NBSL has been able to provide much needed grant funding throughout COVID-19 crisis – often supporting SMEs that needed to update their business models through the use of digital technology.

One Durham-based business has changed its digital offer to reflect the new online needs of its client base.  Langley Park-based Tayloredfit Physio provides physiotherapy and craniosacral therapy services, as well as Pilates and Yoga classes, and was looking to enhance its online presence.

Owner Vicky Smith said: “We initially wanted to review our existing website and add online booking functionality. As a growing business, every little helps with projects like this so we were very keen to access up to 40 per cent towards the costs of the website revamp.

"We applied online for the funding and following a quick phone call and initial meeting, our grant funding was approved very quickly.”

As the Tayloredfit website was about to go live, however, the company decided to close its doors just before the country entered lockdown.

Vicky added: "Our business is based almost one hundred per cent on face to face or physical contact, and we wanted to minimise risk for our staff and customers.

"We had to assess what parts of our operation we were able to take online. We started to offer virtual consultations and Pilates membership, running weekly classes using Facebook groups and video conferencing.  The speedy response we received from NBSL when asking if we could adapt the funding to suit the changing needs of our website to serve our clientbase was much appreciated – and provided the support we craved in this crisis.”

Tayloredfit Physio is run by Vicky with her husband Mark - both former NHS workers who have volunteered to go back and help out in the fight against Coronavirus.

The business has grown from just Vicky on her own in 2014 to a team of over 25, including three employed receptionists and a number of self-employed therapists who work from Tayloredfit's custom-renovated Baptist chapel on Langley Park Front Street.

Vicky said: "We also sell products such as reed diffusers and aroma burners at the chapel, so we managed to get those online too."

"Our whole business has been forced to completely pivot and we're so thankful that we had the funding from NBSL and that the website was already at a stage where it could quickly be adapted to help us make that transition."

With the North East Business Support Fund programme in its final year, NBSL are appealing for businesses to check the regional grants system for funding that could help businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.

John King from NBSL said, “We’ve made the application process simple, easy to understand and quick – taking around 15 minutes to complete online. Our team of advisers can handle all our contracting process virtually – minimising the impact of COVID-19.

“Many businesses are bringing in service providers to update their websites to reflect the current – and difficult – situation. Consultants are helping to revise operational procedures or provide HR support. All of which could be eligible for a grant of up to 40% of the total project cost”

As an organisation that has been committed to supporting North East businesses for over 18 years, NBSL have a fully functional online application service – with a dedicated team to support clients through the process.  Up to 40% funding is available for County Durham businesses towards projects costing between £2,500 and £8,000 (ERDF criteria applies) with the fund ending in December 2020.

For more information on how your Durham based business could be supported, click here www.nbsl.org.uk/durham-grants

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