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BUSINESS | Grants available to support businesses

Paul Hinkins

An £800,000 programme which could help businesses as they plan their recovery from the coronavirus lockdown has been launched across the Marches.

Grants of up to £10,000 are available under The Marches Small Equipment Grant (SEG), which is open to small and medium-sized companies across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

Programme manager Caroline Cattle said the grants would meet up to half the cost of installing new equipment to help SMEs create new jobs, boost productivity or launch new products and services.

She said the grants could be particularly useful as businesses began drawing up and implementing recovery plans in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and Marches Growth Hub – is part of a £3million funding package which also includes the Marches Building Investment Grant (MBIG).

Caroline said: “Businesses across the region are now starting to think about how they will recover from coronavirus and we think the Small Equipment Grant (SEG) can play a vital role.

“Grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 are available as a contribution of up to 50 per cent to help companies buy the equipment they need to recover from the impact of the last few months and innovate and expand, creating new jobs and products.”

Paul Hinkins, chair of the Marches Growth Hub, said the new funding came at a vital time and addressed a gap in provision.

“Up until now we have not had a scheme which offered grants to businesses for equipment under £10,000 and we know from our own research how much interest this will generate, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.

“I would urge any company to get in touch with Caroline’s team or their local growth hub to see how we can help them.”

Councillor Ellie Chowns, Herefordshire Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Economy and Skills, said: “As a council and as an administration, we are committed to doing all we can to help our economy flourish. The Marches Building Investment Grant has helped so many local businesses to expand, but this Small Equipment Grant will really help small and medium sized enterprises access funding on a slightly smaller but no less significant scale. We are pleased to have been involved and encourage anybody who is interested to get in touch.”

Councillor David Wright, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Economy, said: “This scheme will provide much-needed help to business at a time when it is urgently needed. We would encourage any eligible business in the borough to take advantage of it.”

Items purchased under the scheme – which primarily covers B2B businesses –  must exceed £500 in value and have a life expectancy of three years. Eligible projects must lead to the creation of at least one part time job within six months or the creation of a new product or service to be used by other businesses. 

Because of restrictions imposed by the ERDF, the scheme is not available to retail businesses, restaurants, drinking establishments and fast food takeaways, online retail or rental businesses, farms involved in primary production, or local social welfare facilities.

Herefordshire Council is the accountable body for the scheme. Full details are available from the programme team on seg@herefordshire.gov.uk or by calling 01432 261511.

The Marches Growth Hub Herefordshire can be contacted on 01432 261758 or email business@herefordshire.gov.uk

NEWS | Farmers share disappointment as local MP’s vote against Agricultural bill

Source: The Farmers Weekly

The Agriculture Bill had its third reading in parliament on Wednesday (13 May), which saw MPs take a historic vote on a number of important amendments.

Because of the coronavirus lockdown many MPs are working from home, and this was the first ever virtual vote to be held in the House of Commons.

The most important piece of farming legislation to come before parliament in decades included an amendment tabled by Neil Parish, Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, which sought to protect UK farmers from low-standard food imports.

The clause would have prevented future trade deals from allowing food into the UK not produced to the standards required of farmers and processors within the UK.

But it was defeated by 328 to 277 votes – a majority of 51 – after failing to receive the support of the Conservative government, despite several previous commitments to safeguard our farming industry from cheap food imports, produced to standards that would be illegal in the UK.

In total, 183 Labour MPs, 44 Scottish National Party (SNP) MPs and 11 Liberal Democrat MPs, as well as Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, voted in favour of Mr Parish’s amendment.

Despite priding themselves on being “the party of the countryside”, only 22 Conservatives voted to support Mr Parish’s defeated amendment, which included former Defra secretary Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet.

PHOTO | Tuesday’s photo of the day

Andy Chadd has done it again. He’s treated us to this spectacular view of the River Wye and Hereford Cathedral from underneath one of the arches of the Old Bridge.

Join our Facebook group ‘Snapshots of Your Herefordshire’ today and join hundreds of photographers from across the county – https://bit.ly/36xnuUX

NEWS | Police arrest 18 year old after appeal

Thank you to everyone who shared an appeal to locate Kasper Caban from Hereford.

An 18-year-old man was located and arrested by West Mercia Police on Friday 22 May.

NEWS | No further COVID-19 related deaths at hospitals in Herefordshire

NHS England has confirmed that as of 5pm yesterday, no further deaths as a result of COVID-19 had been recorded at hospitals in Herefordshire, meaning that the total number of deaths at hospitals in the county remains at 48.

The news is positive, however some deaths can take several days to be recorded.

NEWS | KFC set to reopen in Hereford tomorrow

KFC is set to reopen its Hereford outlet on Wednesday with a Drive Thru and Delivery service only.

The temporary opening hours are expected to be 12pm-9pm. There will be a limited menu available for the time being.

TASTY TUESDAY | Find out if you’ve won our ‘Your Herefordshire Hamper’ ….

It’s Tasty Tuesday and we are delighted to announce the winner of our ‘Your Herefordshire Hamper’ prepared for us by Local E Sourced.

The lucky winner is …..

PAMELA GREEN

Please get in touch with us by emailing info@yourherefordshire.co.uk to collect your prize! 

If your business would like to take part in our ‘Tasty Tuesday’ initiative to support local businesses, please get in contact with Stefan by emailing enquiries@yourherefordshire.co.uk 

NEWS | Important information on snakes from Herefordshire Wildlife Trust

Planning a walk in the beautiful Herefordshire countryside this afternoon?

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust have some important information to share about our native slitherers 🐍

“Seen a snake? Grass snakes are commonly sighted at this time of year, often in gardens, and also on our nature reserves. This is the largest snake found in Herefordshire, growing up to 85 cm long. It is olive green with a yellow and black collar. It is very beautiful and NOT venomous.

“Adders do also occur in the county but numbers are very low and they are usually found on heathland or in woodland. They are venomous but usually hide if disturbed and rarely bite.

“If you’ve seen something small and grey or brown, this is most likely a slow worm [pictured] – not really a snake at all but a legless lizard. Harmless and a great predator of garden pests!”

More info 👉 www.herefordshirewt.org/wildlife-explorer/reptiles

WHAT’S ON? | Feral Productions release River Song Trilogy

Families are invited to cosy up with Feral Productions this half term and escape from reality with a series of free audio recordings. Inspired by the River Wye, The Riversong Trilogy tells the story of the jewel in the Herefordshire landscape. 

Described as “Absolutely enchanting” by audiences, Riversong will be released in stages throughout the half term week. From Monday 25 May listeners will meet the characters along the journey from source to sea in The Beginning. Part two, If These Stones Could Speak will be available from Wednesday 27 May and follows the journey of a little stone, launched into the river as he sinks slowly down towards the river bed. The final instalment Back To The Source will be released on Friday 29 May and explores the heritage of the river from prehistory to the present day using a richly woven musical sound track.  

All three pieces are born from original work developed with Herefordshire primary schools Lord Scudamore Academy and Stretton Sugwas Primary. 

“We are so pleased to be able to offer The Riversong Trilogy to the community for free this half term.” says Feral Productions Artistic Director, Estelle van Warmelo, “At a time where the arts are struggling to survive, they are needed the most in order to keep communities connected, provide an escape from reality and stimulate imaginations. It was such a joy working with local children to learn about the River Wye and to create this trilogy together. I hope it makes people smile as much as us.” 

Feral Productions is a Hereford based theatre company that aims to connect people with place through site-specific productions. 

Directed by Rachel Lambert with original music by Livi van Warmelo and script by Estelle van Warmelo, Riversong is a charming work that will fill the heart of all audiences. Ideal bedtime listening, the series provides the opportunity for families to come together to lose themselves in story that quietly invites the listener to discover the people, nature and history of the River Wye and rivers across the world. 

Each instalment will be premiered on YouTube and will be available to access for free for 7 days, audiences can access the links via Feral Production’s Facebook page or website. 

Feralproductions.org

Facebook.com/FeralProd

NEWS | Drug drivers arrested by police

Police in Hereford have arrested two more drivers in the city after failing roadside drugs tests.

Both drivers tested positive for cocaine with one of the drivers said to have been swerving from one side of the road to the other.

Source: OPU Herefordshire

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