- What this page is for
- Support from Durham Business Group
- Government info
- General toolkits and resources
- Employers’ resources
- Finance and support resources
- Marketing advice
- Suppliers’ resources
- Virtual networking opportunities
- Wellbeing resources
- Working from home tips
- Other interesting reading
As all businesses, including ours, adapt to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, there’s a lot to deal with – and a lot of information to digest – as we work hard, together, to ensure our businesses make it out the other side.
We’re fortunate, in our Durham Business Club and Executive Group members, to have access to some talented and well-connected people who are experts in their fields – including finance, employment, tax, wellbeing, and more.
We have already been sharing valuable information from our members via social media – on our LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook – but thought it would be useful to also pull all those links together in one place, grouped by category.
DBG vice-chair Graham Soult will be regularly updating this page with new information, predominantly supplied by our members, but also featuring important government sources where appropriate. If there is something you would like to see added to this page, contact Durham Business Group CEO Alison Gittins – we’ll be delighted to hear from you.
Last updated: 4 May 2020
Though our face-to-face networking events are curtailed for now, Durham Business Group is working hard to keep our members and clients informed, engaged and connected:
- Durham Office Services: Our Durham Office Services business is operating as near as possible to usual. We are continuing to offer our range of business support services – including telephone answering, registered office addresses, and mail handling – to existing and new clients. Contact Sarah on 0191 375 5700 for more details; we are currently able to offer special call and mail packages without the usual 12-month contract requirement, to provide maximum flexibility at this unique time.
- Social media: We are continuing to be active on our LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, sharing timely updates about how to navigate the current situation, as well as positive news from our members and clients. As always, members can tag or mention us if there is something they would like us to share. We also a LinkedIn group (open to anyone from the North East) and Facebook group (members only), where anyone can post their own updates, questions and thoughts.
- Virtual networking: We are helping to facilitate a weekly Twitter hour, #networknortheast, and hosting virtual networking events, exclusively for members, on the Remo.co platform – read more about both those here.
If you have any questions or concerns at this time, we are here to help – even if we don’t have the answer, we’ll know someone who does.
- COVID-19: support for businesses: The single most useful source of reliable information is the gov.uk website, which has a dedicated section for businesses affected by COVID-19. It includes full and regularly updated details of the measures that the government has announced to support people and businesses, including, for example, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“furloughing”), Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, small business grant funding, and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
- Public health information from Durham County Council: Covering the “Stay home, save lives” message, household isolation, social distancing, mental health, keeping active, and more.
- Institute of Supply Chain Management – COVID-19 Toolkit: A useful resource from Newcastle-based DBC member IoSCM, “designed to help us in our careers, home lives and businesses as we progress through the coming months”. Free registration required.
- North East Growth Hub: guidance for businesses and employers on COVID-19: A toolkit providing businesses with the latest advice, guidance and support from government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including: financial support available for businesses; official guidance for employees, employers and businesses; advice on effective home working; caring for staff, suppliers and customers.
- Ask the Expert: Protecting your business through coronavirus: Recent events have changed the way we live and do business. In this timely and useful column, Stephen Adair, Partner of DBC member Broad Chare Partners, offers expert advice to business owners during this challenging period.
- Guidance to employers and businesses in County Durham: Useful links from DBC member Business Durham – the economic development arm of Durham County Council – providing information on national measures, guidance for businesses and employers, local business support organisations, and finance.
- Coronavirus news from The HR Dept: Regularly updated resource for employers, by The HR Dept. Recent additions include updates to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and relaxation of the rules on carrying over annual leave.
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – FAQs for employers: DBC member Muckle LLP answers the questions that employers need to know about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – also known as “furloughing” – announced by the Chancellor on 20 March.
- CJRS – update by Harlands: DBC member Harlands reports that HMRC’s CJRS online system will go live in 20 April, with payments made to businesses four to six working days after submission.
- Advice on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: More on CJRS, this time from DBC member BHP Law, which is offering a “fixed fee Coronavirus Advice Package”.
- Implications for employers of Coronavirus Act 2020: Article by DBC member Sintons Law about the Coronavirus Act 2020 that provides emergency measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including in relation to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and volunteer leave.
- Position of reservists: Darren Rhodes, from DBC member the North of England Reserve Forces’ & Cadets’ Association, shared an update for employers who might be concerned about reservist employees being called up to support the national emergency.
- IR35 deadline delay: A useful explainer from DBC member Baldwins Accountants about the one-year delay to IR35 (off-payroll working) rule changes – postponed until 6 April 2021 as a result of COVID-19.
- COVID-19 FAQs by Harlands: North East accountancy firm and DBC member Harlands is regularly updating its COVID-19 FAQs page here. It helps make sense of the government announcements so far, with particularly comprehensive coverage of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILs).
- Direct tax ideas to improve cashflow: The tax team at DBC member Baldwins have identified ideas that could help businesses generate a tax refund or defer tax payments in order to assist with cashflow.
- COVID-19 mortgage repayment holiday: A useful article in Financial Reporter magazine, shared by DBC member Chris Cullen at Lunaria Finance, covering the mortgage holiday announced by the government for both residential and buy-to-let mortgages.
- Marketing your business during unprecedented times: Useful reflections from Karen Robinson on how DBC member Jacksons Law Firm is adapting to keeping in touch with clients and contacts in a world where face-to-face meetings and events are no longer possible.
- Advice for suppliers and customers: A useful post from DBC member Sintons addressing what suppliers and clients can do if they are unable to meet contractual commitments in service sectors such as leisure, travel and events management.
- Covid-19: Does your Force Majeure clause protect you? As the social and economic impact of COVID-19 continues to make itself felt around the world, DBC member Swinburne Maddison explores the mechanics of a typical Force Majeure clause, and how this might be of assistance to businesses who are no longer able to fulfil their obligations under existing contracts.
- Contractual obligations – Force Majeure: The Corporate and Commercial Team at DBC member Jacksons Law Firm have also put together a useful article on contractual obligations and Force Majeure clauses.
- DBC Member Virtual Networking: We are using a fun online platform called Remo.co, which replicates the experience of a face-to-face DBC event by featuring interesting short presentations and member announcements, while also having members sitting at virtual tables and moving around the room! These events are exclusively for DBC members for now – keep an eye on your email inbox, the website homepage and our member-only Facebook group for the latest invitations.
- Network North East: Durham Business Club, CannyInsights.com and others in the North East business community are facilitating a weekly Twitter hour – #networknortheast – every Tuesday between 2pm and 3pm. Just head over to Twitter, follow the hashtag, and join the chat! Though many DBC members are already taking part, the Twitter hour is open to everyone.
- Managing workplace mental health: Useful tips from DBC member Alison Schreiber from The HR Dept on how employers can look after their own – and their employees’ – mental and physical health during the coronavirus situation.
- Sophia’s Survival Guide to Art, Culture, Heritage: If you’re missing your in-person culture fix, this handy document by Sophia Stovall from DBC member Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums is a brilliant guide to cultural destinations (now gone virtual), collections, online courses, recommended reads and culinary favourites.
- Wild@Home by Durham Wildlife Trust: Each week, DBC member Durham Wildlife Trust is setting out wildlife-themed activities on its website to keep young (and old) minds active. Use the hashtag #dwtwildathome on social media when you share your own reactions and results! You can also read more about the initiative in our news article here.
- Personal resilience when working from home: LinkedIn article by DBC member – and resilience and leadership coach – Karl Beckett, with tips on staying active, focused and motivated when working at home.
- Tips from John Atkinson: John Atkinson, from DBC member NBSL, shared this short video with tips for structuring your day and finding new opportunities.
- Laptops for remote workers: In response to the disruption caused by the high demand, short supply and long lead times for new laptops, DBC member Prodec is assisting companies by offering refurbished laptops from leading manufacturers including HP, Dell and Lenovo.
Business support funds that were in place prior to COVID-19 are continuing to operate remotely – NBSL paid out £118,000 in grants to over 60 businesses in March 2020 alone – and are well worth looking at if you are wanting to develop and grow your business.
- North East Business Support Fund by NBSL: Managed by DBC member NBSL, the NEBSF offers “project grants and masterclasses for businesses across the North East”. Support varies depending on which local authority area your business is based in; businesses in County Durham can potentially “access up to 40% funding for business improvement projects costing between £2,500 and £8,000 (maximum grant of £3,200)”, which can be used for “almost any type of business support that will help your business to grow – from marketing and web design to financial or human resources planning”.
- Digital Drive County Durham: Businesses based in County Durham can access grants of up to 40% towards the cost of digital technology projects. In the present situation, this can include helping businesses purchase digital equipment and consultancy to enable them to work remotely, including, for example, laptops, mobile devices or cloud-based software.
- Wear Business magazine: Positive business news from around Wearside and County Durham, updated daily, courtesy of DBC member Wear Business.