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Micro grant impact of ARG funding in York

In 2020, City of York Council set up a pioneering Micro Grant scheme. The objective of the grant funding was to support small and micro businesses through the economic disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic after the announcement of a national lockdown on 23rd March. In total, 1,114 small and micro businesses received grants through this scheme.

The scheme was funded directly by the local authority from their own budgets, prior to the allocation of funding from central government via the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). As such, they were keen to conduct an in-depth evaluation exercise to understand the impact of the scheme across the City of York economy.

To measure the impact of the Micro Grants on the recipient businesses, in February 2021 City of York Council commissioned Blueberry to conduct a telephone research project to evaluate the programme.

This infographic below provides an overview of the research and the key findings, trends and themes identified.

CYC Micro Grant Impact Infographic 1212 150 22 01

We understood that the Economic Team at City of York Council wanted the research exercise to provide more than an economic impact assessment, they also wanted to use qualitative research methods to obtain a greater depth and breadth of insight into how the grant support affected individual businesses.

We therefore designed a question set which combined quantitative impact questions with more open-ended questions designed to gather more in-depth feedback from the businesses on how they were impacted by the pandemic, and the role of the grant in enabling them to overcome some of the issues and challenges they faced.

“The evaluation research identified that the scheme had a number of interlinked economic, welfare and wellbeing benefits”

In total, we completed in-depth telephone surveys with just under 30% of the grant recipients. This research provided a strong evidence base for the impact of the original grant scheme and was instrumental in helping them develop the business case for innovative, future funding programmes – demonstrating that the grants contributed to the survival of almost 300 businesses.

We also used thematic analysis to identify some of the key themes from the qualitative questions – demonstrating the impact the grant had across a number of key areas such as digitalisation, upskilling the workforce, improving wellbeing and resilience, and driving innovation and adaptation.

Overall, the evaluation research identified that the scheme had a number of interlinked economic, welfare and wellbeing benefits. Findings were presented in a detailed report, and we also helped support them in communicating these findings to internal and external stakeholders, for example, producing infographics and hosting a webinar.

“Although we have work yet to do together on the issues that have come from the Micro Business Grant evaluation, the main body of what we set out to do has now been accomplished, and we’d like to say thank you for the work that you put into the project, and for helping us better understand our foundation economy. It’s certainly felt like a really nice project to be a part of, and we definitely chose the right team!”
City of York Council – Economic Growth Officer
Written By Rebecca Charlesworth

For more information get in touch with Rebecca

0113 487 7013
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