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Portsmouth City Council Updates

Miguel Blasco Martin


The last few weeks have been an incredibly difficult time for all of us as Covid-19 has reshaped how we live, work and run our businesses in a way few of us would have imagined at the start of the year.

Things have been changing rapidly and there have been numerous announcements about funding, grants and advice for both businesses and individuals to help you through these uncertain times.

As a department of Portsmouth City Council we understand the pressures you are currently facing and the likely uncertainty of where you need to go to find all the financial support or advice that is available to you. We have therefore compiled a list of organisations and websites with more information and eligibility on funding and grants, as well as online platforms that offer practical advice to both businesses and individuals.

To stay up to date with U.K. Government advice on coronavirus, visit the GOV.UK website.

We also wanted to share how, within the Culture, Leisure and Regulatory Services department we are trying to keeping engaged with the general public; and have also highlighted a couple of examples from our destination partners. We would be delighted to hear from you about any initiatives you have implemented to keep connected with your customers so that we can share these in future newsletters.

And lastly, we have included links to a number of surveys currently being undertaken where you can have your say on how COVID-19 has affected your business or work and whether you think there is enough being done to support you.

Government Aid

The government are currently providing two grants available for both the self- employed and businesses:

Small Business Grant Fund: All businesses in England receiving small business rates relief with a rateable value of less than £15,000 will be eligible for a grant of £10,000. Details of your small business rates relief award can be found of your bill.To read the eligibility and apply for the grant, please click small business grant fund.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund:

Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that have a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000, in line with the eligibility criteria.

Eligible businesses with a property rateable lower than £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000, in line with the eligibility criteria.

To read the eligibility and apply for the grant, please click retail hospitality and leisure grant.

Support for Charities and Social Enterprises

On the 8th April, the Chancellor of the Exchequer also set out an extra £750 million coronavirus funding for frontline charities.

For more information please click frontline charities funding or visit the Charity Bank website that has a whole range of specific information for charities and social enterprises.


Should you wish to contact Portsmouth city Council’s business support line,please call:

023 9284 1641 (open 7am – 7pm Monday to Friday) or visit


Advice and Aid for Individuals


Ipse is working to help the self-employed through the coronavirus. They are providing latest updates and advice, webinars and are available to answer any questions you may have. To access these, click ipse coronavirus hub.

Arts Council England

They are keen to support artists, creative practitioners and freelancers during this time of crisis as best they can. They have sourced £20 million for financial support available to individuals to enable them to better sustain themselves and their work. Apply for this grant, arts council funding.

There are two rounds for all applications. You can only apply for one of these rounds.

Round one opens 9th April 2020 and applicants must register on Grantium by 13thApril in order to make an application before the deadline of 12pm 16th April.

Round two opens for applications 16th April 2020 and applicants will need to register on Grantium BY 27th April in order to make an application before the deadline 12pm 30th April.


They are helping grantees through the current crisis. They are working alongside other funders to support efforts to bolster the voluntary sector and public sector as it responds to the outbreak. The Nesta website has many blogposts and weekly updates helping you stay up to date.

Help Musicians Financial Hardship Fund:

Eligible musicians are able to apply for a one-off payment of £500 through an online form. Musicians are encouraged to apply if they are suffering significant financial hardship and will be provided help quickly. For more information, click help musicians.


Firstsite are providing free artist activity packs to keep artists inspired. The packs include contributions from UK artists such as Antony Gormley, Gillian Wearing, Idris Khan and many more. It is completely free to download, simply fill in the form.

Virtual Culture

As many museums, theatres and exhibitions have closed due to COVID-19, CNN have made a virtual page available to enable you to explore the world of culture from your own home. Their top 5 picks for this week are available on their cnn style.


Advice and Aid for Businesses

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce

With the recent pandemic declared by the Government surrounding Covid-19, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce have set up a dedicated page on their website bringing the latest information and a “go-to” for business advice and links.

The Hampshire Chamber team providing regular updates of developments and are fully prepared to advise businesses in the area in whichever capacity they can. If you require any information please email or visit their website.

Business Hampshire

Business Hampshire is providing a central hub of advice surrounding: grants, tax, VAT, banking, statutory sick pay along with much more. To visit their website, please click business Hampshire.

EM3 Growth Hub

The EM3 Growth Hub have a dedicated helpline for businesses and can provide one to one support, advice, access to information, webinars and other support for businesses. Please click EM3 for more.

The Solent Growth Hub

The Solent Growth hub are working with several partners to identify additional support for businesses in the Solent region, including additional funding and advice. On the Coronavirus support hub you will find a page dedicated to the support being offered.


Spektrix is an online converter which converts refunds into donations to the business during this challenging time. The tool is available to all cultural organisations, regardless of the ticketing system you use – it’s free to use, and no data is stored/ accessed. So far they’ve had a great response, with one organisation taking over 250 donations in lieu of refunds in just a few hours.

Visit Britain

Visit Britain are offering tailored guides online to help businesses, specifically in the tourism and hospitality industries, cope with the current situation they find themselves in.

They also detail financial support along with grants worth applying for. Visit Britain has an extensive network, supporting both employers and employees through the COVID-19 crisis. The Destination Management Resilience Scheme has been created to provide financial support for hundreds of thousands of small-to-medium businesses in the tourism sector. Visit Britain intends to work alongside the scheme to provide advice and guidance.

All of this information can be found on the Visit Britain website which is being regularly being updated.

The Creative Industries Federation

They are now extending free membership offers to 6 months in order to help creative individuals and businesses in this time of crisis. Should you wish to sign up, visit their federation website.

Arts Council England

The Arts Council have £50 million available to organisations who are not in receipt of regular funding from the Arts Council. You can apply for a maximum of £35,000. In order to apply for this grant, click arts council

There is also £90 million available for National Portfolio Organisations. This is to be used to reboot creative work and alleviate financial pressures. To apply for this grant, click national portfolio.

There are two rounds for all applications. You can only apply for one of these rounds.

Round one opens 9th April 2020 and applicants must register on Grantium by 13thApril in order to make an application before the deadline of 12pm 16th April.

Round two opens for applications 16th April 2020 and applicants will need to register on Grantium BY 27th April in order to make an application before the deadline 12pm 30th April.

Creative Grow Southampton

This business is designed to help businesses reach their goals and offers a range of services based around mentoring, networking and training. Everything is planned and designed to help take creative businesses to the next level. The majority of the work can be completed online, with advisors at the other end of the phone or email ready to help.

Businesses can use the spare time they have expanding and developing their business plans and strategies through this platform. Click creative growth to visit their website.


Theatres and other cultural venues recognised as charities by HMRC can claim Gift Aid on any donations as opposed to payments for goods or services. These charities can claim Gift aid on the value of the tickets for cancelled events if patrons have agreed not to be refunded and agree for the same amount to be treated as a donation. The charity will need to make sure the patrons have made a Gift Aid declaration for their donations to qualify. All information gathered from Parliament UK

Platforms offering advice:

It is important to establish a reach past physical contact to allow your usual custom to continue. This could be managed through a website or social media presence.

Understandably, technology does not come as second nature to us all, the Coronavirus Tech Handbook is an aid for online event planning and collaboration.

MoneyMagpie is available for those needing financial advice online. The site is free to anybody to access and provides detailed advice for businesses struggling given the current situation. You can also get similar advice on the Portsmouth City Council website.

Turn2us have an online calculator to help you work out which grants and funding you are entitled to as a business or if you are self-employed. To access this please click benefits calculator.

The Money Saving Expert

This website provides advice for businesses in all types of situations. It provides many current updates involving bills, travel, money saving, banking and tax. The site has a page dedicated to Coronavirus, to view more click MSE.


Culture and Leisure Service update

Now more than ever, we need to connect with each other during this crisis. Whilst our museums and libraries remain closed, staff having been working hard to deliver experiences we can all enjoy from our homes. Below are some examples for you to explore; we have also included a couple from our destination partners. And if you would like to send us what you have been doing we’d be delighted to hear from youand will share some of them in the next newsletter.

Visit Portsmouth is the go to website for anybody wanting to visit the city, and find out what there is to do, to see and where to stay. As our attractions are currently closed, click on virtual Portsmouth to take a walking tour around town, see visual displays from our museums, and discover links to lots of interactive activities or live performances courtesy of our destination partners.

The D-Day Story has a three-part virtual tour of the museum available, allowing visitors to get the same experience from home. They are also doing a weekly Facebook live stream answering questions for an hour surrounding the museum and the story of D-Day.

Portsmouth Museum is currently home to a dodo skeleton, one of only 12 thought to be left on earth. You can learn about the display and take a virtual tour of the exhibition on YouTube as well as more videos about other collections.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard offers a daily live stream from the mizzen mast of HMS Warrior where you can check out the stunning views of Portsmouth Harbour and Gosport, and the Mary Rose has a huge selection of Tudor-themed craft activities for plenty of family fun.


Portsmouth Libraries are extremely active on social media. They have been sharing storybook recipes, activities, competitions, mental health support, audio book access, rhyme time and story readings.

Hotwalls Studios are posting regularly on all of their social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, showing the fantastic and varied art on offer at the studios.

And if you want some creative inspiration head to the latest news section on Portsmouth Guildhall website where there are loads of creative ideas to do at home; links to world-class performances and the chance to get involved in live sing-alongs!

Have your say…

There are many surveys dedicated to collecting data from across the sector to help policymakers understand and respond to the ongoing crisis of COVID-19 and how it is impacting businesses and the self-employed.

Here is a selection of live surveys where can share your opinions:


They are collecting case studies from freelancers who are not covered by the support that has already been announced by the government for self-employed workers.

Creative and Cultural Sector Coronavirus Impact Study – UK

Collecting data with the ambition to create an independent record of the projects, productions and contracts the sector stands to lose, or have already lost, as a direct result of COVID-19.

The Musicians Union – UK

Collecting data to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the work of musicians including financial impact and loss of opportunities.

Creative Industries Federation – UK

Surveying creative businesses and freelancers from the 27 March on the financial impact of COVID-19 and whether UK Government interventions are sufficient.

To take part in more UK and International surveys, visit the Policy and EvidenceCentre’s website here for a longer list.

If you would like to design your own business survey, use this guidance from the Policy and Evidence Centre: ’10 tips for designing business surveys to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on the creative industries.’



The current government advice surrounding COVID-19 is as follows:

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work, this is only if you cannot work from home
  •  If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home.Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you do not have symptoms.For additional details on current government advice, please visit: or

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