Chichester Covid recovery grant schemes to be merged

Two funding pots aimed at helping businesses and community groups make it through the pandemic are to be merged by Chichester District Council.

Friday, 4th December 2020, 3:19 pm
East Pallant House, Chichester. Pic Steve Robards SR2007221 SUS-200722-111704001

The economic and community recovery grants – both containing £250,000 – were on offer from August to October and have supported 45 community groups and 95 businesses with payments of up to £5,000.

While the council thought both pots would be over-subscribed, some £270,000 still remains.

At a meeting of the full council, members voted to merge the remaining money into one pot, which will be available to both businesses and community groups.

Roy Briscoe, cabinet member for community services, said: “A significant number of businesses have expressed their delight that we have been able to support them through these very difficult times.

“Likewise, community groups have been appreciative that we’ve supported them to re-open.

“But we remain in difficult times with the second lock-down so some will be reflecting on how they cope going forward from now.

“It is also believed some may have held off applying until the situation became clearer – so a need still remains.”

The matter was discussed at a recent meeting of the Grants & Concessions panel and Mr Briscoe reported there had been cross-party agreement that the funding pots should be merged, with the grants being available for the rest of the financial year.

He added: “With the pandemic we face uncertain times – but if we are able to support small businesses to survive and continue to employ people, or help a community centre or group with the resilience we need, we should continue to offer these grants.”