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Somerset Council – Business Newsletter 5 December 2023

Business Newsletter

5 December 2023

Latest News

£20m for Somerset’s ToneWorks and Tone Dale Vision

Toneworks ground view

Somerset Council is delighted to hear that the Government has awarded nearly £20 million for ToneWorks and Tone Dale project.

Somerset West and Taunton Council previously submitted bids to Round 1 and 2 of the Levelling Up Fund, from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Communities. This recent announcement has been awarded based on the Round 2 submission.
The £19,987,663 will provide an opportunity for Somerset Council working in partnership with stakeholders and the community, to transform and sustainably regenerate the nationally significant heritage site at Toneworks and enhance associated land for community use.

The ambitious plan for Tonedale will restore and save a nationally important heritage site and a much-loved historic landmark.

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Get a Somerset Mobile Boost! £Voucher Scheme to Reopen in January 2024

image of person holding phone with social media

Connecting Devon and Somerset’s scheme to improve indoor 4G mobile phone coverage in the region has been extended due to ongoing demand.  More than 1,200 homes and businesses across Somerset, Devon, Torbay and Plymouth have already benefited from the scheme.

The Mobile Boost programme was due to close to new applications this month, but a £250,000 injection of additional funding through the Growth Deal with the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership means it will now continue until March.

The initiative offers vouchers worth up to £1,200 towards the cost of a mobile signal booster from a registered supplier. The value of the voucher is dependent on the type of technology most suitable for the premises and suppliers can advise on the three options of equipment that are available through the scheme – a 4G booster or two models of “signal repeaters” which repeat the outdoor signal indoors.

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Net Zero Business Taunton Launch: Thursday 25 January at Taunton RFC

IMage of a lightbulb with a leaf within it

As COP28 continues, Taunton Chamber is looking ahead by inviting local businesses to come and join the journey as we create a shared space for Taunton businesses to collectively make a bigger impact on net zero through support and collaboration.

Whether you are at the start of your net zero journey or have already made some changes to how your business operates, this event is for you. Meet like-minded local business people, discuss ideas and actions and decide what future talks and workshops would help you make more progress – all in a friendly, interactive and collaborative environment.

This event is kindly sponsored by Initiis – Vodafone Partner for Somerset and SRD Technology UK – enterprise level information and communication technology solutions. Supported by: Balanced Energy, Somerset Council, Taunton Chamber of Commerce and Taunton Town Council.

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£5.2m Bridgwater Docks Restoration: Have Your Say

Bridgwater Docks

Bridgwater businesses and communities are invited to have their say and input into exciting proposals to restore and regenerate Bridgwater Docks, as part of the government’s Levelling Up programme to transform Bridgwater Town Centre.

The first of a series of public consultations will take place on Wednesday, 13 December at the Bridgwater Sea Cadets Hall, Seaward Drive, Bridgwater, TA6 3FJ, from 3:30pm-6:30pm, and all are welcome to attend.

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Innovate UK Fast Start Net Zero Living Digital Grants from £25k-£50k

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Innovate UK is offering UK registered small and micro businesses a share of up to £2 million in grants to develop data driven digital applications solving challenges in delivering net zero.

This funding is from Net Zero Living and Telecoms Technology Missions Fund programmes.

Your innovation must lead to new products, processes or services that are significantly ahead of others currently available, or propose an innovative use of existing products, processes or services. It can also involve a new or innovative business model.

Please note applications open 2 January and the competition closes 24 January at 11am.

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Somerset Planning Consultations & Local Plan News…

New housing in Yeovil

Businesses are being encouraged to sign up to receive all the latest planning policy consultations and news updates.  The Planning Policy team has been receiving your feedback on new Biodiversity Net Gain guidelines and the Creating Places for People consultation.

To stay up-to-date and to subscribe, you can view the latest newsletter:

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New Rail and Alternative Road Freight Fuels Strategies for the South West

Image of rail engine

Peninsula Transport, the Sub-National Transport Body for Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, Plymouth and Torbay, has published two important new strategies outlining how rail and alternative fuels for road freight underpin the region’s future economic growth while helping to meet climate goals.

The rail strategy comes at a time of massive change on the South West’s railways, with passengers making new travel choices following the COVID-19 pandemic. Increases in home and remote working have led to a drop in commuting by train. The Rail Strategy highlights the vital role the peninsula’s railways will play in decarbonising the transport network.

The Alternative Fuels for Road Freight Strategy for the South West additionally examines the opportunities and challenges associated with the transition to alternative fuels.

Understanding the barriers that businesses in the transport sector face when it comes to switching to alternative fuel vehicles, and identifying the actions required to support them as they make this change, is crucial on the path to net-zero compliance.

The strategy identifies how best to support and influence this uptake of alternative fuels such as hydrogen, gas and electric power.

*Image courtesy of Geof Sheppard see license

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Developing a Fair Economy Grants Programme

Woman taking money out of her purse

Grants of up to £200,000 are available to UK registered charities, social enterprises and private companies for projects that address the root causes of economic inequality, including poverty and climate breakdown, and help create an economy that works for everyone. The Friends Provident Charitable Foundation has four application deadlines each year.

The next deadline for applications is at 5pm on Monday 15th January 2024.

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Rural Support and Wellbeing for Farming Communities: Winter Webinar Series

Farming Support

The Rural Support and Wellbeing project aims to raise awareness of the rural support services available to the farming community.  Throughout the winter, they are running a series of winter wellbeing webinars.  These are held on the first Thursday of every month, from October 2023 to April 2024.

The next event with a focus on the cost of living and rural support will be held online on Thursday 7 December from 6pm-8pm.

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Accelerate Growth: Investor Secrets for CEOs and Owner-Managers

Access to Finance SW people around a workdesk

A new event has become available on the Access to Finance SW platform, intended to supercharge business growth.

The webinar: ‘Accelerate Growth: Investor Secrets for CEOs and Owner-Managers’, hosted by VCMO on Wednesday 13th December from 10 am – 11 am will provide CEOs and business owner-managers with the opportunity to dive deep into the world of strategic marketing, venture capital and private equity.

The session will welcome a distinguished panel of industry experts, including Paul Mills, CEO & Founder of VCMO, Ben Cooper, Co-founder of Angel Investors Bristol, and Rob Nicholls, CEO of Rob Nicholls Consulting & Angel Investor.

Key topics will include:

  • How external investment can unlock growth
  • Marketing for investment attraction
  • Engaging with investors
  • The pre-investment journey and what to expect.

This webinar is suitable for those new to external investment or refining their marketing strategies to attract investment.  Please note you do just need to join the free platform to view and register.

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Business Support

Somerset Businesses: Get Set for Digital Transformation

Somerset Business Start Up with SBA

The Federation of Small Business have teamed up with Somerset Council to support a digital leadership course run by Cosmic and funded by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership. This digital business programme helps small business owners to think about how you could incorporate digital technology into your business to replace or improve operational processes, procedures and systems. Participants will develop a strategic understanding of how digital systems can help your business to grow and work more efficiently.

The course consists of three sessions running weekly from 9.30-1pm. Two sessions will be held in person, and one will be online. Further 1-2-1 and mentoring sessions are also available to help business owners focus on a specific project for your own business.

The following dates have been confirmed-

  • Yeovil Innovation Centre on 5th, 12th and 19th December 2023.
    Register here.
  • Wiveliscombe Enterprise Centre on 31st January, 7th and 14th February 2024. Register here.
  • Wells Enterprise Centre on 6th , 13th and 20th June 2024. Register here.
  • Chard Enterprise Centre on 17th and 24th September and 1st October 2024. Register here
Find out more

Business Events

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