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5th Jul, 2022

Boost for Covid-hit hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses in Warwickshire

HOSPITALITY, leisure and tourism businesses in Warwickshire are being offered help to bounce back from Covid.

A £557,000 contract to help the county’s smaller businesses in these sectors has been given by Warwickshire County Council (WCC) to Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

The contract, with £320,000 of WCC funding supplemented by a further £230,000 of European Regional Development Fund money, will allow the Chamber to implement a range of support through to April 2024 to boost the sector and help small businesses take advantage of a potential rise in staycations.

Project Warwickshire will provide a package of help across the sector, including one to one advice, networking and a range of masterclasses.

The project will support businesses to seek and access grants and funding, as well as co-ordinating a series of networking events and webinars to share good practice and links.

The tourism, leisure and hospitality industry was among the hardest hit sectors when the country went into lockdown in 2020.

Tourism previously played a vital role in the county’s economy – annually bringing in some £858million, equating to 6.7 per cent of the county’s total economic value.

Warwickshire’s tourism sector employed 22,123 people in 2019, equating to eight per cent of Warwickshire’s total workforce.

Many small businesses were supported through the crisis with the Government’s furlough scheme as well as a series of grants and business support schemes. Among these was WCC’s Survive, Sustain and Grow programme which awarded over £400,000 of recovery grants to businesses.

Project Warwickshire will involve partners, including Shakespeare’s England, to look at the future wants and needs of the sector’s previous, current and potential customers and how businesses can best be advised to make changes, such as increasing their digital presence.

The project aims to engage 300 businesses, supporting 1,200 jobs, safeguarding 100 and creating a further 50.

WCC economy spokeswoman Coun Kam Kaur said: “There has been money available to businesses through the Government’s Restart grants and there has been other short-term support available through the county council and our partners.

“Project Warwickshire takes us beyond that point and will help small businesses to establish themselves in the changing market place so that they can do more than just get by but flourish, offer employment opportunities, particularly to our young people, and get back to the point where they were making such a significant contribution to our local economy.”

Keely Hancox, operations manager for Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, added: Our advisors are able to offer practical advice, technical support and that all important sounding board for business owners within this sector. The aim to support businesses in their recovery, enabling them grow and thrive post pandemic.”

Helen Peters, Chief Executive of Shakespeare’s England, said the project would identify businesses which would benefit from support.

“In doing so we will ourselves have the opportunity to provide additional employment at the same time as ensuring that this sector that has been so affected by Covid-19 can re-emerge in a better and more sustainable position than before the pandemic struck.”

For further information, email the Chamber on chamberbusinessprograms@cw-chamber.co.uk or call 02476 654321.

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