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New funding available for expert legal advice to help North East firms get back to business

Ward Hadaway has teamed up with Scaleup North East to help companies impacted by the coronavirus outbreak plan how to get back to business.

Scaleup North East works with businesses that can demonstrate both the hunger and potential to achieve high levels of growth and has continued to provide support to such organisations as they respond to the global pandemic.

Craig Huntingdon, Scaleup Partner at Scaleup North East, explains: “During the current pandemic, where the Government is trying to engineer a V-shaped recovery, the work of the Scaleup programme is more important than ever. We aim to ensure that businesses on a growth trajectory before the lockdown are able to help to get back on their feet, to retain talent, and to help lead the economy out of the downturn we are currently facing.”

Craig and his team have worked with Ward Hadaway to explore ways to make expertise and support available to such businesses.  Under the new scheme, specialist lawyers at Ward Hadaway will provide a free “diagnostic” call with businesses across the region, where they explore with shareholders, directors and other senior executives the challenges that they might be facing in the aftermath of the lockdown. This session helps businesses to identify specific steps that they can take to survive, and then thrive, in these challenging times and beyond.

Through the collaboration with Scaleup North East, eligible North East-based SMEs are then able to apply for up to 40% funding towards up to £4,000 of legal advice.

Ward Hadaway is a full-service law firm, and able to advise on the full range of issues arising from the recovery from the Covid-19 outbreak, including:

•           Employment issues, such as dealing with a phased return to work

•           Measures to support cash-flow, such as amendment to terms of trading and debt collection procedures

•           Renegotiations and amendments to contracts, and other advice about contracts with suppliers and customers to deal with consequences of Covid-19

•           Managing property costs – review of leases, advice on break clauses and formalisation of any revised arrangements recently put in place with landlords/tenants

•           Health and safety implications of return to work and social distancing

Craig continued:  “Businesses need the best advice to help them navigate these difficult times, and to avoid missteps which could cost them dear further down the line. We are delighted to be working alongside Ward Hadaway – to build on their “diagnostic”, and ensure that participants are able to take advantage of the specific projects which can result from these sessions.”

Damien Charlton, commercial partner at Ward Hadaway, added, “In our diagnostic sessions, we are able to bring a different and fresh perspective to the challenges which management teams are facing. Sometimes these lead to specific legal projects – a review of leases, the renegotiation of a contract, changes to employment terms for instance – and so having this specific funding available will provide a useful helping hand to ambitious businesses during a period of careful financial restraint.”

RTC North is delivering Scaleup North East in conjunction with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Picture caption: Ward Hadaway commercial partner Damien Charlton is supporting North East businesses through diagnostic sessions.

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