Free website design and social media support is being offered to small businesses across the borough as part of Thurrock Council’s Welcome Back Fund programme.

To help businesses recover from the financial impact of the pandemic, the council is working alongside e-learning and digital firms ComSkills and The Data Skills Consultancy to boost their online presence with social media and website training, one-to-one support or website building.

Cllr Mark Coxshall, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Strategic Planning, and External Relationships, said: “Small businesses are the backbone of Thurrock and the beating heart of our towns. They’ve done an incredible job welcoming shoppers back to our high streets, and we continue to offer much-needed support to those that need some help bouncing back after the pandemic to strengthen our economic recovery.

“We are supporting shops on the high street through our Shop Safe, Shop Local campaign, and to boost businesses even further we are offering a helping hand to those that need some extra insight and practical skills.

“These services are all free and are designed to help eligible owners of small businesses in the long-term rather than providing a quick fix.”

If any small family-run or independent businesses do not have a website or would like a new website, ComSkills is offering up to six Thurrock-based businesses the opportunity to have one built and hosted free of charge.

Spaces are also available for free social media training to help small or medium enterprises (SMEs) set up and run their business social media pages, use social media data to understand customers and to give tips for creating engaging posts and content.

This initiative runs until 31 March 2022. For more information, eligibility criteria and how to sign up, visit the council’s dedicated webpage