Companies in and around Consett will receive taxpayer backing through the current economic crisis and beyond.

Do Business Network, an organisation that gives practical support to small businesses across the North East, has been awarded £9,900 of taxpayer funds from Durham County Council’s Derwent Valley Area Action Partnership, to help local businesses survive and recover from the impact of the lockdown.

The award comes from a £1.4 million fund of taxpayer money that the council has allocated across the county’s 14 Area Action Partnerships.

Do Business Network is now providing businesses from the Derwent Valley area with critical intensive support in the form of virtual groups, one-to-one online meetings, and online tutorial videos and resources, to help them through the government’s lockdown.

The activity, which will identify companies’ critical issues, aid them with business planning and allow them to access skills training and networking opportunities, will also support businesses with the process of recovery.

Corinne Walton, Area Action Partnership co-ordinator for Derwent Valley Partnership, said: “Small businesses make a massive contribution to the local economy in the Derwent Valley and are a major employer. The AAP funding means that the local businesses have an opportunity to gain further support to survive the current situation and plan for the future.”

Since the lockdown crisis began, Durham Business Network has been working extensively with its 167 members and has seen requests for business support increase by more than 30 per cent. Now, using the grant awarded by the Derwent Valley AAP, it is rolling out support packages available to businesses across the area.

Gary Scott, CEO of the Do Business Network, said: “These are challenging times for small businesses, but they also present great opportunities. Our aim is to help businesses to prepare to begin trading again as quickly as possible once lockdown is lifted. Our members currently account for more than 400 local jobs and their contribution is pivotal in bringing a much-needed boost back to our local economy.

“To do this, we’re harnessing the skills and expertise of many local business owners to build a thriving and informed small business community across the Derwent Valley, as well as putting our members in touch with each other, to provide business-to-business support and act as ‘business buddies’.

“We’re also giving hands-on support to businesses in the Do Business Network community; helping them to write business plans for grant applications, showing them how to sell more online, and encouraging them to stay in touch with their customers and suppliers. It’s about acting now to survive the crisis and be in a position to thrive once it’s all over, or we’re at least more familiar with what our ‘new normal’ is going to look like.”

Further information and contact details for all 14 of the council’s AAPs can be found on its website at

Contact details and more about the Do Business Network is available at

Get CONSETT MAGAZINE straight to your inbox.

* indicates required


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here