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Covid Bounce-Back Programme – Cultural, Creative and Visitor Sectors

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

Logo: Enterprising Barnsley, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Sheffield City Region, Mutual Ventures

This is a call for applications to Barnsley Council’s Covid Bounce-Back Programme for the Cultural, Creative and Visitor Sectors. It is for organisations based in Barnsley only.


Barnsley Council is offering a 7-month Business Support Programme for organisations working in the Cultural, Creative and Visitor sectors.

Barnsley Council commissioned Mutual Ventures, a public sector consultancy expert in supporting the growth and development of organisations in these sectors, to lead on the delivery of the Programme.

The Covid Bounce-Back Programme is part of a wider initiative focused on supporting the short and medium term Covid economic recovery within Barnsley. The initiative aims to make a post pandemic Barnsley which is stronger, greener and fairer.

By taking part in the Programme you will receive support to overcome the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic on your organisation, further develop essential skills in business planning and developing a growth strategy, improving resilience, implementation of new service lines (including digital solutions), and navigating the funding environment and bidding for grants.

The Programme will also provide the opportunity to improve connectivity across the borough through networking and developing new partnerships with other organisations providing services in Barnsley.

The aim of this Programme is to provide your organisation with the appropriate skills and knowledge to deliver your vision and create new opportunities, whilst improving resilience and safeguarding jobs.

Who is it for?

The Programme is for organisations that:

  • Deliver services in the Cultural, Creative and Visitor sectors.

  • Examples include museums, galleries, libraries, advertising, design, fashion, film/TV, music, performing and visual arts, publishing, IT software/computer services, visitor attractions, events, hospitality, and travel.

  • Are based in Barnsley (e.g. registered address is in Barnsley and, if payable, Business Rates are paid to Barnsley Council).

  • Are of any size – from sole traders to SME and large.

  • Are of any age – from start-up to well-established.

The Programme is not for participants from the public sector – e.g. Local Authority staff on behalf of the Local Authority. However, if you would like to discuss access to learning material developed as part of the Programme, please contact

Programme overview

  • The Programme will run from October 2021 to March 2022.

  • There are 30 places available on the Programme, with up to 3 places available per organisation, although this is subject to demand.

  • Participants will be grouped into 2 cohorts. The first cohort of organisations has been filled up and organisations have started receiving support. We have now opened applications for our second cohort.

  • The majority of support will be delivered remotely via video conferencing facilities. This proven approach ensures the most efficient use of participants’ time whilst enabling effective support, and guards against the impact of any future Covid restrictions.

  • Once Programme participants have been confirmed, and their specifics needs and availability known, there is the possibility of holding some of the support sessions in person.

  • All support will be delivered during the hours of a standard working week.

Elements of the Programme

Individual Coaching Support

Starting in October 2021 and continuing until March 2022, you will be assigned a Coach and receive individual (per organisation) coaching and mentoring sessions to identify your specific needs and develop a plan to support your recovery and growth.

Core Learning Programme (6 half-day workshops)

You will have the opportunity to participate in a series of 6 half-day workshops, led by experts. The workshops will run from November 2021 to March 2022.

The workshop schedule and content (below) may be flexed slightly to best suit the needs of the participants:

  1. Your Vision and Theory of Change - looking at the importance of a clear vision, mission and outcomes.

  2. Responding to the challenges of Covid-19 - addressing some of the specific challenges brought about by Covid-19.

  3. Writing a sound Business Plan - covering the fundamentals of business planning, including market research, customer mapping and financial planning.

  4. Achieving sustainable growth for your organisation - setting out the process for identifying and assessing new business opportunities and developing your approach to them.

  5. How can digital help you grow your business, exploring opportunities to use new technology to expand organisations’ offerings and reach, with a focus on innovation.

  6. Navigating the funding environment and bidding for grants - focusing on sources of funding for organisations, including grants and other opportunities.

Deep-dive sessions for individuals/small groups on specific topics

You will also have access to ‘deep-dive’ sessions to support you with specific needs. These will be designed according to your individual requirements and last an average of three days, allowing enough time to ‘get under the skin’ of challenges, whilst still ensuring you retain ownership of the challenge.

The ‘deep-dive’ sessions will run from mid-October 2021 to March 2022.

Knowledge sharing material and final networking and learning event

All material developed throughout the duration of the Programme will be available to all participants, including workshop material and tools, learning journals and monthly newsletters.

All organisations will be invited to attend a final one-day event in March 2022 to provide you with the opportunity to share success, reflect on lessons learnt, and embed a legacy peer support network from the Programme.

What’s in it for me?

The Programme will be designed around your needs and the outcomes you want to achieve. By the end of the Programme your organisation will have:

  • Bespoke support tailored to the needs of your organisation.

  • A defined Theory of Change and clear Vision and Mission.

  • A recovery pathway.

  • A sound Business Plan and Growth Strategy.

  • A better knowledge of options to implement innovative solutions, including digital.

  • A better understanding of regional and national funding environment.

Depending on your desired outcomes and specific needs, your organisation will be placed in one of two cohorts, giving you a chance to gain peer support from organisations with similar aims.

How much will it cost me?

The Programme is free to participants.

(Support provided to your organisation through the Covid Bounce-Back Programme is considered to fall under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance. Please see the EOI form to ensure that your organisation will not exceed the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance limit by accessing this Programme).

Your organisation will be asked to invest the time for the participant(s) to take part in the Programme, but won’t incur any other costs.

We suggest that you allocate 5 days across the Programme duration for the coaching, training and to participate in the learning event. (The number and duration of ‘deep-dive’ sessions will be tailored to your needs and availability).

It is preferable for participants to attend all planned sessions within the Programme, however where this is not possible your Coach will work with you to arrange an alternative plan.

How will participants be selected?

There are 15 places now available on the Programme. Organisations will be selected on a first come first serve basis.

If there are more applicants than places available, the selection process will prioritise organisations using the following criteria:

1) The impact of Covid-19 on your organisation

  • Financial resilience - How the pandemic affected your finances.

  • Operational resilience - How much your services were disrupted due to the pandemic, how difficult it will be to go back to your pre-Covid19 levels of activities.

  • Workforce - Level of cuts to the workforce during the pandemic, staff members put on furlough, and your roadmap for coming out of furlough.

2) Readiness/commitment to receive support

  • Is your Board/Management Team supportive of you taking part in the Programme, and do participants have the capacity to take part in the Programme?

How to apply

If you wish to apply for a place on the Covid Bounce-Back Programme for the Creative, Culture and Visitors sectors, please complete the Expression of Interest form.

The Expression of Interest form takes approximately 2 minutes to complete. The form will need to be completed in one session.

If you would like help completing the Expression of Interest form, or have a question about the Programme, please email

In addition, Mutual Ventures will be holding virtual sessions to answer any questions you have regarding the Programme and/or Expression of Interest form every Wednesday at 10-11am from 7th October onwards. Please email to receive access to a session.


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