content for women setting up their own enterprise, with a variety of topics such as accessing finance, juggling work-life balance and marketing. Visit the website here.
Back Her Business: This initiative has been designed to help women raise money for their concept or idea through crowdfunding. Register on the Back Her Business portal to find inspiration, help and advice. Further information on the BHB criteria can be found here.
Women in Innovation Awards 2020/21: Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is offering 10 Women in Innovation Awards to female entrepreneurs across the UK. The winners will receive a £50,000 grant and a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support. Apply here. 

Funding

Funding

Funding for Goods and Services

Self-Catering Support Fund: Visit Scotland and the ASSC have announced a new fund to support self-catering businesses who have not been eligible for any other financial support, with £10k grants. The fund went live on Monday, 3rd August and closes on Monday, 10th August. It's available on a first come, first served basis. Find out more here.

Museums Resilience and Recovery Fund: A new fund for independent museums and galleries will help bolster resilience following the coronavirus pandemic. It will be administered by Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) and will aid the return of staff from furlough and the wider reopening of museums and galleries. Find out more here. 

 

Events Sector Support Fund: A funding package has been established to help the events sector recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, providing support to organisers of cultural, community, and sporting events, as well as to supply chain firms facing hardship, to help keep them in business while restrictions on events are still in place. It will also look to increase community engagement, and support adaptations to event delivery to enable a safe restart. Find out more here. 

The Sustainable Agriculture Capital Grant Scheme: Ensuring farmers and crofters can also play a key role in a green recovery, a new fund will open for applications later this month. The Sustainable Agriculture Capital Grant Scheme (SACGS) will run for five weeks, offering grants of up to £20,000 for farmers and crofters to purchase new equipment. Read more here.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise: HIE is to invest £3 million in tourism destination management organisations over the next three years as part of the agency’s support for the sector’s recovery. Read the article here.

Funding for Young People

Kickstart Scheme: The government has launched its fund to create high quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment. Funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. Check eligibility and apply here.

You can apply for Pounds for Purpose funding if you have an idea to generate positive change, are aged 16-26 and need some funding to put your idea into action. They can provide business support if you decide to turn your idea into a business. Find out more here.

Funding for Creatives

Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund: Part of the Scottish Government’s £185m Business Support Fund, the £10 million fund will help venues who cannot yet reopen to their audiences due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19. The fund will be run by Creative Scotland. Read more here. 

 

Baring Foundation funding to support arts and mental health organisations: The first call for applications to the new Arts programme supporting Arts and Mental Health has been announced. The funding will offer modest, unrestricted grants to established organisations in the UK that focus solely on offering creative opportunities using the skills of professionally trained artists to people of any age living with mental health problems. Read more here.

Sustaining Creative Development Open Fund: The fund focuses support on helping individuals and organisations to sustain themselves during the pandemic. It’s open to individuals who are freelance or self-employed artists and creative practitioners in Scotland, and organisations and groups based in Scotland whose work or project involves the arts, screen and creative industries. Find out more here. 

Independent Cinema Recovery and Resilience Fund: Funding to bridge the immediate financial gap faced by independently owned cinemas during reopening and operation in the short-term. The application deadline is 12 noon on Monday 5 October. Find out more here. 

Grassroots Music Venue Stabilisation Fund: The new funding support for Scottish grassroots music venues affected by Covid-19 is now open for applications. Find out more about eligibility criteria and how to apply here.

Funding for Culture and Heritage Sector: The culture and heritage sectors are to benefit from a funding package from the Scottish Government to protect jobs and help the industry weather the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here. 

Third Sector Funding

The Third Sector Resilience Fund: A £20m emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland. The fund supports organisations that already deliver services and products but find themselves in financial difficulties directly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Find out more here. 

Social Entrepreneurs Fund: This Scottish Government-funded programme supports individuals in Scotland to test, start, and grow social enterprise ideas. It runs five different funds, three of which have now re-opened. If you are thinking about or already in the process of starting a social enterprise in Scotland then find out if one of them is right for you here.

First Port Social Entrepreneurs Fund – Build It: Build It is for social entrepreneurs who have tried and tested a social enterprise idea and want to turn it into their full-time job. You can apply for up to £20,000 to fund a single salary if your social enterprise idea is already off the ground and has been trading for two years or less. They will consider funding up to a further £5,000 for additional essential costs, such as hiring other staff. The next deadline is the 29 September. Find out more and how to apply here.

The Adapt and Thrive Programme: This programme aims to support organisations across the third sector to adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and build back better to thrive in the future. The programme will help organisations to make the necessary changes to operate sustainably so they can continue to have a positive impact on people and communities. More information can be found on the SCVO website.​

Communities Recovery Fund: This fund aims to support the delivery of services in communities that were suspended or reduced because of COVID, or the creation of new services that tackle new challenges presented by COVID. ​​more details here.

Youth Work Education Recovery Fund: This fund will be targeted at those communities and young people who need the most support and is open for applications from Community Learning and Development services that help young people engage and re-engage with learning. Submissions should support partnership work between November 2020 and the end of August 2021. Find out more here.

FAQ

What will happen to GrowBiz Learning Sessions and Networking Meetings during the outbreak?

 

We have moved all our events and networking meetings online. These are open to any small or micro-business in rural Scotland.  We’ll be adding more events to help support you to adapt and survive the coming weeks including how to use online conferencing and preparing for and delivering your services online.

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