MORE than 250 small companies across Hambleton have joined the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) with the help of council cash.

Hambleton District Council has so far helped 270 small business owners to join the FSB which provides a range of services including a legal helpline and networking opportunities.

The FSB provides access to a £30 discount by waiving the joining fee, whilst the district council provides a £50 subsidy towards the cost of membership making it affordable to small business.

Hambleton District Council was the first local authority to join forces with the FSB in the UK five-years-ago and a funding package was secured to enable 300 Hambleton new members to join the discounted scheme over five years.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Mark Robson said: “They can access advice and guidance on a whole range of services that are often very expensive to provide for a small operation. FSB’s membership is tailored to the smaller business and is great value for money – even more so with our financial support and I urge other small businesses to join the scheme before the funding runs out.

"Some members join for the networking, some for the 24 legal helpline and others for being part of a larger group of businesses that helps them develop and succeed.

"During the last six months businesses have faced many challenges, but knowing the support is out there makes all the difference to them.”

Max May, director and CEO of Rural Arts - a charity that delivers over 400 events and activities each year at their community arts centre in Thirsk - said: “We joined the FSB because of the amazing value for money of the membership – particularly with the district council discount.

"In our first year, we’ve accessed policies and resources, real life professional advice and benefitted from their powerful lobbying abilities.

"Although we are a charity we have found that more and more we have to think like a business.”

Jake Furby of Diversity Enterprises, who operate out of Northallerton and York has also recently joined the FSB through the HDC membership scheme.

With over ten years experience in delivering training to a wide variety of organisations across North Yorkshire, Jake discovered how FSB could help him and his business after attending a Northallerton Business Network event.

Having established three charities and set up projects in mental health peer support, Jake’s work during the Covid-19 pandemic has been recognised by York Civic Trust with the award of a blue plaque.

His work with the disabled and those suffering mental health issues has helped York to become a Human Rights City.

FSB’s North Yorkshire development manager, Carolyn Frank added: “We are very happy to work in partnership with HDC supporting small business owners like Max and Jake with business advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in government through their FSBs and understands how important small business owners and the self-employed are for the local economy.

"We are very grateful for the subsidy they provide towards the cost of our membership.

"During the coronavirus crisis, FSB services have never been in greater demand as businesses reach out for help to adapt and survive.”