Grants and free membership of the Federation of Small Businesses are being offered to small operators in York.

City of York Council has released details of further support being offered, including its £1m scheme to help smaller operators who are set to miss out on government aid.

The authority's micro business grants initiative will deliver grants of up to £1,000 to 1,000 self-employed, micro and small businesses who need it most.

Grant applications will open before Easter, and will be available to businesses which:

• have 50 or fewer employees, including one person business/self-employed;

• need support adapting to new trading arrangements;

• are experiencing financial hardship due to coronavirus, and

• do not qualify for any other government grant or rate relief support packages.

The council has also created a new fund to give up to 1,000 businesses free membership of the Federation of Small Business.

Also set to launch before Easter, these will be available to businesses with 30 or fewer employees. This will give access to a range of services, from legal advice to cyber protection and insurance.

Councillor Keith Aspden, council leader, said: “We are continuing to work with York BID and Make it York to support our local businesses so they can secure cashflow, adapt to the current crisis and protect jobs.

“We have successfully lobbied the government to increase support for our 12,000 self-employed residents, deferred rent on all our commercial properties and acted quickly to make sure £110m reaches businesses as soon as possible.

“Business rates holidays have been applied to over 3,000 accounts, and the first batch of £44m coronavirus grants set to benefit 3,500 York companies will be paid early next week.

“But there are many businesses who don’t qualify for that support, so I would urge them all to look at our scheme and prepare for applications to open next week.”

Grants will be issued to the first 1,000 businesses which meet the criteria, so businesses are advised to prepare evidence in advance.

Councillor Andrew Waller, executive member for the economy and strategic planning, said: “York’s small, micro and one-person businesses are a vital part of our economy, worth £1bn and employing thousands of people. Not all have been reached by Government packages.

“These local grants and FSB membership will offer well over 1000 businesses the help to do what they do best – innovate, adapt and reach customers with their fantastic products. This could be anything from adjusting their business plans to the implications of starting up online services as businesses will be working in different ways now.

“We will award the grants to the first 1,000 eligible businesses that apply, so do think in advance about the evidence we’ll need.

“We’re also backing campaigns in the local media to connect those businesses which can still operate to customers across York.

For details of business support in the city, visit to see what is available.

The council will open an online application form, which will require company details, an outline of what the grant is needed for and the following evidence to demonstrate eligibility:

1. proof of hardship and ineligibility for other schemes for self-employed applicants: Business must have a Unique Tax Reference Number UTRN from HRMC with retrospective check o Registered business – must provide Company Number, or details from other registration schemes

2. Evidence that the business is trading, for example adverts, web site or accounts. The council will contact businesses to review the effectiveness of grants and collect evidence of the impact of our funding.

The council has negotiated a deal which will allow 1,000 one- person businesses, or 500 ten-person businesses to join and access the free helpline for business advice.

Carolyn Frank, Development Manager North Yorkshire, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “We are seeing more demand than ever for our services as small businesses and the self-employed find themselves needing advice and guidance, financial support and a powerful collective voice with government.

“We are very grateful to City of York Council for funding free FSB memberships for microbusinesses from their emergency funding, which is helping us reach even more businesses in York with specialist 1-2-1 advice and support.

"Our benefits in higher than normal demand due to the emergency situation include employment advice and protection, legal helpline and documents hub, FSB care medical advice line, cyber protection checks, FSB funding platform and cash advance and insurance services.

“I’d encourage businesses to apply quickly to take advantage of this special scheme, because it is strictly limited to first come, first served. Of course businesses who miss out on the free scheme can still ask for our help, we have many free resources and a full priced membership starts from only £147 a year.”