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Case Study: Barnsley Council's Covid Bounce-Back Programme

Updated: May 9

Client: Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Date: July 2021 – April 2022


Challenges faced by the client:

The economy in Barnsley was hit hard by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC) developed an initiative focused on supporting economic recovery within Barnsley, and make it stronger, greener and fairer. As part of this initiative, BMBC set out to offer a 7-month Business Support Programme to support Community and Voluntary sectors, and the Culture, Creative and Visitor sectors.


Support offered:

BMBC commissioned Mutual Ventures, to lead the design of the Programme, and manage the enrolment, delivery and evaluation of the Programme. The Covid Bounce-Back Programme, had two strands: one for the Community and Voluntary Sector, and one for the Culture, Creative and Visitor sector.


The Mutual Ventures team worked with BMBC to ensure the smooth running of the Programme. Our delivery support included:

  • Recruitment and selection of participants through an Expression of Interest process and selection criteria process.

  • One-to-one coaching and diagnostic support – each organisation had regular check-in points with their assigned coach, in which advice and guidance were provided.

  • A learning programme of six core half-day workshops – workshops were delivered by expert consultants on themes including business planning, bidding for grants, marketing strategy, digital, and building financial resilience

  • Deep-dive projects for individual organisations – these were designed according to individual requirements and allowed enough time to ‘get under the skin’ of challenges.

  • A learning strand – throughout the programme, the team used an online platform to share knowledge, we held an ‘end of term’ networking and learning event to share success and reflect on lessons learnt, and produced three 'learning publication'

Outcomes achieved:

The Programme supported the wider economic recovery in Barnsley by:

  • 53 jobs were created

  • 22 jobs were safeguarded

  • 11 new businesses were supported

The programme supported indivdual organisations through:

  • Developing new Business Plans

  • Reviewing governance structures and setting up new Boards

  • Get a better handle on finances, including improved approaches to fund applications.

  • Growing their workforce by hiring new staff and retaining existing staff

  • Adopt and embrace new technology, including new digital strategies and online services.

  • Improve communications and marketing strategies

  • Enhance the network of local organisations to enable peer learning

Feedback from organisations supported via the Covid Bounce-Back Programme included:


“It has been brilliant to have an outside perspective on what we’ve been doing and someone independent to facilitate the process to move forward... We feel more resilient - we now have a strategy that we are pleased with and will allow us to take the next step.”

Barnsley CVS


“Every minute I’ve invested in the Bounce Back programme has been worth it and has given me a massive return on my investment.​ My Bounce Back coach has been like a ‘critical friend’ and we’ve worked right through our business plan reviewing targets, pursuing new collaborations and getting up-to-date on ever-changing funding opportunities”

Underneath the Stars


“Things were very challenging going into the pandemic but because of the help from the programme, we have actually come out of it in a better place. It’s hard to express just how much I have benefited from the support. The coaching has been brilliant and I’m really glad I took the opportunity to take part. It has been so worthwhile.”

Crossroads Barnsley


View a video on our support to the Community and Voluntary sector in Barnsley

View a video on our support to the Culture, Creative and Visitor sectors in Barnsley