Boost, Lancashire’s £6m business growth hub is refocusing its service to give worried business owners a place to turn to during the current Coronavirus pandemic.

The #AskForHelp campaign includes a dedicated helpline to advise companies in Lancashire about key business-related issues and connect them with experts from the public and private sector.

A dedicated hub has also been launched on the Boost website, giving the business community a place to go for the latest Government guidance, webinars and expert articles from Boost partners.

The aim is to provide practical guides and information to navigate the national business support offer during this time.

County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, Lancashire County Council, said: “We’re all facing unprecedented uncertainty in the coming weeks and months.

“Boost has a successful and well-established focus on growth and start-ups, but in the current situation we’ve changed our focus to support businesses, as they feel the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“There’ll be advice available on how to support your business, but it’s also vital to think about the wellbeing of your staff who are still working.

“And we’ll keep updating our information as the situation changes, to pick up any changes to Government advice.”

Boost is Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub and is led by Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership), supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The #AskForHelp service is available to all Lancashire business owners. They can call to discuss all business issues related to the coronavirus outbreak including resilience, cash flow management, HR, tax and remote working.

Boost’s team will advise where possible, as well as directing businesses to expert advisers across Lancashire.

Steve Fogg, chair, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “Since 2013, we have helped more than 6,000 business grow, but growth is now on the back-burner for the majority of Lancashire companies.

“Boost sits at the heart of the Lancashire business support community and we have access to hundreds of specialist advisers. We will use our unique position and will completely refocus our support efforts to help businesses get through the coming weeks and months.

“All companies will face the effects of this pandemic. That includes the strain on operations and finances but also the need for business owners to safeguard the mental wellbeing of their staff and also themselves. It’s vital that those in Lancashire don’t feel like they are alone. Pick up the phone to our advisers and ask for help.

Businesses can access the #AskForHelp helpline by ringing 0800 488 0057. They can access the #AskforHelp hub at boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk/askforhelp/.

Boost has received £3.65m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

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