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Welcome to the Growth & Skills Hub

We are here to help you access the right support and training opportunities for your business.

Need a helping hand but are unsure which way to turn? We are two projects working hand-in-hand to help businesses realise their potential.

We can also help you deal with the impact of Coronavirus in these unprecedented times.

Call one of our friendly, locally based experts to talk about what support is available to you and your business.

01209 708660 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri)


GOV.UK has a wide variety of coronavirus business support information, but here are some headlines on the support available locally & nationally:


Grant funding

Local Restrictions Support Grant

Businesses that pay business rates and are required to close in England due to local or national restrictions are eligible for the following:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month

Full details on eligibility criteria and how to apply here.

Additional Restrictions Grant

Those eligible for a grant of up to £3,000 include businesses that haven’t previously received any financial support and meet the following criteria:

  • Businesses that have been severely impacted by the latest restrictions
  • The business provides a main income to that owner
  • Businesses with fixed ongoing costs – this could be rent or mortgage payments, loans or lease agreements for capital equipment, rental of workspaces (such as at salons), harbour fees. It is not to support wage or labour costs
  • Business owners who are resident in Cornwall
  • We will also consider applications from businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000 which have received a payment through the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme, but not previously received any other Government coronavirus grant support.

Full details on eligibility criteria and how to apply here.


Loan Funding

The government is extending four temporary loan schemes to 31 January 2021: As a result, more businesses will now be able to benefit from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Future Fund.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, supports primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance . Full details...

How to apply: The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website, however you should approach your own provider – ideally via the lender’s website. You may also consider approaching other lenders if you are unable to access the finance you need.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders will be given the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to ten years if it will help businesses to repay the loan.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme for Small Business

The Bounce Back Loan (BBL) scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. Full details....

The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Businesses will be given the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years through a new Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system. Interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays will also be available to businesses.

If you already have a Bounce Back Loan but borrowed less than you were entitled to, you can top up your existing loan to your maximum amount. You must request the top-up from your existing BBL Lender by 31 January 2021. 

How to apply: Businesses can access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.  For more details on how to apply visit the British Business Bank website


Self-employment income support scheme 

Self-employed individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus can apply for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant. 

The Government is continuing its support for self-employed individuals by extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant (SEISS). 

The SEISS Grant Extension provides critical support to the self-employed in the form of two grants, the first covering the three-month periods from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021. The Government will provide a taxable grant covering 80% of average trading profits in November and 40% of average monthly trading profits for December and January.  This will be paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits and the payment for Nov-Jan will be capped at £5,160 in total.

The second grant will cover the period from February to April and will be 40% of average monthly trading profits.

People can make their claim  based on their Unique Tax Reference number. HMRC has assigned eligible self-employed individuals a specific date to apply on and this can be checked on HMRC’s online checker at any time. People will not be able to apply before their claim date but can make a claim after that day.

If you are unable to apply for this scheme, you may be eligible for Universal Credit

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

This scheme has been extended until 31st March 2021. 

For claim periods running from 1 November 2020 to January 2021, employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The £2,500 cap is proportional to the hours not worked. Full details....

The government will review the policy in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.

Job Support Scheme 

The Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on 1 November 2020, has been postponed as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended until 31 March 2021.

Find out more on the Job Support Scheme here.


Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

This scheme is for employers. You can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP if:

  • you have already paid your employee’s sick pay (use the SSP calculator to work out how much to pay)
  • you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes

How to apply: There is an online service for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.  

Sign up to a HMRC webinar about the support available to help you and your staff.


Kickstart Scheme 

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021.

Find out more about the scheme here.


Pension Advice 

Automatic enrolment and DC pension contributions: COVID-19 guidance for employers from The Pensions Regulator.

VAT cut for tourism and hospitality

The temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors will be extended to the end of March 2021.  

VAT deferral ‘New Payment Scheme’

The government will give businesses which deferred VAT due in March to June 2020 the option to spread their payments over the financial year 2021-2022. Rather than paying in full at the end of March 2021, businesses will be able to choose to make 11 equal instalments over 2021-22. All businesses which took advantage of the VAT deferral can use the New Payment Scheme. Businesses will need to opt in, but all are eligible.

HMRC will put in place an opt-in process in early 2021.

Self Assessment payments 

You can set up a payment plan to spread the cost of your latest Self Assessment bill if:

  • you owe £30,000 or less
  • you do not have any other payment plans or debts with HMRC
  • your tax returns are up to date
  • it’s less than 60 days after the payment deadline

You do not need to contact HMRC if you set up a payment plan online. Call the Self Assessment helpline if you’re not eligible for a payment plan or cannot use the online service.

Self Assessment Payment Helpline
Telephone: 0300 200 3822
Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm

Time To Pay

HMRC have scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities. 

If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 08000 241222 for practical help and advice.

Sign up to a HMRC webinar about the support available to help you and your staff.

Local Restrictions Support Grant

Businesses that pay business rates and are required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.

Details on how to apply have not yet been released but you can see more details about the grant here.

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The government has introduced a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority. Full details...

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

A business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year has been introduced. Full details...

Contact Cornwall Council on 0300 1234 171 for more details on these schemes.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is inviting applications for grants to help ports or harbours impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and to provide health and safety equipment for fishing vessel owners.

MMO has re-purposed the balance of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and allocated £500,000 to projects for ports or harbours and £300,000 to fishing vessel owners or licence holders for health and safety improvements.

Grants of up to £100,000 each are available for existing projects that are aimed at mitigating impacts of Covid-19 at ports and harbours and bringing benefits to the local area. Applications will be assessed and judged on a competitive basis with grants awarded to those best meeting the criteria and aims of this fund. The closing date for fully formed applications including all required documentation is 29 November 2020.

Awards of up to £50,000 each are available for health and safety improvements on board fishing vessels. This fund is open now and applications will be assessed and awarded on individual merit as and when they are received, until the fund is fully committed.

The fund criteria is available here

The Department for International Trade can advise on:

  • smooth clearance of products with customs authorities
  • intellectual property (IP) and other issues with business continuity
  • export plans and exploring market opportunities
  • finding new routes to markets
  • dealing with agents and distributors
  • finding alternative suppliers
  • selling online and updating your digital (online) presence

It is critical that employers take steps to keep workers and visitors safe. By following the 5 steps for working safely, along with sector-specific guidance, employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19.

NHS Test and Trace does not change existing guidance that employees should work from home wherever possible.

It is vital that employers play their part by:

  • making their workplaces as safe as possible (where working from home is not possible)
  • requesting that workers self-isolate if they have been asked to do so
  • supporting their workers when in isolation

Although this may seem disruptive for businesses, it is less disruptive than an outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace, and far less disruptive than further social and economic restrictions.

Learn more here.


We’ll work with you on a one-to-one basis to uncover the skills your business needs, and introduce you to training to get results. 


We work with local businesses to find the right guidance and support to help their business work smarter, develop and grow.

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