A FESTIVE HELLO FROM DBN- 25th September 2020 (just three months until the real thing!)

If ever there was a year to buy locally produced gifts, this is the one!  So this week we thought we would throw the spotlight on some locally produced Christmas gifts, food, drink and activities.  By supporting local businesses you’ll be boosting the local economy, sustaining local jobs and finding some unique and wonderful gifts too.

We’d like to shout out a great big DBN thank you to all our presenters and mentors who have helped us to deliver business support throughout the summer and to the Derwent Valley and Chester-le-Street AAPs for providing funding to run the extra workshops, mentoring and networking activities that have helped to break the isolation that so many of us experienced during lockdown.

We have no doubt that there will be many challenges ahead for our business community over the coming months and we want to assure you that DBN will be there to support you and your business with our ongoing monthly programme of learning, networking and promotions.  We also deliver a lot of 1-1 support to members behind the scenes.  Please don’t forget that the members who put the most into DBN get the most out of it so please get engaged, ask for support whenever you need it or offer help others.

SME Restart and Recovery Grants scheme – an update

Last week we were so dismayed at the application process for this grant that we contacted Local MPs, Durham County Council and FSB North East on behalf of our members.

Richard Holden’s office contacted us with a swift response from NELEP.  And while the proposed solution is far from ideal, it will at least offer businesses an opportunity to apply and have a chance of obtaining a grant.  Thanks for jumping on this so quickly Richard and Doug, it’s greatly appreciated.

Here is their amended application process and timetable. Good luck if you go for it!

We are introducing a ballot system to manage applications to this fund, which means that all eligible businesses will have the equal chance of receiving funding by completing an expression of interest form, with successful candidates chosen by random selection.

Please be aware that while limited grants for the purchase of small equipment were available, these were fully allocated in previous application rounds and for that reason we can now only offer revenue funding to businesses.

A simple form will be made available for 36 hours for businesses to provide us with high level information – we’ll be asking for this information in phases and in individual local authority areas. There will then be a random selection where an agreed number of businesses will be asked to complete a more detailed Expression of Interest. We’ve taken this approach for a number of reasons, but mainly to ensure that its fairer and not first come first served and that there is less pressure on timings of completion.

The dates and times of the local authority ballots are:

South Tyneside
Opens: Friday, 25th September, 12 noon.
Closes: Saturday, 26th September, 23:59.

North Tyneside
Opens: Monday, 28th September, 12 noon.
Closes: Tuesday, 29th September, 23:59.

County Durham
Opens: Wednesday, 30th September, 12 noon.
Closes: Thursday, 1st October, 23:59.

Opens: Friday, 2nd October, 12 noon.
Closes: Saturday, 3rd October, 23:59.

Opens: Monday, 5th October, 12 noon.
Closes: Tuesday, 6th October, 23:59.

Opens: Wednesday, 7th October, 12 noon.
Closes: Thursday, 8th October, 23:59.

Opens: Friday, 9th October, 12 noon.
Closes: Saturday, 10th October, 23:59.

Durham (second round, if required)
Opens: Monday, 12th October, 12 noon.
Closes: Tuesday, 13th October, 23:59.


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