Not quite business as usual yet . . .

It was lovely to meet up with some of our members last Friday afternoon for cake and a cuppa in the tipi at Beamish Park Hotel.  While we’re loving our online meetings and masterclasses, seeing our members in person is magical.  And to think that we used to take these things for granted!

Last Friday, Phil brought his new calendar along (hot off the press) and Joanne gave it a big thumbs-up of approval.  That’s two artists working in different media and encouraging each other.  There was lots of networking and Nathalie brought some business books that she wanted to pass on to other members and three were taken immediately.  Thanks for this Nathalie, it's a great idea.

Sadly, we can’t ignore the ever-present risk of covid and we’re monitoring the situation closely as infections seem to be on the rise again locally.  Earlier this week we had to postpone our netwalk with the FSB in line with a request to reduce contact in the Winlaton Mill area.  We were very disappointed but people’s safety has to be our top priority.

At the time of writing this newsletter, we’re still set for a small socially-distanced gathering at Harperley Farm Garden Centre this Friday afternoon but we’ll have to postpone the others planned on the 18th and 25th in line with the change in Government regulations from Monday.

It was nice while it lasted . . .

SME Restart and Recovery Grants opened again on Tuesday 15 September at 10:30 a.m. - please be prepared!

Remember the grants that appeared and disappeared in 90 minutes?  They're open again on 15th September at 10:30 so please be prepared.

We have a networking meeting from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and we'll be checking throughout in case it should open early and we'll give you the heads-up live!

SMEs within the North East LEP area that have been directly impacted by COVID-19 can apply for grants of between £1,000 and £3,000 from the SME Restart and Recovery grants fund; expressions of Interest open on Tuesday 15 September at 10:30 a.m.

The high number of applications during phase one resulted in the application process closing after 90 minutes.  They are accepting 250 applications for this phase of the funding, and anticipate a similar situation where the application process will close in a short space of time.

If you intend on applying, please check out the eligibility criteria in advance of the application process so you can be as prepared as possible.  Please note that you will need to be able to demonstrate a 20% reduction in turnover which is a direct impact of COVID-19.

UPDATE - MESSAGE POSTED ON THE NORTH EAST GROWTH HUB ONE HOUR AFTER OPENING OF APPLICATIONS: "This morning our website was overwhelmed by unprecedented demand – with over 150,000 requests made in relation to the EOI form for the SME Restart and Recovery Grants at the same time.

"We have taken the decision to temporarily suspend applications while a solution is sought to cope with this demand.  We appreciate this is frustrating and many of you have put time aside to complete the application.   However, our aim is to provide a solution that avoids a reoccurrence of this morning’s crash.   We will update our social media posts as soon as we have further details.  Thanks for your patience."


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