Published: Tue 9th February, 2021
Around £43 million in government grants has been paid to businesses in Charnwood to support them during the pandemic.
Charnwood Borough Council has been responsible for distributing the grants since the start of the national crisis last year.
And while the grants have proved a lifeline to many businesses, the work is far from done and the Council says it will continue to get funding to eligible businesses as swiftly and securely as possible.
It recently paid the first wave of new lockdown grants to 900 local companies totalling over £6million.
Cllr Tom Barkley, lead member for finance, said: “Our local and national economy has been devastated by the pandemic and these grants have been vital to keep many businesses afloat in such difficult circumstances.
“From the minute the Government awarded funding for the first round of grants, Charnwood Borough Council has worked flat out to make sure the grants have reached eligible businesses as soon as possible.
“That has meant rapidly drawing together new processes to manage the grants to ensure they not only reach businesses quickly, but also securely.
“We have pulled officers in from other departments at times to support the grant schemes and we will continue to work at pace to get grants to businesses.
“The grants have meant survival for many businesses and the protection of jobs which families depend on.
“With the introduction of the vaccine we are hoping we can start getting back to normal in the near future and businesses can begin to recover and grow again.”
The Council has issued payments to around 3,000 businesses. Some businesses have qualified for more than one grant.
One business to have received grant support is the Swan Inn pub in Mountsorrel, run by Danny and Helen Harwood.
The popular pub has used its grants to help pay overheads like rent and utility bills and invest in making it more Covid secure for customers, such as by improving its outdoor space.
Danny said: “The grants have been absolutely invaluable and without them we would have struggled even more. The whole situation has been very tough.
“We have used the grants to cover our fixed costs that have not gone away even though the business hasn’t been trading. We have also used some funding to improve our outdoor space as there was increased demand for that after the initial lockdown. We were just trying to find ways to keep trading as best we could under the restrictions.
“The grants have been a lifeline, but we have still had to use the government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme.”
Simon and Carla Grayson run The Monk bar and restaurant in Quorn and have also accessed business grants.
Simon said: “Without the grants it basically would have been catastrophic for us and I have to say that the Council have done a great job in distributing grants to local businesses.
“We have been able to trade for four months out of the last 12 which is just not sustainable. We’ve had to use a Bounce Back Loan and it’s all simply to keep paying our fixed costs.
“We really have to ensure that we are able to reopen in as strong a position as possible, protecting both our livelihoods and those of our loyal and, understandably, concerned staff.
“I would encourage all businesses to check what funding they may be eligible for. It may save your business.”
More information about Covid-19 business grants is available on the Council website. Visit www.charnwood.gov.uk/cvbusiness.