Welcome from WCC Strategic Director for Communities Mark Ryder
Hello and welcome to the March edition of Warwickshire Still Means Business.
I hope you are all keeping safe and well. I am sure we have all appreciated the first signs of spring that are showing themselves. Spring is always a time when people start looking forward, and perhaps more so than ever this year after what we have all been through in the last 12 months. With the vaccination programme rolling out across the county thanks to our brilliant NHS, and restrictions easing, there is certainly room for cautious optimism.
We must not get ahead of ourselves, however. It remains vitally important to continue to follow the Government guidelines and also to be aware that further challenges, including some new ones, remain in the weeks and months ahead. Nobody quite knows what the business landscape will look like as we emerge from restrictions and then post-Covid. Uncertainty will remain and in this edition of WSMB we outline some of the support that Warwickshire County Council and our partners will be offering in the weeks and months ahead.
Our Adapt & Diversify business support grant is designed to help businesses adapt to future challenges. Applications from the first round of this scheme have now been assessed, with 52 successful applications securing over £600,000 of grant funding. The second round will be launched in April and, recognising that some applications in round one were unsuccessful due to a lack of required supporting information, round two will provide additional support and guidance to help applicants submit the correct documentation. Further details will be available on our website shortly.
Throughout the last year, our business advice webinars have proved very popular and another series of webinars to support the business roadmap out of lockdown is on the way. Parallel to that will be our Build Back Stronger workshops devised by Warwickshire Skills Hub to support employers in welcoming their workforces back as restrictions ease.
All of us - employers and employees, businesses and customers - will face unique challenges personally and professionally in the coming months as life starts to resume some of the old normality. At Warwickshire County Council, we will do everything we can to offer support and smooth the way for businesses to move forward again. In this edition of WMB, you can read about our planned £300million Warwickshire Recovery Investment Fund.
Also in this issue, we welcome Sarah Windrum who contributes a Guest Column as she prepares to take over as chair of Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. You can also read about the excellent way in which businesses have embraced our new Inclusive Apprenticeships Scheme. And with the cricket season just around the corner, we report Warwickshire County Cricket Club's take-up of space at 1 Mill Street, in Leamington, the town where the great club was first formed at a meeting at the Regent Hotel back in 1882.
Please find all this and lots more in the March edition of WSMB. I hope you enjoy it.