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Barking and Dagenham College launches support scheme for local businesses

Yvonne Kelly, Principal and CEO Barking & Dagenham College, with members of her team (credit: Barking and Dagenham College)

Barking and Dagenham College has launched a scheme to help local businesses overcome the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The COVID+ Business Support Recovery Plan is particularly focused on supporting small companies within the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors which have been hardest hit by the outbreak. 

“Inspite of Government support it has been estimated that 1/6 of businesses will not be viable once lockdown restrictions are lifted because of ongoing social distancing regulations and unemployment is set to increase,” said Tim Carey, Business Enterprise & Skills Development Lead at the College.

“This really is about trying to find those businesses and identifying their support needs through consultation in order for them to survive.” 

The project will give companies the chance to take part in a range of activities, such as digital skills development webinar sessions which will be run by career and industry representatives. The scheme will also help them with financial health checks, strategy building and offer guidance on developing an online presence.  

Part of this support will be provided by the college’s students, who have a variety of skills ranging from carpentry and bricking laying to webdesign and corporate branding. 

The college is also making office space available for hire alongside commercial units at the front of the college which can be used to promote and sell products. 

Tim explained the college is also aiming to help individuals who are looking to start a business despite the current public health crisis. 

“We realised this has given a lot of people the opportunity to think about what they want to do and how they can gain that economic independence. 

“We are looking to provide them with the skill set to start-up. There is a major drive towards tech start-ups and particularly in the creative industry where they can put those skills to the test and grow.”

Barking and Dagenham College is challenging big businesses to get involved by sponsoring business owners and providing mentoring and support. 

“The idea is really an extension of our College‚Äôs ethos of fostering an entrepreneurial climate to help gain financial independence and prosperity,” said Yvonne Kelly,Principal and CEO of Barking & Dagenham College.

“These are unprecedented times and we have given considerable thought to what we could do to help our local community not only survive but thrive and our new scheme is our answer to this.”

You can find out more about the new scheme here

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