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Torridge Business Bulletin – March 2023

Local Skills Improvement Plan

Do you run a Digital Creatives / Environmental technologies / Engineering / Manufacturing / Marine Business in northern Devon?  

Passionate about driving your business forward and creating skilled opportunities for local people? 

We need your help to feed into a Local Skills Improvement Plan focused on local challenges and priority needs over the next few years.

Your feedback and insight will help create a government-approved plan to steer post-16 technical education and skills provision in northern Devon, ensuring funding is directed towards the development of a better planned, responsive and flexible local skills regime.

Please complete the short survey at LSIP Employer Survey and if you’d like to discuss the topic in more detail please get in touch with Chris Fuller, TDC Economic Development Officer, via  

North Devon Marine Wildlife Aware Accreditation Scheme

The exceptional beauty of the North Devon coastline and seascape draws visitors from across the globe. It’s national and international importance is recognised through the many designated features and its status as part of the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere. Last year, the North Devon Marine Wildlife Aware Accreditation Scheme was launched as an online scheme with opportunities for both businesses and individual operators to be recognised, and supported, as ambassadors for responsible wildlife interactions.

Through funding from the Environment Agency’s Championing Coastal Coordination (3Cs) Fund, the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere are hosting two in-person training and accreditation sessions on Thursday 9th March at The Burton Art Gallery in Bideford (morning) and The Lantern in Ilfracombe (afternoon). 

Andy Bell, the Manager of North Devon UNESCO Biosphere told us “We are very pleased to be able to host in-person sessions this year, which we were unable to do in early 2022. It is up to us all to protect our marine and coastal life and to make sure that both the species and visitors benefit from interactions.” 

The North Devon Marine Wildlife Aware Accreditation Scheme is designed for local businesses and operators to support you and further your business. To attend the in-person events please go to Eventbrite. To register for the online training option which will be available in early March, please use the contact form on the North Devon Biosphere website.

BIPC Devon – Free Women in Business Course

A FREE course designed by, and for, women who are starting and developing their own businesses is being run by the Business & Intellectual Property Centre in Devon (BIPC).

The 12 week course (starting on 8th March) will run from March to May and will feature weekly webinars and workshops, interactive sessions, clinics and networking opportunities as well as 1-1 support. This three-month course will cover:

  • ·Personal Development & Wellbeing
  • ·Business Planning & Sales
  • ·Branding & Marketing & Photography
  • ·Web Design & SEO
  • ·Tax, Accounting & Finance

The launch event will take place at The Botanist, Exeter on 8th March. The course is free, to enrol visit: Women in Business – Business & IP Centre Devon (

Maths Multiply with Learn Devon 

If you have employees aged 19 or over who don’t have a maths GCSE at grade C (or equivalent), Learn Devon’s Multiply programme can help. 

Learn Devon offers a range of free short courses and workshops to boost maths skills. Having a good understanding of basic maths can be incredibly helpful in day-to-day life from managing money to calculating costs. 

During each course, their friendly tutors will help learners to use basic maths skills in everyday situations. Through the courses, learners will be able to learn about measuring, multiplication, division, how to budget, using Excel formulas and more. 

Explore the courses here

Apprenticeship and careers recruitment fair 2023 – FREE STAND!

On 28 March, Petroc will be hosting our Apprenticeship and Careers Recruitment Fair which they would love you to be part of!

The event will highlight the range of career opportunities across a variety of sectors to their learners, providing them with an insight into the world of work, and showcasing the opportunities which exist in a particular field, industry or occupation.

This is a great opportunity to promote your organisation, apprenticeship vacancies and employment opportunities to learners who are embarking on their career journey.

Email or call 01271 447248 to book a stand or to find out more about this event.

Free Promotion for your Business on the Discover App – don’t get left behind by your competition!

Keen to promote your business for FREE? Then take up the option of a free listing through the Discover app. The app, which is free to download, uses the latest technology to connect users to the opportunities available to them on their doorsteps, including shops, restaurants, bars, events and experiences. 

Simply get in touch with Discover and they will help promote your business using your own branding, imagery and anything else you want to be included in the listing. 

Features of the app include:

  • each town has its own area on the app meaning it can be tailored to specific locations
  • details of local businesses, special offers and links to online purchases
  • places to eat and things to do, including walking, cycling, history and even nature trails!
  • ability to identify people’s location so when they open the app, it will show them locally available content
  • Events, cultural and leisure facilities promoted for free
  • allows users to tailor their feed to what interests and matters to them
  • push notifications if there’s a message that needs to be communicated quickly

Any businesses that would like to add information or have any questions should email or download Discover free through the App Store or Google Play.

Chefs Training Academy – Three Courses Still available!

Do you have a member of kitchen staff who would benefit from learning new skills? Are you looking for new dishes to add to your menu?

Petroc have designed a series of one-day workshops that have been tailored to enhance their culinary skills in the following areas:

  • Pastry & Cakes – Monday 6th March 2023, 9am – 4pm (Book by 24th February 2023
  • Fish & Shellfish – Monday 13th March 2023, 9am – 4pm (Book by 3rd February 2023)
  • Meat & Poultry – Monday 20th March 2023, 9am – 4pm (Book by 10th March 2023)

These sessions are being delivered by the ‘Big Benefits for Small Businesses’ project and are fully funded by the European Social Fund.

For more detailed information and to request a space please click here Chefs Training Academy Tickets

Hospitality Skills Boost Courses

Do you have staff members who you would like to upskill in food costings or aspire to improve customer service skills within your hospitality business? If so, Petroc have the following courses for you!

Customer Service Skills for Hospitality Businesses

Thursday 9th March 1:30pm to 4pm, Petroc Brannams Campus, Barnstaple

This course will cover the basic principles of excellent customer service, how to handle customer complaints & difficult behaviour, the benefits of building a rapport with guests and more!

Costing of Food for Hospitality Businesses

Thursday 16th March 1:30pm to 4pm, Petroc Brannams Campus, Barnstaple

This session will introduce the basic principles of food costings and why it is key to a business’s viability to cost products correctly. A great refresher session for experienced hands, and for beginners.

These sessions are being delivered by the Petroc ‘Big Benefits for Small Businesses’

project and are fully funded by the European Social Fund. The project is a partnership with Torridge District Council, North Devon Council and Devon County Council.

For more information and to register click below

Click to Book

Dartmoor Federation Trust – Careers Fair – Years 9-12

Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust are holding their first ever Careers Fair for Years 9 -12 from their 3 secondary colleges (targeting at least 2500 students) on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th March at The Ashbury Hotel near Okehampton.

There will be a variety of trade stands, a programme of speakers for students to experience and separate sessions for SEN students plus an open evening for parents to attend.

The venue will be open from 6pm on 7th March for setting up or from 7.30am on 8th March. Accommodation for those that require it, is available at the sister Manor Hotel with the discount code ‘DMAT’.  Please call Krystian or Mihaela on 0800 458 3026 to book.

Companies and organisations interested in exhibiting should complete a booking form or scan the QR code to book their place. The inaugural event is free to exhibitors although donations are welcome. 

Contact Melissa Trudgilll, Community Engagement Manager, Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust with any queries.

SETsquared Exeter Innovation Discovery Studio – North Devon

About the Innovation Discovery Studio

This fully-funded, two-day workshop is designed for businesses looking to innovate, bridging the gap between groundbreaking new ideas and the value those ideas can create. Delivered in-person in Barnstaple, the workshop will take you through a creative problem-solving exercise around big real-world problems, designing and validating a potential solution for this problem, and crafting this solution into a something of value to a potential market.

Based on established problem-solving and prototyping methodologies, Day 1 focuses on using Design Thinking as a base for creating viable solution to a real-world problem. Day 2 switches gears towards focuses on how your solution can create value for a market. At the end of Day 2, there is an opportunity to present your solution and the value it creates to an expert panel, allowing for constructive feedback and a steer towards your next steps.

Date and time: Thursday 16 March 2023, 9.30am to Friday 17 March 2023, 4.30pm

Place: COTIE, Petroc, Barnstaple

Click to Book

Free Industry Snapshots and Sector Updates

Want to keep up-to-date with the latest trends from your industry? If you have an interest in industry trends or market size, The South West Growth Hub have some very useful reports available to businesses here in the South West.

Their latest feature included a snapshot of the travel and tourism sector. The factsheet provides a snapshot of the UK tourism industry, including its structure, performance and outlook. Featuring key travel trends in 2022, industry trends and the outlook for 2023. If you would like a copy of this factsheet, or one for your own industry/sector, simply complete this form.

Devon Recovery Projects

Helping Devon Businesses Recover, Adapt, and Thrive

GetSet Adapt offers support to businesses across Devon to help them recover from the impacts of the pandemic and to build back better.

Through fully funded 1-2-1 support and bespoke advice, GetSet Adapt will review your current business model and accounts and help your business to develop a robust action plan to help with rapid recovery as well as enabling future growth and sustainability.  

The programme includes:

  • Business Diagnostic – Review of current business model and financials to determine recovery strategy and tactics, and what further support your business needs.
  • 1-2-1 Support – Dedicated face-to-face sessions with a specialist Business Advisor to determine bespoke action plan for recovery and growth
  • Workshops & Masterclasses – Tailored workshops/masterclasses around business resilience, business models and other key areas needed for recovery and growth
  • Online Learning – 24/7 access to interactive learning modules/resources library to help your business recover and grow

For more information, and to apply online click here

Get Local Authority Procurement Ready

If you want to win contracts from Local Government, Get Set to Tender will help you to better understand procurement and tenders and enable you to bid for opportunities in the public sector, and in turn support your local economy.

Through a blend of 2-hour group workshops and 1-2-1 support, Get Set to Tender will introduce you to procurement and tendering, explore how to access public sector opportunities, review your past bid performance and help with a live tender bid.

To apply online, please complete this short form or email

Bideford Food and Drink Event 1st April

eat:Festivals will be organising eat:Bideford a one day food and drink festival and they are on the hunt for local food & drink producers to take part.

The team specialise in one day events that bring together lots of producers, entertainers and reasons to stay all day. There is no entry fee for the public and there is an extensive publicity campaign to drive footfall. 

Head over to to read more about the ethics, process and applications form links. Any queries or questions via

Mobile Boost Voucher Scheme

Connecting Devon and Somerset’s scheme to improve indoor 4G mobile phone coverage in the region has been extended due to ongoing demand. The Mobile Boost programme was due to close to new applications, but a £250,000 injection of additional funding through the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s (HotSWLEP) Growth Deal means it will now continue until March 2023.

More than 1,200 homes and businesses across Devon, Somerset, Torbay and Plymouth have already benefited from the scheme. Applicants need to complete a form self-certifying that they cannot receive an adequate indoor 4G mobile signal before receiving an email voucher code. This can be used with one of the registered scheme suppliers that can be found on our Mobile Boost webpages: Mobile Boost Voucher Scheme – a guide – Connecting Devon and Somerset

Devon Get Started

Got an idea or vision for a business, but not sure where to start?

Devon Get Started offers practical learning and support to help you to turn your idea into a real-life project or social enterprise (a business that trades for a social purpose). The support is free, flexible, and online. You don’t need any qualifications, experience, or to have already started. Just bring an idea and a desire to learn and they’ll help you with the rest!

Through a blend of tailored group workshops, personalised 1-2-1 coaching, and specialised ‘pitching events’, Devon Get Started will help you learn how to:

  • Develop your idea and test your assumptions
  • Develop your branding
  • Diversify and develop your income streams
  • Consider your cost and pricing strategies
  • Pitch your business
  • Marketing your business
  • Develop collaborative partnerships

Final Programme! All sessions are face to face in Exeter, and will be held on 15th, 22nd, 29th March from 9.30 – 4.30pm.

Click to Find Out More

Free Wellbeing Workshop

Book a wellbeing check-in for you and your business

Wellbeing Works offers an exciting opportunity for Devon based businesses (excluding Plymouth and Torbay), employees, and individuals to benefit from the tools, techniques, and inspiration we all need to prioritise and develop our wellbeing and resilience.

Wellbeing and resilience are at the heart of Devon’s ability to survive, recover, and thrive. If we look after ourselves and our teams, we can all reap the personal and professional benefits.

Through a 1-2-1 Wellbeing Check-In (online and in-person), Wellbeing Works can help you to take time out of your day to prioritise your wellbeing, and to:

  • Take stock of your wellbeing and share your challenges
  • Feel inspired to take positive steps towards greater wellbeing
  • Be signposted to resources and support for your wellbeing journey

Book your wellbeing check-in here, or call 01392 248919

If you would like Wellbeing Works to run a wellbeing session for your business or group, please contact

Help to Grow: Management Programme – participants sought

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) are heading to Exeter this January to deliver the 90% Government funded Leadership and Management training course for SME leaders.

Help to Grow: Management is a 12-week practical training course designed to support senior managers of SMEs to boost performance, resilience, and long-term growth. Attend weekly training sessions, engage in regular peer group calls, have access to 10 hours of one-to-one mentor support and join a network of SME leaders though the Alumni programme.

The programme is 90% subsidised by the government, costing £750. Designed to be undertaken alongside full-time work, the twelve modules require 50 hours of commitment to timetabled activities.

To find out more about the programme, visit UWE Bristol’s website or contact the team on  

Digital support for small businesses

New online support is available to help small and medium sized businesses to be more savvy with their digital skills.

It includes an online self-assessment tool, called the Digital Maturity Index, devised to enable businesses to gain an understanding of their digital strengths and weaknesses.

It also offers insights into digital tools that may help their business to develop and grow.

Once businesses have completed the self-assessment, they’ll receive targeted information that can guide them to access funded digital training courses and resources or further advice from one of the project’s expert digital advisors.

There’s also a Digital Course Finder, providing an extensive database of digital skills training courses delivered by training providers across Devon, as well as online digital skills courses.

You can read more about the programme in the story on our news page

Support For Farmers

Navigating the Agricultural Transition Between 2021 and 2027, the government will reduce and then stop Direct Payments. Instead, farmers will be supported to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions. This is the biggest change in farm support for generations and all and a challenge for all Farmers as to how they will adapt.

The Future Farming Resilience Fund has been funded by Defra to allow organisations to support farmers and land managers with this transition. The support, which includes workshops, events and more, is free to any farmer or land manager currently in receipt of BPS payments. Find out more and book workshops

Slurry Infrastructure Grant now open Defra have opened applications for the Slurry Infrastructure grant, with farmers in England able to apply for grants of £25,000 – £250,000 towards the cost of slurry stores, covers and supporting equipment, to improve their slurry storage.

Before applying, take a look at the scheme guidance. It sets out who can applywhat the grant can pay for and the information you’ll need to provide when you apply. The first stage of the applications process is an online checker. You can find it on the Slurry Infrastructure grant page on GOV.UK.

Farming Futures Research and Development competition Defra have published guidance for the third round of the Farming Futures Research and Development competition focusing on agriculture and horticulture robotics.

In partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Defra will match-fund projects, which will boost productivity and sustainable farming practices through the development of automation and robotic technologies on farm. Farmers, growers, businesses, and researchers are being invited to apply for a share of £12.5 million, with grants for projects worth between £500,000 and £1.5 million available.

Application process is now open. For more information, read the Future Farming Blog post.