A comprehensive package of discretionary funding will be used to support local economic recovery and help businesses across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole bounce back from COVID-19. The funding will be split to target various different organisations both for direct grants and for wider business support measures.
The first of which is a £750,000 Exceptional Circumstances Fund which will be launching next week. This will target those businesses who have suffered a significant reduction in income but that have not received any grant support so far. Varying levels of grants may be awarded up to £10,000. Further details for this scheme will be released next week and organisations will have to apply to be considered for the grants.
In addition to the Exceptional Circumstances Fund, BCP Council’s wider package of support will allocate budgets to the following:
- a Bounce Back Challenge Fund whereby businesses and organisations can put forward applications for either small scale (£15,000) or large scale (£70,000) projects to bounce back from the pandemic. These will be assessed by a panel considering outcomes of economic growth, innovation and pride in our place.
- the R3 Economy Recovery Taskforce groups to lead the areas economic response to and recovery from the pandemic.
- Bournemouth Town Centre BID, Bournemouth Coastal BID and Poole BID. Representing nearly 2000 businesses, these organisations will play a key role in attracting visitors, enhancing the area and creating a strong trading environment post COVID-19.
- local partner organisations which offer support services for companies and employees in the area.
- resourcing of Economic Development and regeneration projects to help the area bounce back from COVID-19, beyond the lifting of restrictions.
These schemes are very close to being finalised and details will follow in early April with the eligibility criteria and how to apply.
Councillor Philip Broadhead, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economy and Regeneration, said:
“Following the most immediate streams of targeted business support issued at the start of the year, we promised to deliver a long-term package of financial support for local businesses and the community as a whole, so we are now pleased to be providing grants to businesses who have missed out on previous schemes.
“We are dedicated and determined to give our businesses the support they need to get back on their feet as they look to restart, rebuild and create jobs. It’s critical we get these grants into the hands of businesses as quickly as possible in order to achieve the best bounce back possible, so I am delighted that we are able to launch this latest package of funding.
“We also want our innovative and dynamic business community to play an active role in the recovery process and will be looking for standout ideas that can help generate further income and kick start local business recovery.
“Leading the longer-term economic recovery of our three towns, we will also be providing dedicated funding for our partners and local businesses organisations. Together they will play a critical role in the recovery process, accelerating our area’s ability to bounce back and thrive post COVID-19.’’
Councillor Broadhead added; “I am pleased to be able to announce that we are aiming to get approximately £23million in Restart Grants out to our businesses shortly after Easter. These much-needed funds are to support businesses that are predominantly reliant on delivering in-person services for the general public from their business premises and will be paid directly to businesses that have already been awarded a Local Restrictions Support Grant for the period from 16 February to 31 March. Depending on rateable value, these awards will vary from £2,667 to £6,000 for non-essential retail businesses and from £8,000 to £18,000 for businesses in the hospitality, leisure, accommodation, personal care and gyms and sport sectors where the criteria is met.”
Full details of the Restart Grant scheme and eligibility criteria will be available on the Council’s website by 1 April. An application form for new applicants will also be made available once initial grants have been made.
Further updates will be added to the financial support for businesses page on the BCP Council website next week.