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 Scottish Government have set out a new 5-level system to help tackle the spread of the virus. Read 

more about the new protection levels here. 

​Guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector can be found here, and find advice on how to virus proof activities such as delivering and collecting from people's houses and reduce the risk of indirect spread in this useful guide from SCDC and Public Health Scotland.

What is the latest on furloughing?

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. The scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021, and the government will continue to pay up to 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked until the end of April, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. 

Claims for furlough days in December 2020 must be submitted by 14 January 2021.

Find out more 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.

What if I can’t pay my bills?

You can try applying for Universal Credit here. You can verify your identity through the government gateway system

Self-Isolation Support Grant: Applications for a £500 Self-Isolation Support Grant are designed to help low income workers who have been asked by Test and Protect to self-isolate, but who would face financial hardship in doing so. It will be targeted at those in receipt of Universal Credit or legacy benefits who are employed or self-employed. Find out more here.


The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) offers advice for those experiencing short-term cash flow problems because of coronavirus here. 


HMRC has launched a tax helpline. 

Get debt advice here. 

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) helps small businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. It has now been extended until 31 March 2021. Find out more here. 

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

The Self Employed Income Support Scheme is to be extended to cover the six months of November 2020 to April 2021. The initial lump sum to those eligible will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January 2021, now increased to be worth 80% of average monthly profits. The online service for the next grant  is now open for applications. You must make your claim between 30 November 2020 and 29 January 2021 and you must claim yourself. Check to see if you’re eligible and make a claim here.

There has been an alteration to the eligibility criteria for this grant—in addition to being previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (regardless if you claimed the previous grants), and declaring that they intend to continue to trade, businesses must be either currently actively trading but impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus, or have been previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus. Find out more here. 

There will be an additional second grant to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April. 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.

Is there help to keep my business open?

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months. The scheme is now open until 31 March 2021. Find out more 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.

With much of Scotland now under Level 4 restrictions, more businesses have become eligible for grants under the Strategic Business Framework Fund. Perth and Kinross Council have now published details of how the fund will be administered. Note that the fund has two sections, and the Business Restrictions Grant is NOT applicable in Tier 4 as all eligible businesses will now fall into the Temporary Closure Grant section of the fund. Find out more and how to apply here. Find details on this fund for local authority areas outwit Perth and Kinross here.

New Lockdown Grants: In addition to the grants businesses receive through the Strategic Business Framework Fund, eligible businesses will also get a one off grant of: £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000; £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000; £9,000 for larger retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000; £6,000 for smaller retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000. Find out more 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: 

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.

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.

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.

Young Enterprise Scotland is a national charity that supports young people to successfully earn and manage money. They are recruiting for a part time Volunteer Assistant to help meet their mission of #EnterpriseForAll. Closing Friday 16th October. Find out more here.

The Young Person’s Guarantee offers the opportunity of  a job, placement, training or volunteering for every 16-24 year old in Scotland – based on their own goals and ambitions; connecting them to opportunities and signposting to people and information that can help. Employers can be given the resources and support to develop and build their workforce with young talent. To find out more click 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.  

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, complete the simple contact form here.

Adapt & Thrive Programme Adapt and Thrive offers tailored, specialist advice, as well as grants and loans. It is delivered in partnership by Firstport, Corra Foundation, SCVO, Just Enterprise, Community Enterprise and Social Investment Scotland. From 11 January 2021, there will be two changes to the programme’s criteria so it can support more organisations on their journey to recovery: Eligible organisations can access funding regardless of turnover size; The top value of grants will increase from £25K to up to £75K. The remaining criteria will continue to apply. Find out more 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 for Goods and Services

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. 

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.

Zero Waste Scotland SME Loan Fund: These unsecured, interest-free loans from £1,000 up to £100,000 can be used for the installation of heating renewables and many energy efficiency measures (such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, building fabric, and more). It is funded by the Scottish Government which is committed to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to reduce energy and resource costs. Find out more here.

Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF): The Scottish Government have announced a new Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF) which will allow SMEs to access up to £5,000 worth of training through Scotland’s colleges. Defined as a business with less than 250 employees, SMEs will be able to access training locally at Perth College UHI to support them in adapting and responding to the impacts of COVID-19 and help their existing employees to upskill and reskill. Download the brochure here.

MTB Secure Storage Grant Scheme: Funding assistance of up to £500 is available to enhance the provision of secure storage facilities for bikes, available exclusively to accommodation providers in the Aberdeenshire and Highland regions. This contribution is a maximum of 50% of overall project costs to improve your mountain bike visitor experience. Find out more here.

COVID-19 Public Transport Retrofit Fund: This new fund aimed at supporting public transport operators during COVID-19 is now available. The fund supports the installation of measures needed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on vehicles and aims to improve capacity and increase public confidence while on board. An interim deadline for applications is 15 December 2020 when the scheme will be reviewed with funders. Find out more 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

Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards: Fife and Perth & Kinross: The VACMA awards are supported by Creative Scotland through funding from the National Lottery in partnership with Fife Contemporary and Fife Cultural Trust. In place of usual awards, this year fixed bursaries are available in recognition of the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. The fund is open to Visual Artists/Craft Makers who can demonstrate a commitment to developing their creative practice and are living, working or maintaining a studio space within the Local Authority area to which they are applying. The next deadline will be Tuesday 2 February 2021 at 5pm. Find out more here. 


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. 

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.

Creative Scotland's Youth Arts Emergency Fund: This fund aims to safeguard creative opportunities for young people in Scotland and includes the Youth Arts Small Grant Scheme (£500-£5k), with a deadline of the 2 Nov and the Youth Arts Access Fund (£5k-£30k) with a deadline of the 12 Nov. 

Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers: Funding is available to support creative freelancers working in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial hardship (i.e an inability to meet essential costs at the present time) due to the loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds offer a one-off payment to those who are deeply impacted and disadvantaged by the cancellation of work as a result of the pandemic. This is now in the second round of funding, which opened on Tuesday 10 November. Find out more here.

Fresh Ink — Opportunity for Writers: This programme will award up to 10 emerging writers with a bursary of £1,000 for creative responses to ‘my experience of 2020’. Commissions will be awarded to those who can evidence their suitability, and their commitment to writing. Applicants can choose from a range of genres and forms including, but not limited to: fiction, poetry, graphic novella, drama, and flash fiction. The deadline for applications is 4 January 2021. Find out more and apply on the website.

Perth and Kinross Council Funding Alert

A comprehensive list of support and funding available for those in the Perth and Kinross are is available here.

Commercial Property Regeneration Fund: This new grant fund has been launched by Perth & Kinross Council as part of their ongoing efforts to tackle the financial impact of Covid-19 on the local economy. The CPRF is a match funded grant fund aimed at bringing vacant commercial property back into use for business or housing. A business, property owner, social enterprise or charity could be eligible for a maximum grant of £75,000 or 50% of the cost of adaptation, conversion, repair or re-purposing of a vacant commercial property. Find out 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.

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.

Scotland Loves Local Fund: A new £1 million ‘Scotland Loves Local’ fund will provide grants of between £500 and £5,000 to hundreds of projects to promote town centre and online businesses. The funding aims to support small scale improvements that will help motivate people to shop, eat and relax within their community whilst ensuring public health safety. Grants can be put towards providing safe shopping information for residents and tourists, the installation of public health infrastructure such as protective screens, physical distancing markers, hand sanitising equipment and PPE. Find out more here. 

The National Lottery Heritage Fund: Beginning 25 November, this fund will resume accepting smaller grant applications from £3,000-£10,000 and £10,000-£100,000, providing financial assistance to heritage sector organisations, particularly those who have, so far, been unable to access COVID-19 emergency funds. They will be looking for projects with a particular emphasis on organisational resilience and inclusion. Find out more here.

Alpkit Foundation: Grants of up to £500 are available for a range of outdoor and environmentally focused projects — including outdoor classrooms, allotments and community growing spaces. This is a rolling fund and there's no limit to the number of times you can apply. Find out more here.

Scale+Innovate - Employability & Training: Open to established small to medium size charities or social enterprises working in employability and training or environment and conservation who are looking to scale their organisation and implement a new initiative to help recover and rebuild from Covid-19. Find out more here (in order to view, you may be asked to sign up to SRN Funding Search).


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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