A message of hope from Chamber CEO Rob Johnston


These are truly extraordinary times.

When we launched our Coronavirus Toolkit in February, we called it “the toolkit we hope you’ll never need”.

At that point, there were hopes that the coronavirus outbreak might be contained. It wasn’t and our toolkit has since been accessed 7,500 times.

Do keep checking it. It brings together government guidance with information from professional bodies, such as ACAS and the CIPD, and accountancy and law firms. You can apply for grants and loans and register for webinars. It’s a one-stop-shop for the information you need to stay afloat. We update it daily.

We’ve also launched Chamber Connect to put people who aren’t working because of coronavirus in touch with employers who need temporary staff.

Our Coronavirus Survey has been completed by more than 500 Cumbrian businesses and we’re using the findings to lobby government to plug gaps in support. If you haven’t done the survey yet it remains open here. We’d value your input.

Increasingly, our focus is on helping businesses plan ahead as coronavirus restrictions are eased over the coming months.

We know there will be no sudden return to normal.

Social distancing rules are likely to be with us for a long time, certainly until an effective vaccine is widely available.

And who is to say how the experiences of lockdown will change consumer behaviour permanently?

Businesses will have to adapt to survive and prosper.

We can help you do that. The Chamber’s Cumbria Business Growth Hub continues even though our offices are closed.

Our advisers are working with clients by phone or on Skype rather than face-to-face. Much of this support is free to eligible SMEs.

The advisers can help you plan, assess options and new markets or new routes to market. They can help you access grants, for example to buy in consultancy services or alter manufacturing processes. There’s so much we can do.

I’d urge you to start having these conversations now. You can make contact by emailing info@cumbriagrowthhub.co.uk and we’ll take it from there.

Rest assured that, whatever the future holds, the Chamber is here for you.

Kind regards


Chief Executive, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce