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WEST SOMERSET TOURISM NEWSLETTER
May 2021

Welcome to the West Somerset Tourism News. The aim of the newsletter is to let you know about opportunities, local events, training and other information that will be of relevance to your business or information you might want to pass on to your customers.  We're continuing to focus on Covid-19 support for you and your business, especially as the lock-down measures are starting to ease.
If you have anything, tourism related, that you think should be included or want to give feedback, please email us at Minehead Information Centre: minehead.visitor@hotmail.com
 

In The News


HTAP - Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership - FREE
Digital On-line Training Programme
The first in an exciting series of free business support webinars with others planned for the autumn we bring you:
 A QUALITY REOPENING GUIDE - IS YOUR BUSINESS READY?
The one hour session will walk through the considerations that need to be undertaken by businesses in preparation for the proposed re-opening of the sector on 17 May 2021.
All businesses in the visitor economy are encouraged to attend. Following the seminar, participants will have access to re-opening risk assessment documentation and planning template and will also be invited to join the Visit Exmoor/Visit Somerset Associate Member Programme. There are two webinar dates available:
Friday 7 May 2021 at 2.00 p.m.
Register here
Thursday 13 May 2021 at 11.00 a.m.
Register here

Covid Advice from the Government
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Covid Support and Advice from Somerset West and Taunton Council
Quick guide for opening businesses safely - see here
Community Renewal fund Somerset: Applications are now being invited for this new funding opportunity, launched by the government in the Budget in March. The funding runs for one year and is intended to pave the way to the Shared Prosperity Fund due to be launched in 2022.
Somerset has the chance to bid for up to £12m of funding.  The County Council is the lead authority for Somerset and will be responsible for inviting, assessing, prioritising and submitting bids to government. 
Applications are invited from partners (including, but not limited to, businesses, voluntary and community groups, education and training providers, and district councils) for bids which must be submitted to government by 18 June 2021. Project proposals must be submitted to Somerset County Council by 10.00am on 10 May 2021.
The Fund aims to support people and communities across the UK most in need to pilot programmes and new approaches, and will invest in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment.  See here for info.

For other information from SWT, see here

Food and Drink Mapping Work 2021
SWT and SDC are commissioning the services of a specialist, agency to help in providing research support to a new project to support the food and drink sector and ancillary businesses locally. For more Information: Click here

FREE Training
To support our local businesses to get ready after Covid restrictions are  lifted, SWT, West Coast 360 and Skill Up West Somerset are pleased to offer FREE training to employers, their staff and anyone interested in working in the hospitality and leisure industry. These courses are for West Somerset residents whether you are returning to work after furlough, wishing to gain more skills or looking to start a career in this sector.  See here for details.

Covid-19 Business Support Grants
https://www.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/business-rates/covid-business-support-grants/

Covid Support and Advice from Somerset County Council: 
https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/#latest

Minehead Coronavirus Support Group
See FB page:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/807174249776431

Redundancy Support for Employers and Employees from Somerset West and Taunton Council
https://www.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/working-with-business/response-to-redundancy/

Visitor Economy Support Programme (VESP)
Visit Exmoor, Visit Somerset and Tomorrow’s Tourism along with the five Councils in Somerset are working together to deliver FREE business support for Somerset Visitor Economy Businesses. This scheme will fund FREE support services to visitor businesses, focusing on the impact of Covid, business resilience and growth for accommodation, retail, high street, food & drink, creative industries, heritage, visitor attractions, activity providers and outside visitor spaces.

To sign up to receive this business support, register on the Visit Exmoor/Visit Somerset link here.

FREE Training from Cosmic
A package of free training and business advice is being offered to retailers in Devon and Somerset.  Online Workshops are running through the month. These include digital skills training and digital tourism training.  See here for information.

Heart of the South West Growth Hub
A selection of support available:
Now open - SME Brexit Support Fund!

Businesses can apply for up to £2,000 through the SME Brexit Support Fund to pay for practical support, including training and/or professional advice.  Open to businesses with up to 500 employees and no more than £100 million annual turnover.  See GOV online for details.
Need some support in going digital?
Through Digital Boost, you can receive free mentoring, workshops and courses to help you understand digital technologies and the potential impact on your business. 
Learn more about Digital Boost here.  Applications close 30 June.

Business West: Start up Support Package.
If you’re in Somerset and thinking of, or have already set up your business as a start-up, but are struggling with some of the more daunting aspects, we can help! 
With our Pre-Start and Start-Up Support Package, you’ll have everything you need to get the groundwork nailed and your first customer on the books.
The support is delivered as an array of easily-digestible workshops by specialists which each cover a different area of your business to ensure that you don’t miss any of the important stuff.  To find out more information: Click Here

Cornerstone Mentoring - FREE
Cornerstone uses a network of volunteer mentors, who are experienced business people, to give you an independent, free-of-charge view of your business, to help you to identify and address key issues and to develop a strategy for growth.  See here for website.

Somerset Chamber of Commerce
Somerset Chamber of Commerce continues to engage with businesses from all sectors across Somerset, holding events, lobbying policymakers and acting as the voice of business locally, regionally and nationally.
Support includes the following:
Events
Kickstart Scheme
Hinkley Supply Chain
Action for Business
Quarterly Economic Survey

Somerset Skills and Learning
Take time to consider if your business could benefit from an apprentice or trainee. New, improved employer incentives mean you could get a welcome cash boost as well as fresh new talent! Plus, we're excited to showcase our brand new Level 3 qualifications - and this is just the beginning. There are more to follow in the next few months including Management, Counselling, Mental Health, Advanced Digital Skills, Supporting Teaching & Learning in Schools, Childcare and Principles of SEND.  For more information and featured courses and workshops: Click Here

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB): 
Free Webinars:  See here
Skills Hub: See here

Carbon Reduction Business Grants
Businesses in Somerset can apply for a carbon reduction grant of between £500 and £1,000 to help improve their carbon footprint. To apply, businesses must be based in the county of Somerset.  This scheme is open to small, medium and large business including unincorporated businesses.
Application deadline is the 30 June 2021. Further details are available here.

New Government Scheme: Help to Grow
Take your business to the next level with the Government's new Help to Grow programme.  Aims to support medium sized businesses to learn new skills, reach customers and boost profits. The programme offers two distinct packages delivered through online learning platforms, 1:1 sessions with mentors and a peer network.

  • Management - improving business performance and growth potential.
  • Digital - online advice and money off software to save time and reduce costs.

See the website for information and registrations.

Information from Exmoor National Park
New Exmoor Explorer Walks - we are delighted to be able to spread the word about our new range of 10 shorter length Explorer Walks. The self-guided walking routes take in different aspects of Exmoor’s distinctive landscape and history. Each is accompanied by OS mapping plus a short video available at exmoorwalks.org.
Visit our National Park Centres: all now open 7 days.  Publications available: 
Exmoor Visitor 2021
New Welcome Leaflets 
Driving Routes
Explorer Walks (£1 each)
Astronomers Guide https://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/stargazing
Covid Impact - Visitor Economy Business Survey Results
On average, through the year, Exmoor tourism businesses in 2020 compared to 2019:
  • were operating at 53% of their capacity when open.
  • received 49% of their visitor figures.
  • received an average 50% of their visitor income
You can read a useful summary of the findings here or the full report here.
For information/support for tourism providers, see here.

Brexit: New rules are here
The UK has left the EU, and the Brexit transition period has ended. There are new rules for businesses doing business with the EU from 1 January, and you need to take action now. EU Transition Information from Somerset West and Taunton Council
https://www.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/working-with-business/brexit/

Shop Somerset Website

Aims to put the spotlight on Somerset’s independents and connect the community of Somerset and visitors to the County, with local businesses via our new website 
and interactive map listing service.  If you own or work for an independent business then we'd love to hear from you through our registration form. 

Exmoor Coaster Bus Service
There are plans afoot for a new service from First bus - Exmoor coastal bus service - to  be launched 17 May in line with step 3 of the reopening. Full timetable details awaited but expected to involve two branded vehicles.  Some services (maybe all) will run from Doniford / Watchet, before the traditional route of Minehead – Lynmouth.  Watch this space.........

Minehead BID up-date

Minehead Gift Card has been launched as part of the town centre recovery plans.  All types of businesses across Minehead are eligible to be a part of the new, free gift card programme, including retail, leisure, hospitality and services.  To find out more and see who is registered, see here.
 
New Minehead Visitor Guide – Minehead BID using the Emergency Town Centre Recovery Fund awarded by Somerset West and Taunton council have produced a new visitor guide for Minehead. Over 30,000 copies of the A5 visitor guide will be distributed across the country.  They will also be available locally and copies can be obtained from Minehead Information Centre.
 
Minehead Shoppers Guide 2021
This has now been printed and is ready for distribution.  Again, copies are available from Minehead Information Centre.

To contact any of the Minehead BID team and find out more about its work, please visit www.mineheadbid.co.uk/team

Information from Visit Britain
Please see the website for the latest tourism-related news and information for UK tourism businesses on the outbreak of COVID-19, including: 
  • Clarity for accommodation and Step 2 of the reopening roadmap for businesses in England,
  • Restart grants guidance update
  • Additional restrictions grants
  • Regulations set out that pave the way for restrictions easing from 21 June in England
  • Measures to support the reopening of high streets and seaside resorts in England
FREE Business Recovery Webinars - see here.
For the latest COVID-related news, see here.

English Tourism Week 22-31 May 2021
VisitEngland is proud to lead the annual English Tourism Week campaign celebrating our diverse, exciting and vibrant sector, and showcasing the quality, range and value of English tourism to stakeholders. The week provides an essential opportunity to raise awareness of the sector to key stakeholders including MPs, with VisitEngland working to support English destinations with political engagement nationally, regionally and locally, and the recovery of the sector.  For more information, see here.
 
What’s on in West Somerset
Is your event on the appropriate visitor website? www.mineheadbay.co.uk,  www.lovewatchet.co.ukwww.visit-watchet.co.ukwww.porlock.co.uk,www.visit-exmoor.co.uk or www.visitsomerset.co.uk
 
Visitors love to find out what’s going on in the area before they arrive and local residents also use visitor websites to plan their leisure time.  To get an advert listed, please send details in an email to the appropriate website, to include: what it is, when, where, cost and contact point for more information.
West Somerset attractions and small outdoor events are reviewing their reopening in 2021 with revised hours and new protocols to keep our visitors safe and happy. Please check the attraction’s website or phone to get the latest update.

SOMERSET DAY - 11TH May
For a downloadable pack, see here.

English Tourism Week 22-31 May 2021
For more information from VisitBritain see here.
 

MINEHEAD

West Somerset Railway: Steam trains start running from 22 May, however it is a limited service; no steam trains will be travelling to Minehead station until July.  See website for latest info.

Dunster Castle:  Parkland, garden, pop-up cafe, shop and car park open daily.  Booking is required. Castle open from 17 May.  For latest updates see here.

Minehead Museum is planning to open from 17 May 2021.

Subject to Covid restrictions, the following events are planned for 2021:

31 July & 1 Aug: Thundercat Races
11 & 12 Sept: 1940s weekend
25 & 26 Sept: Minehead Triathalon
2 Oct: eat:Minehead
13 & 14 Nov: Minehead Running Festival

Minehead Story Walks: Updated in 2020, there are six free walks people can access via the link https://minehead.storywalks.info/

Maritime Mile Heritage Trail: A free heritage interpretation trail, open air gallery and augmented reality displays, including free downloadable quiz and app, are waiting to be discovered along Minehead sea front starting opposite Butlin’s Holiday Centre https://www.mineheadbay.co.uk/maritime-mile

West Somerset Farmers Market: featuring local produce every Friday on The Parade, Minehead. 8.30 – 14.30
 
Minehead Information Centre:  Open Fri, Sat & Sun 10am-3pm until 16 May. From 18 May, open Tues-Sun 10am-4pm, plus open BH Mons.  
Tel: 01643 702624  Email: minehead.visitor@hotmail.com 
Website: www.mineheadbay.co.uk 
Facebook: Love Minehead 
 

PORLOCK

 
7 May: Ashley Combe Landscape Restoration, Culbone Wood 10am–2pm. The Exmoor Society at Worthy Combe Toll Gate.  car park (fee payable) TA24 8PG.  Booking: Booking essential. Free but donations are welcome. Contact: 01398 323335
8 May: Selworthy & Somerset Coast Path Guided Day Walk It is a Guided Day Walk  departing HF Holidays, Holnicote House, TA24 8TJ. To book, see link  
26 May: Porlock’s Coastal Wildlife 10am-1.00pm. The Exmoor Society. Location: National Trust car park in Bossington village TA24 8HF. Booking essential. Free but donations are welcome
Contact: 01398323335

Porlock Visitor Centre:   Until 16 May, we are open Weds - Sat 10am - 2pm.  From 17 May we are open Mon-Sat 10am - 4pm.  We have lost of exciting events planned for this year, dependent on government restrictions.  Please visit our website or Facebook page.
Tel: 01643 863150         Email: visit@porlock.co.uk  Website www.porlock.co.uk
Facebook: Porlock visitor centre 
   
Watchet Story Walk, a free trail around the historic town. Access the trail     https://englandcoastpath.storywalks.info/Watchet

Geology trails can be collected for free from the Visitor Centre during opening hours.

5 May The first Market of the season!  Don't miss them EVERY Wednesday on the Esplanade throughout the season. Weather permitting. 9.30am – 4.00pm
11 May: : The pubs in Watchet are able to re-open!!!
18 May: Watchet Boat Museum and Market House Museum are open!
22 May: Rope making in Boat Museum, 10.30am – 1.00pm
2 June: Walks and Talks with the Bell Man, Leaving from Watchet Visitor Centre at 11am. £6 per person. Under 12 Free. Booking essential 01984 632101
6 June:Watchet Street Fair, The Esplanade, 10am-4pm

Watchet Visitor Centre: open Tues - Sat 10am-3pm
Tel: 01984 632101 Email: info@lovewatchet.co.uk 
Website: www.lovewatchet.co.uk 
Facebook: Watchet Visitor Centre 
 

Other Information: 

Travel Information

For Buses of Somerset service Minehead-Taunton see here

For up-to-date local travel information see:  https://www.travelsomerset.co.uk/roadworks/

 

 

 

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