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News and information for West Oxfordshire’s businesses - 07 Apr 21

Grants update

Businesses that we believe are eligible for the new Restart Grants should have received an email from the Council yesterday. The Government has asked us to collect additional information and to undertake further checks on each business before issuing the grants. 

Yesterday's email sets out the extra information we need. Please ensure you respond with everything that is asked for. While the Council will do everything it can to pay the money as fast as possible, recipients should be aware that the additional checks required for these grants mean that payments will not start arriving in bank accounts until around 23 April at the earliest.

Businesses that think they are eligible for Restart Grants but that did not receive an email from us will be able to apply via a form on our grants web page from next week.  Please check the eligibility criteria for the Restart Grants at

As reported in last week's Business Matters, the grants team is also working on an extended Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme and we will publish details of this shortly. In the meantime, any businesses eligible for ARG for the period covering November 2020 to March 2021 should apply this week - applications for this scheme will close at 5pm on Friday 09 April.
Business grants webpage

Reopening checklist - are you ready?

We have developed a checklist for businesses to follow to make sure they are ready to reopen to the public. It covers the key things to make sure you are Covid secure along with some things you may not have considered like running your taps to avoid legionella. 
Download reopening checklist

Reopening pack now available 

It goes without saying that we are all looking forward to businesses reopening on 12 April. We have produced a range of posters and floor stickers which will help with social distancing and essential practices such as wearing a mask and hand washing. These materials will be available for businesses to help themselves to at the following locations:
  • Rapture in Witney Woolgate Centre
  • Carterton Town Council
  • Chippy Larder in Chipping Norton Guildhall
  • Wake Up to Woodstock
The pack of materials is also available to download from our website. Alternatively, should you need them to be posted to you directly, please email stating which posters / stickers you need.
Download pack of reopening materials

Don't forget your pavement licence 

Pubs, cafes and restaurants are only able to serve outside when they open on 12 April. Please remember that if you want to place furniture on the pavement, you need a licence to do so. The application process is simple and the licences are free.
Apply for a pavement licence

Recovery Loan scheme

A new Government backed Recovery Loan Scheme has been launched to help businesses of any size access loans and other kinds of finance so they can recover after the pandemic and transition period.

Loans are available through a network of accredited lenders listed on the British Business Bank’s website. This scheme will be open until 31 December 2021.

Recovery Loan Scheme

Rapid Testing available for staff

You can still order free rapid lateral flow tests to test your employees twice a week in the workplace if you have 10 or more employees. Testing kits would be delivered to your workplace for staff to take away. You can do this if you cannot provide on-site testing.  You must register by 11:59pm on 12 April 2021. If your business is closed or you cannot provide tests now, you should still register so you can order tests in the future.

As a reminder staff can access testing via their local rapid testing centre which can be looked up on the Government website. The West Oxfordshire test site is in Carterton at Brownes Hall.
Register for COVID tests for your employees

OxLEP breakfast webinar

OxLEP Business will be delivering a webinar for those individuals or businesses that are not sure of the type of support that OxLEP offers. It will provide a general overview of the current and future programmes designed to support all types of businesses. The webinar will run from 08:30 to 09:15 AM on Friday 23 April
OxLEP webinar registration

Energy improvements for manufacturing businesses

Energy Solutions Oxfordshire is hosting an event covering energy improvements for manufacturing businesses. Topics discussed in the event will include energy use, cutting running costs and reducing environmental impact. The event will be delivered on Zoom from 11:00 to 12:00 on Thursday 22 April.
Energy improvements for manufacturing businesses

OxFutures Innovation Grant

OxFutures is currently looking to fund low carbon innovations that are being developed by Oxfordshire-based businesses. Grants of up to £25,000 are being offered on a 50:50 match basis, with the other half coming from the business. The deadline for applications is Tuesday 08 June.
OxFutures Innovation Grant

OxFutures Energy Efficiency Grant

The OxFutures is also offering free energy audits to SMEs to identify ways of reducing energy bills and carbon emissions. The grant is designed to support with the installation and equipment costs identified with the audit and it will cover a quarter of the total of up to a maximum of £10,000.
OxFutures Energy Efficiency Grant

Other helpful organisations

Several business groups are coming up trumps with help and advice for businesses. The ones below are good but do also check the trade association for your own sector.

Keeping up to date

Please forward this email to others to whom this might be useful and encourage them to sign up to further updates.  Please note that you can access previous editions of this newsletter too.
Sign up for this newsletter and see previous editions
COVID-19 Latest information and advice
The council Coronavirus web pages have updates about business support, communities and leisure, bins and recycling, elections and council meetings, planning, building and council news.
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West Oxfordshire District Council, Elmfield, New Yatt Road, Witney OX28 1PB.

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