STAFFORD GRANTS: Help residents become self-employed
Stafford Borough residents who have recently lost their jobs could be in line for £5,000 to help them become self-employed as part of the latest round of economic support to help the area recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Hospitality businesses will also be able to apply for £5,000 towards promotional activities to encourage visitors back into Stafford Borough as national lockdown restrictions are relaxed.
And two High Street business support officer roles, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, will be extended for another year, to the end of March 2022 to help town centre enterprises.
Stafford Borough Council’s cabinet agreed the latest phase of its local business support scheme at a meeting on Thursday (April 8). It is also joining forces with other local authorities in Staffordshire to fund support for businesses to offer apprenticeships to residents under 25, as well as skills development and training opportunities.
Business support funding has been handed out by the Government to councils to distribute to businesses affected by the pandemic, such as those forced to close during lockdown periods.
Councillor Frances Beatty, cabinet member for economic development and planning, said: “Under the Additional Restrictions Grant we received one-off lump sum payments which amounted to about £20 a head when they were announced last November. Then we got a top-up of £1.9m, which goes into this discretionary fund.
“The mandatory fund is being doled out as we speak and has been for a long while. The discretionary fund gives the local authority a little bit more scope to target groups that we think are particularly important in terms of business.
“Because of that we have a proposal for £1,292,000 under phase four within the Local Business Support Programme.
“That would extend the existing programme, which funded High Street business support officers which have been a huge success. We would like to continue with those two posts which cover Stafford, Stone and Eccleshall, supporting High Street businesses there.
“The start-up grant scheme is £5,000 to support residents in the borough who have been made redundant or are economically inactive, so that they can work towards becoming self-employed and set up their own businesses. The hospitality re-launch grant scheme is £5,000 per eligible business to encourage visitors back into town.”
Councillor Jonathan Price, cabinet member for environment, said: “It’s another area that the borough council has to support local businesses within Stone, Stafford and the wider borough.
“Our commitment is to try and support those businesses that have struggled through what we know has been a very difficult time. I’m really proud of the work we have done at the borough council to support those businesses – and we will continue to support those businesses as we go forward.”
For more information on business support available in Stafford Borough visit https://www.staffordbc.gov.uk/business-support-coronavirus.
Words: Kerry Ashdown, Local Democracy Reporter
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