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Almost 4,000 use Boost's #AskForHelp campaign

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Lancashire County Council and its partners are leading the fight to support the county’s business community through the coronavirus pandemic. More than 3,900 people have used services available through Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub, to manage the effects of the coronavirus on areas of business including finances, cash flow, staff, remote working, supply chain issues and diversifying into new markets.

As part of Boost’s #AskForHelp campaign, launched in response to the coronavirus outbreak, more than 500 businesses have received direct support or advice from a Boost adviser. A further 3,400 people have accessed Boost’s #AskForHelp online coronavirus support, including a dedicated hub which pulls together key Government and expert business information and updates.

County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, Lancashire County Council, said: “Every business in Lancashire has faced a range of significant challenges in recent weeks. “It’s these companies that keep the wheels of the Lancashire economy turning and employ local residents. "We recognised early on that businesses would need support during the Coronavirus crisis.

In response to the concerns of the business community, we've repositioned Boost's entire service to provide help to any Lancashire business that needs it. “It’s heartening to see so many people benefitting and getting their business back on track. We encourage all businesses to ask for help. "The county council will continue to listen to the needs of businesses, as priorities inevitably shift again over the coming weeks and we will tailor our support accordingly. We will stand by, with and for our Lancashire businesses.” Boost is Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub. It is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

In late 2018, Boost was given £6m funding to continue for a further three years from January 2019. £2.35m came from Lancashire County Council, as well as the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Growth Deal, with a further £3.65m funding coming from the ERDF. The #AskForHelp campaign was launched in response to the coronavirus on March 23, using Boost’s central position in the Lancashire economy to encourage businesses in the county to seek support.

As part of the campaign, Boost has repositioned its service from growth support to resilience support. Companies can ring the Boost helpline on 0800 488 0057 for support on any business issue related to coronavirus or receive up-to-date government and expert advice through the dedicated #AskForHelp hub. Other support includes a new ten-point checklist businesses can use to help them to stay strong through the pandemic and a survey to help the county council to understand the concerns and needs of businesses.

Boost is also delivering a range of webinars which are available to all Lancashire companies and tackle key business issues associated with the coronavirus. Andrew Leeming, programme manager for Boost, said: “So far, we have had conversations with more than 500 businesses through the #AskForHelp campaign and every day we are offering guidance and support to a wide range of Lancashire companies on key issues related to coronavirus.

“For some, thoughts may be turning to bouncing back, while others are still coming to terms with how the changes will affect their operations and finances. “Our advice remains the same to all businesses: ask for help. Ring our helpline, visit our hub or complete our survey to help us identify key concerns and issues. Let us help and support your business through the unique challenges it is currently facing.”

Businesses can call Boost’s #AskForHelp helpline on 0800 488 0057 or visit the #AskForHelp Hub - www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk/askforhelp.

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