Anchor businesses in Somerset that attract people to visit and support a wider range of local enterprises are being urged to bid for grants to help them re-start and recover from the economic hit of the coronavirus pandemic.
Somerset County Council is launching a £500,000 fund to support strategically significant businesses badly affected by Covid-19 and successive lockdowns.
These could be organisations that often did not fit neatly into Government Covid support programmes such as multi-purpose venues, heritage attractions, and food/craft events showcasing local produce that attract local people as well as visitors.
Although Covid-related restrictions have eased, many businesses are still facing a tough uphill climb on the road to recovery.
“The past 18 months have been extremely hard for businesses in Somerset. I would strongly encourage applications – this is a chance not to be missed,” said Councillor David Hall, Cabinet member for the economy, planning and community infrastructure.
“We want to support our businesses as the economy starts to reopen fully after months of not being able to trade or being partially open.”
Some affected were able to draw on Government support but many were unable to get the funding – or get enough to see them through the crisis and are now in financial difficulty.
The scheme – Somerset Business Restart and Recovery Programme – is designed to provide support via a business grant to those businesses/organisations that can show they need extra financial support. Up to £50,000 will be available to anchor events and organisations that are fundamental to the success of other businesses in the wider economy.
The fund opens for applications tomorrow, Wednesday 11 August, with a closing date of 3 September. A dedicated webpage Somerset Recovery Fund hosts relevant information, guidance notes and frequently asked questions. This is the first of the support programmes being launched with more opening for applications in the coming weeks.
The scheme is part of a wider £6m package of funding to kickstart Somerset’s economy in the wake of Covid-19. The Somerset Economic Recovery Fund will include financial support for businesses, financial support for individuals and a range of other measures to stimulate the economy and boost the county as it recovers from coronavirus.