Sheffield business helpline takes nearly 10,000 Covid-19 calls

Sheffield Council’s business support helpline has taken nearly 10,000 calls since the Covid-19 pandemic started.

Friday, 26th February 2021, 12:30 pm

As of January, 9,807 calls were made on the 0114 224 5000 helpline service that offers advice and support for businesses.

It was discussed in a recent meeting of the economic and environmental wellbeing scrutiny committee.

In the meeting Edward Highfield, director of city growth, said: “There are high, high volumes of calls into business Sheffield asking for information, signposting advice or help with grants.

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“They lead to referrals to one-to-one business advisers who are able to sit down and really try to understand what the business is up to and lend practical support like managing cash flow and understanding the legal closures and government guidelines.

“We have scaled up massively to help deal with this unprecedented demand and pressure on businesses.”

The average number of calls answered between May and January was 90.8 percent and there was an average wait time of just under one and a half minutes.

April, May, November and January saw the highest number of calls to the service with more than 1,000 made in each of those months.

The biggest spike in calls was in April, following the announcement of the first lockdown, when 1,750 calls were made.

There was also a total of 4,280 referrals to one-to-one calls with business advisers between March last year and January this year.

This service provides support with grants, furlough and job retention schemes, social distancing and practical advice on pivoting and diversifying the business and cash flow.

For more details on the support available, visit https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/coronavirus-business

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.