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Exeter Works doors will be closing on 31 March, but you will still be able to get support and guidance on our website. The Youth Hub will open the doors to its new home in Exeter Library from 3 April.

Thomas Westcott Chartered Accountants is supporting an initiative that is helping people in and around Exeter find work and start new businesses. The South West accountancy firm is sponsoring Exeter Works, which provides support for individuals seeking to change career or start a business and guides businesses through new challenges.

A partnership between Exeter City Council and Exeter Chamber of Commerce Exeter Works is a website to help individuals and businesses through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Covering Exeter and the surrounding area, it provides a wealth of information on looking for a job, training, developing new skills, apprenticeships and starting a business. It also offers businesses advice on accessing finance, skills and training, and business growth.

In future, Exeter Works aims to create a space in the city centre, which people can visit to talk to an advisor about their circumstances and identify the right support for them.

As a sponsor, Thomas Westcott has provided financial support for the initiative. Partner Patrick Tigwell will also run a fortnightly accountancy clinic, offering pro bono advice and information to start-ups and other businesses.

With the largest network of accountancy offices in the South West, the firm has an established office on Exeter’s Southernhay, as well as branches across Devon, including Okehampton, Honiton and Torquay.

Patrick Tigwell, Partner at Thomas Westcott Chartered Accountants said: “As an active member of Exeter Chamber and a key business in the city and across the South West region, it was natural that we would want to support Exeter Works.

“This initiative has come at a crucial time, when many people are reassessing their careers and business opportunities. Growing numbers of people are seeking to start a business or change career, perhaps because they have been made redundant or simply as a result of having taken the opportunity to reflect during the pandemic. Meanwhile, as we know from talking to our clients, many businesses are adapting to challenges and opportunities, perhaps diversifying or looking to new markets.

“Exeter Works can help those businesses and individuals by providing them with answers to questions and signposting them to the right information and support.

“We are delighted to be involved with this exciting project, which is supporting Exeter and the wider area bounce back and retain the dynamism for which it is known.”

Jo Caine, chair of the Exeter Skills Group and board member of Exeter Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are so pleased to welcome Thomas Westcott on board as the Exeter Works accountancy sponsor. The firm’s contribution will enable us to offer more information and support to job seekers during this critical time, when we anticipate an increase in people seeking employment as furlough support is due to end.

“With their accountancy expertise and the regular clinics on offer, Thomas Westcott is providing valuable assistance to people alongside the Exeter Works network of organisations. We look forward to working together for the benefit of the wider community and towards a brighter future.”

On behalf of co-founder Exeter City Council, Cllr Rachel Sutton, said: “A big thank you to Thomas Westcott for their support. Exeter Works is a great example of the private and public sectors coming together to provide a service to residents.

“We are excited to move forward with plans for the next phase of the Exeter Works initiative, and in particular, our ambition to open a city centre hub to be able to deliver in person employment support and advice, when restrictions allow.”