Plea to businesses to take up COVID-19 grants recognised by central government

Jo Withers in the Cabinet Office tweet
Jo Withers in the Cabinet Office tweet

A Suffolk businesswoman who has been chosen by central government to promote their Small Business Grants Fund Scheme is imploring business owners who have not yet applied to do so.

Jo Withers, managing director of VTM Versatile Telephone Marketing Ltd, took to Instagram earlier this month to thank West Suffolk Council by video for their speedy response to her application.

This was seen by the Cabinet Office and VTM has since become the only case study for the grants the East Anglian region.

In the video which has been used by the Home Office to their 394,500 followers Jo Withers, explains the huge relief in receiving the grant, providing her with the ability to pay rent and support her staff.


She adds: “70 per cent of our customers have unfortunately closed the doors due to COVID-19. “I know we will be back with them shortly, but this grant has really helped us get through this tricky wave.

“I urge all business owners to talk to your local council and find out about the support out there. Don’t feel alone, speak with other business owners and your local chamber too.

Jo Withers, managing director of VTM
Jo Withers

“I’m determined VTM is going to come out of this stronger and better, but in the meantime let’s all do our best to support each other.”

As of 3 May, central government announced that more than £8.6 billion has been paid out to more than 697,000 business properties.

Councillor John Griffiths, Leader of West Suffolk council, said:
“We recognised from the outset the importance of getting this funding to businesses as swiftly as possible. That is why we redeployed staff from across the council to contact eligible businesses and we have so far been able to pay out close to £32m, helping more than 2500 West Suffolk businesses.

“We have received, and have much appreciated, lots of thanks and praise from businesses in return although perhaps none so high profile as the video posted by Jo from VTM and then highlighted as a Government case study.

“We are continuing to do all we can, not just to contact and get the remaining grants to eligible businesses, but also to lobby Government – with some success already – where more support is needed.”

West Suffolk businesses can check if they are eligible and complete the grant forms at

As this week will also see the announcement of the government’s road map out of lockdown, Mrs Withers also proposes that businesses need to start thinking about their own plans post-pandemic.

She comments: “Starting to plot re-opening plans and sales pipelines now means that businesses will be in a far better place to act when we are given more freedom to find our new working normality.

“Failure to do so means that businesses will commence from a standing start.

“This is going to make getting income through the door all the more harder and stall your ability to get your finances back to a more healthy position.”

VTM is a quality commercial telephone marketing agency based in the heart of Bury St Edmunds. They have many years of experience creating honest and open conversations for their clients. Through customer retention calls and surveys they deliver a healthy business pipeline, which leads into new business opportunities. Clients include Timberwolf, West Suffolk College and Supreme Petfoods.

You can see the Cabinet Office Twitter video here.

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