Posted on:
14th June, 2020

LEPs take the initiative on COVID support

LEP have introduced a huge range of support Initiatives for people and businesses impacted by COVID-19 as part of their immediate support response to help local businesses. Below are some examples of the type of work already underway.

LEPs take the initiative on COVID support

Black Country LEP

  • The LEP is helping find new solutions and support for business amid Covid-19 disruption. Local companies are adapting to new business opportunities including firms who helped build NHS Nightingale, supply health equipment, and adapting to teaching online to a whole new audience.

Buckinghamshire LEP

  • The LEP made £2m of COVID-19 emergency funding available to support local businesses. The fund is administered by the LEP Growth Hub and provides immediate support for local businesses, whose cash-flow and future viability are impacted by Covid-19 and to support Bucks businesses switch operational practices and production schedules to support the local/national resilience programme.
  • The LEP also supported and helped launch a new programme of support aimed at helping Buckinghamshire’s tourism and hospitality businesses.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CA

  • The region has been chosen as a pilot area for a National Retraining Scheme launched by the Department for Education (DfE). Due to the number of people who have been impacted as a result of Covid-19, the Mayoral Combined Authority have brought the pilot forward to help people retrain and reskill to move into new roles.

Cheshire & Warrington LEP

  • The LEP are spearheading a campaign - #GettingStudentsOnline - urging business leaders to help support thousands of students from across the region who are without access to online learning during the Covid-19 lockdown.
  • Young people from across Cheshire and Warrington are using their time in lockdown to gain careers inspiration, meet employers and learn more about the different career pathways open to them as part of an initiative first online Careers Festival led by Cheshire and Warrington LEP’s Pledge team. The successful launch of the innovative Pledge Learn Live at 11am broadcasts has seen over 15,000 young people join so far. This success was quickly harnessed with the team delivering a careers day with Penketh High School, where 1,571 students attended the one-day event on 6th May.

Coast to Capital LEP

  • The LEP set up a £2m fund to provide grants to small businesses and social enterprises. It is anticipated that the fund will be able to help up to 400 organisations in the Coast to Capital area who are being impacted by COVID-19, particularly in sectors of local economy particularly impacted by recent events i.e: aviation, aviation supply chain, tourism, hospitality and leisure and the service economy.
  • Coast to Capital how the Growth Hub supported local businesses throughout the emergency phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Head of Services, Malcolm Brabon gives the details.

Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP

  • The LEP helped get furlough extension for seasonal workers. This vital local issue for Cornwall was highlighted by CIOS Leadership Board in a letter to the Chancellor. Thousands of workers in Cornwall are set to benefit from an extension to the cut-off date.
  • The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub is reporting a fivefold increase in phone calls and a fourfold increase in web traffic as businesses seek support through the coronavirus pandemic. To help with growing demand it has just appointed an agriculture expert who will also work with businesses in sectors such as food, fishing and mining, funded by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.

Coventry & Warwickshire LEP

  • The LEP has helped turnaround a local business to switch customers and boost supplies of equipment to hospitals and health centres.
  • Members of the new Citizens’ Panel set up to help guide the West Midlands’ recovery from Covid-19 have been putting forward their views. The group, which is made up of 36 residents representing the diverse make-up of the region, are spending this month (June) learning about the impact of coronavirus on communities, and will help guide what recovery plans should focus on.

Cumbria LEP

  • Cumbria Jobs Fuse is a new service which has been launched by Cumbria LEP to support regional employers and help those whose jobs have been affected as a result of the coronavirus.
  • Cumbria Activate Your Future is a new online resource launched to signpost and prepare Year 11 students and ease the transition between school and further education. The joint programme, established by Cumbria LEP’s People, Employment and Skills Strategy Group and sponsored by Hello Future, has been launched in recognition that the Coronavirus pandemic has been a particularly challenging time for students, and especially for those leaving school this summer looking to begin the next chapter of their education

Derby, Derbyshire and Nottingham, Nottinghamshire LEP (D2N2)

  • The LEP launched a campaign which is delivering significant results (PPE4NHS) since it was launched with business to get PPE to support health and care workers dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. These are transported to a local hub for local distribution. Latest figures show numbers surpassed 100,000 donations.
  • The D2N2 Growth Hub, in combination with its sister organisations across the East Midlands, is funding the RESTART programme designed to help businesses in the East Midlands return to operations.

Dorset LEP

  • The LEP is helping boost diagnostic testing facilities with £2.2m investment. It invested £2.2m local growth funding towards a ‘Histopathology Diagnostic Hub’ for Dorset at The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust the benefits of digitisation of diagnostic activities and the application of AI could lead to improved quality and reduced times of diagnosis.
  • The LEP has also teamed up with Crowdfunder and Enterprise Nation to support local small businesses in generating essential cash flow during the coronavirus pandemic.

Enterprise M3 LEP

  • Enterprise M3 LEP launched a new fund to support the recovery of town centres as part of Enterprise M3’s Economic Recovery Plan which includes the safe re-opening of high streets across the region.
  • The EM3 region is leading innovation to provide critical supplies for the NHS in the fight against COVID-19. BAE Systems, Airbus and McLaren have been working as part of the Ventilator Challenge UK to deliver additional ventilator capacity following a call from government.

Gloucestershire LEP GFirst

  • Since this Covid-19 pandemic began, the LEP is communicating the very latest information on support available from central Government to businesses in Gloucestershire. The LEP’s plans include; communicating emergency support to deal with the immediate economic implications and provide support and guidance to businesses through its Growth Hub network; analysing the economic shock; creating an Economic Recovery Plan; and building economic resilience.

Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP

  • Businesses in Greater Birmingham are invited to apply for funding as part of a newly launched grant programme. The scheme is designed to help organisations adapt their business models in reaction to the changing economic climate caused by Covid-19. The £2 million Pivot and Prosper Grant Fund has been launched by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and gives businesses the opportunity to apply for match funding up to £40,000.
  • The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has launched apprenticeship and employment triage services to help employers, apprentices and individuals seeking support in light of Covid-19. GBSLEP has worked alongside its partners to create a service to help employers continue training employees who previously worked on apprenticeships but have since been furloughed.
  • The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise (GBSLEP) has launched its first wave of business support schemes focused on resilience and recovery to aid local businesses in light of Covid-19. GBSLEP has worked alongside a suite of expert partners, including its local authority partners and several Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) to establish pilot projects which will support SMEs in key growth sectors, as well as independents and towns and local centres.

Greater Lincolnshire LEP

  • The LEP is supporting people who’ve lost their jobs due to COVID-19 pandemic. It’s working with Futures to provide support to individuals financially impacted by the crisis.
  • The LEP has established free online courses for businesses and workers on the Greater Lincolnshire coast as the economy begins to recover and move out of lockdown. The courses are being co-ordinated and funded by the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership and replace planned classroom courses which have had to be cancelled because of the pandemic.


  • Greater Manchester LEP gets £3m funding to Greater Manchester businesses battling impact of coronavirus. The funding brings vital additional capacity to existing Government schemes so more business in Greater Manchester have access to funding to meet the challenge of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Heart of the South West LEP

  • The Heart of the South West LEP has launched a virtual careers fair to help those affected by COVID-19 providing support to those who have been made redundant, or have been affected by the closure of employers in the region.

Hertfordshire LEP

  • The Herts LEP has teamed up with Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal to launch an initiative to help schools provide opportunities for students to interact with employers during the lockdown period through a new series of live webinars. The LEP’s Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal (HOP) is a dedicated channel for local people and employers setting out a raft of guidance and support measures including job vacancies by sector, and supporting people with careers advice.
  • The LEP has also launched a £3.28m COVID-19 support programme for local businesses to support them with immediate cash flow and business advice to enable them to diversify and adapt to the new environment post-lockdown and bounce back in the long term.

Humber LEP

  • The Humber LEP has set up a serviceHumber Jobs Fuse - to help those made jobless as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The service is helping people get back into employment while also supporting key regional employers with gaps in their staffing due to the pandemic such as those in the care sector.
  • The Humber Business Growth Hub is hosting a number of fully-funded, free to access online webinars offering businesses expert advice about reopening after Covid-19 and the steps to take to ensure their staff and customers stay safe. As part of the #GrowMySME scheme, the webinars will focus on businesses across; factories and warehouses, offices, remote working environments such as construction sites, and retail, leisure and hospitality.

Lancashire LEP

  • Lancashire LEP launched #AskForHelp campaign to support local businesses impacted by COVID-19. The partnership with local business is a prolonged campaign drawing together advice and essential information as well as expert comment and resilience examples and innovation to give urgent practical support to businesses.
  • The LEP’s Skills and Employment Hub has launched the Lancashire Skills Swap service to support the local business community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Leeds City Region LEP

  • Leeds LEP launched campaign with WYCA to help jobseekers & businesses get COVID-19 support. The campaign aims to help job seekers and businesses that access all the help available and to help meet a wide range of job vacancies currently available within Leeds City Region and businesses that are fighting to keep up with the new demands and challenges.
  • Leeds LEP enabled a local firm to secure funding to scale up their research and work into fighting the spread of germs to help support the national challenge and break the COVID-19 chain of infection.
  • The LEP is supporting businesses helping with critical supplies to NHS. A local mattress manufacturer received LEP financial support to increase production, enabling the company to ramp up manufacturing and urgently supply 12,000 mattresses to the new NHS super hospitals.

Leicester & Leicestershire LEP

  • LLEP launched Mental Health Productivity Pilots to support employers across Leicester and Leicestershire and the wider Midlands region during the current pandemic. Details
  • The LEP launched Future Me, a seven-week virtual careers programme to give young people the opportunity to gain encounters with employers from across the region, to help further their careers education despite the challenges of the ongoing national lockdown.

Liverpool City Region LEP

  • £180 million of investments in the Liverpool City Region’s economy that were made last year will be vital to driving the region’s post COVID-19 economic recovery. the Combined Authority’s 2019-20 Annual Review highlights investments in key strategic projects across the whole city region and priority economic sectors from digital infrastructure and advanced manufacturing to the Mersey Tidal Power scheme.

London Economic Partnership

  • The Mayor of London and LEAP announced the Pay It Forward London which is funded by LEAP and part of the London Growth Hub' s support offer. On there is a crowdfunding platform which offers small businesses across the city the chance to pre-sale their services during the coronavirus shut down.

New Anglia LEP

  • The LEP helped get face shields to NHS workers. Face visors to protect NHS and other healthcare workers during the COVID-19 outbreak are being made by a Norfolk business with support from New Anglia LEP in the form of a £100,000 contingency grant. The LEP also funded a local organisation with £10,000 towards materials for gowns and other PPE they are producing for hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes.
  • The LEP launched an initiative – The Big Small Business Check-In - to encourage everyone to check in with local small businesses to encourage them to apply for grant funding that’s available for them through Local Authorities.
  • A precision engineering firm which produces components for automotive and motorsport clients has been awarded a grant through the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s new Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme. Grants are available under the scheme which has been set up by the LEP to support short-term business resilience projects and longer-term recovery and diversification projects.

North East LEP

  • Crowdfund North East LEP is providing support to businesses, charities, social enterprises and sole-traders seeking to cope in challenging trading conditions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oxfordshire LEP (OxLEP)

  • OxLEP Business have partnered with the hugely popular PopUp Business School to help would-be start-ups in Oxfordshire to get their ideas off the ground.
  • The LEP is highlighting the work of the Life Sciences Cluster in fighting COVID, and is being used by DIT to build the national investment strategy as part of HMG’s recovery planning. It is part of a campaign they are running to showcase how Oxfordshire businesses and entrepreneurs have stepped up during the pandemic.
  • The LEP is looking to the future as part of its recovery planning and helped launch a campaign – Oxfordshire Open Thought - and is asking residents if the changes they’ve made during lockdown life could create a better future.

Sheffield City Region LEP

  • The LEPs Growth Hub is helping businesses in the Sheffield City Region area to recover from the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic by launching its Re-Start to Growth initiative which gives businesses access to experienced and skilled experts to help assess, plan and restart their business through an agreed programme of intensive support.
  • The LEP Growth Hub business advisors have been supporting companies, including SMEs, to switch production lines as part of a call to arms, asking firms to help make gowns, masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. They are providing guidance to ensure PPE is made to the required standards and their production efforts can be directed to meet local demand.

Solent LEP

  • The LEP is the first in the country to have immediately release urgent funds of £600,000 to be distributed to micro and small businesses in the Solent area, which make up 98% of Solent’s economy, through the ‘Pay it Forward’ campaign via Crowdfunder.
  • The LEP has launched a Rural Business Resilience Fund for the Isle of Wight. The fund looks to support the Isle of Wight economy by providing grants to rural SMEs which are looking to develop alternative ways of working, delivering products and services to the marketplace, marketing expenditure and other resilience initiatives.

South East LEP

  • The LEP has helped secure essential funding for training providers secured. The relief scheme responds to joint feedback from SELEP and national LEP Network for training providers during the COVID-19 crisis. Training providers are now able to apply to a new relief scheme to provide some of the funding they need to maintain a strong skills sector supply chain during this challenging time.

South East Midlands

  • SEMLEP is developing the economic recovery plan for the South East Midlands, ensuring attention is placed on rebooting the economy as quickly and safely as possible as lockdown eases. It is working with local councils and other public agencies, businesses, representative organisations, colleges and universities to assess how best to help businesses and local areas to restructure and adapt.

Stoke and Staffordshire LEP

  • The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP is working with partners to create a triage service to help those made jobless as a result of the coronavirus outbreak get back into employment.
  • Retailers and associated businesses across Staffordshire have an opportunity to see their company included in a special video project to promote local high streets as part of the #ShopSafelyInStaffs initiative form the LEP Growth Hub.

Tees Valley LEP

  • To ensure business owners and tradespeople were able to get the latest information on government support quickly and easily, the Mayor and the Combined Authority established the Tees Valley Business Support Helpline, a 24/7 helpline for companies across the region looking for support and advice during the pandemic. Since its launch the helpline has received more than 1,700 enquiries. More than 650 businesses and tradespeople currently open or operating have also signed up to the Buy Local Tees Valley website, which aims to connect local people with businesses that are still up and running through the pandemic.

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP

  • The LEP is working with the National Careers Service to create the Berkshire Redundancy and Redeployment Service in order to match those recently made redundant with new work in sectors experiencing a surge in employment demand.

The Marches

  • The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership is to inject near on £1.6m into the regional economy to support tourism and businesses affected by the coronavirus. It will be used as grant support for strategic tourism and business initiatives following consultations with the area’s business boards.

West of England

  • A new programme, Trading Better Online, has been launched by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to help small businesses improve their digital presence.
  • Senior figures from industry, education and local government have joined the West of England economic recovery taskforce, led by the Regional Mayor, Tim Bowles, to work together on a recovery plan to get the region moving safely again.

Worcestershire LEP

  • The LEP launched - ‘Worcestershire Job Match’ - a new service for all businesses across Worcestershire who have to make immediate changes to their workforce as a result of COVID-19 and for individuals who find themselves redundant or looking for work as certain sectors are like food, retail, logistics, care, and distribution face high demand.

York and North Yorkshire LEP

  • Businesses in North Yorkshire are being offered free subscriptions to a shopping website to help them trade during the Covid-19 crisis. The York & North Yorkshire LEP Growth Hub has invested in a community led shopping platform,, allowing local businesses to have free 12-month subscriptions to the site.