Business and consumer advice and support

This is a difficult time for everyone and we want to support local businesses as much as possible.

In partnership with Business Lincolnshire we are offering advice and guidance to businesses. This includes advice on the financial support available, and advice on social distancing practices, and continuing to operate to government guidelines.

Visit the Business Lincolnshire website for more details or to submit your enquiries.

You can also download the COVID toolkit to help you, your staff, and your customers.

If residents are concerned that a business is still operating in a way that they shouldn't, they can report this to Trading Standards

If residents are concerned that a business is still operating in a way that they shouldn't, they can report this to Trading Standards.

This can be done through the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 2231133, or through the Citizens Advice website.

Working together, ourselves, the district councils, and the police, have the powers to enforce the government regulations.

If you are concerned about your finances and benefits at this time, the following are helpful sources of advice:

 

 

Funding organisations and appeals

There are many funding options available:

Funding portal

Lincolnshire County Council in partnership with East Lindsey, South Kesteven and West Lindsey District Councils, provide a free to use service to enable you to search for funding. The Funding Portal can be found at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/fundingportal.

Heritage emergency fund

To help respond to the immediate crisis and the impact of temporary closures of many heritage sites and loss of revenue, the National Lottery Heritage Fund launching a £50million Heritage Emergency Fund. Further information is available at www.heritagefund.org.uk.

Coronavirus appeal

NET is working with a network of 46 community foundations across the UK. If you’re a local charity or group that would like to receive support from the appeal, you can contact the Lincolnshire Community Foundation at www.lincolnshirecf.co.uk.

Lincolnshire Community Foundation

Lincolnshire Community Foundation has launched an appeal that will form part of the Greater Lincolnshire Response and Recovery Fund. It will ensure support reaches local charities and community organisations quickly. Further information is available at  www.lincolnshirecf.co.uk.

Small Charities Commission

The Small Charities Commission has collated the names and links to many different UK wide funders available at this time, all offering funding to deal with the impact of the Coronavirus. Visit the website for more details www.smallcharities.org.uk.

CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund

CAF has launched this Fund to help smaller charitable organisations affected by the impact of Covid-19. Grants of up to £10,000 will help them to continue to deliver much needed support to our communities across the UK. Further information is available at www.cafonline.org.  

Sport England Community Engagement Fund

The Community Emergency Fund aims to deliver immediate funding to those most in need. It's specifically targeted at organisations who have a role in supporting the nation to be active. Further information is available at www.sportengland.org.

Be aware of coronavirus scams

During the coronavirus outbreak, criminals are using new methods to get personal and financial information such as fake websites, emails and texts promising tax refunds, encouraging parents to claim refunds for school meal payments, and telling people they have been fined for leaving the house.

Other fraudsters are trying to sell fake testing kits, cures, or fake protective goods.

Help avoid scams during the coronavirus outbreak.

Be aware of:

  • People you don't know offering shopping or medication collection services.
  • People selling medical products such as miracle cures, facemasks and testing kits.
  • Emails or calls pretending to be officials, including HMRC or government agencies.
  • Fake subscription and streaming service emails asking you to update your account or personal details.
  • Social media quizzes and games that ask for personal information (for example, your mother’s maiden name) that could be used to access your accounts.

Protect yourself and others:

  • Don't be rushed into making a decision. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
  • Only purchase goods and services from legitimate retailers and don't assume everyone is genuine. Take a moment to think before parting with any money or giving out any personal details; it's ok to refuse or ignore requests you're not sure about.
  • If someone claims to represent a charity or organisation, ask them for ID.
  • If you need to check or update any account details, go directly to the company's or organisation's website or use their known contact details, rather than clicking links in emails.
  • Speak to your family and friends before accepting offers if you're unsure.

For advice on scams, visit the Citizens Advice website or call the consumer helpline on  0808 223 11 33.

You can report a scam to Citizens Advice, or to Action Fraud through their website, or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Support with your shopping

Many supermarkets are supporting vulnerable and older people by offering protected shopping times and other options:

  • Tesco - Elderly or vulnerable customers can shop between 9am-10am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning.
  • Morrison's - Providing individual support to elderly or vulnerable customers in stores (using volunteers). They are also offering a Food Box delivery of essential items and also offer a limited delivery service for 70 essential items.
  • Sainsbury - Elderly, disabled customers and carers can shop between 8am-9am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • Iceland - Elderly or vulnerable people can shop between 8am-9am from Monday to Saturday.
  • Marks and Spencer - Elderly or vulnerable people can shop for the first hour of the day once doors are open on Mondays and Thursdays.
  • Waitrose - Elderly or vulnerable people or carers can shop every day for the first hour of the day once doors are open.

If you are isolating and someone is helping with your shopping there are several payment options. You will need to check with each shop to see which methods they support.

  • Vouchers - Marks and Spencers, Asda, and Co-op allow vouchers to be bought which you can pass to a volunteers shopping on your behalf.
  • Supermarket click and collect service – you can place the order online and share a reference number with the volunteer who can go and collect the shopping on your behalf.
  • Phone, pay and collect – check if your local shop will allow you to place an order for shopping and make payment over the phone. When it's ready, the volunteer can then go and collect on your behalf.
  • Payment over the phone at check out – this allows the volunteer to go to a local store, collect items and then payment details can be taken over the phone by the shop assistant.
  • Prepaid cards – if you have a physical prepaid card, you can give this to the volunteer to pay for your shopping. They will need to collect in advance and return when finished
  • Paying with cash – ensure the volunteer comes to you beforehand to collect the cash before going shopping. Once they return make sure they a receipt for the goods purchased.
  • Cash access scheme – if your bank allows, you can ask for a one-time barcode to be issued and sent via text, email or post for a stipulated amount. 

Help with utilities

If you are struggling to pay your bills, the government has launched an emergency package with energy suppliers.

This is to help ensure you don't face any additional hardships in heating or lighting your home during the coronavirus outbreak.

If you are struggling with money problems or are repaying a debt, options will include:

  • reviewing bill payment plans, including debt repayment plans
  • payment breaks or reductions in how much you pay
  • giving you greater time to pay
  • in some cases access to hardship funds

For general advice on household energy bill support, Ofgem have a Who to contact if it's difficult paying bills guide.

If you are a business finding it hard to pay bills, the government has published advice on support for businesses, including available grants.

Social distancing guidance for businesses

Businesses are legally responsible for following the government's current guidance regarding social distancing.

Guidance on the types of businesses that can reopen can also be found on the government website.

To protect staff and customers, businesses that reopen should manage entry into the store, only allowing a limited number of people in at any given time.

They should also put up signage to ask customers with symptoms not to enter the store, and to remind both staff and customers to always keep two metres from other people, wherever possible.

You can download the COVID toolkit to help you, your staff, and your customers.

Signs and markers on the highway

To enable businesses to manage any queues on the highway, the use of temporary markers such as chalk or tape will be permitted, but the use of any permanent markers is prohibited on the public highway.

The erection of temporary signs on the public highway is permitted to enable instruction to be provided to customers for social distancing.

These temporary signs should be placed in a suitable location near the entrance to the shop or business to avoid direct conflict with pedestrian movement on the public highway.

New signs have been approved by the Department for Transport, which could also be used in urban areas if appropriate and should be purchased from suitable traffic management or sign company.

It should be noted that any equipment placed on the highway – including any temporary signage and markers – are the responsibility of the business owner or organisation to maintain and remove.

Support from Lincolnshire County Council's highways team

All immediate highway requests – such as the potential for temporarily widening footways or closing roads – should be directed to the appropriate local county councillor in the first instance.

More significant improvements which could take months to design, consult on and install, should still be directed to the local county councillor in the first instance.

The request will then follow the prescribed development process and be considered by the appropriate Transport Strategy Board for approval.