Barnsley businesses adversely affected by the Coronavirus lockdown are invited to apply for three new grants to help cover business costs.
A trio of discretionary awards has been launched to support eligible businesses which have either been forced to close or allowed to stay open but are experiencing significantly reduced trade.
Barnsley Council, backed by funding secured by Sheffield City Region, is targeting this new finance at businesses which may have fallen between the cracks of existing national Covid support schemes.
Enquiries are invited from businesses who find themselves in the following circumstances:
Forced to close / unable to trade and still paying rent on, for example, a shared workspace, tenancy or a market stand, but not able to access existing national schemes as they do not have a separate business rates account
allowed to trade and provide products and services to the public but seeing a significant loss of trade due to the lockdown, for example newsagents, small independent food shops, MOT garages, opticians, dentists and chiropodists
Supplying the hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries and, whilst not told to close, seeing a dramatic loss of trade, for example caterers, brewers, suppliers to restaurants and hotels and suppliers to events, weddings and conferences.
The grants are intended for businesses struggling to meet fixed business costs such as rent or mortgage payments, software subscriptions, vehicle finance or licence fees. To gain a discretionary hardship award, applicants must prove they have suffered significantly reduced income during the current lockdown and need help to cover these costs.
Cllr Tim Cheetham, Barnsley’s Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “We’re acutely aware that Covid-19 has affected local businesses in many and complex ways and some have fallen between the cracks of existing national support schemes. Our local discretionary grants target those who may need support to cover fixed business costs in the face of severely reduced income. We invite businesses to take a closer look at the three new schemes and see if they qualify.”
The grants are not designed to cover loss of income or staffing costs – these may be covered by other schemes such as the Job Retention Scheme for staff and Universal Credit for self-employed people. They are focused on contributing to regular business costs and aim to alleviate significant hardship.
Bella Refreshments, based in Darton, successfully applied for a discretionary grant after orders from schools and colleges for its bottled water and soft drinks were slashed by 90 per cent during lockdown.
Director Chris Marshall said: "The grant funding has been a godsend for the business. The speed of the process plus the ease of communication at every stage was fantastic and I'd urge anyone to apply. The money in the bank account has been very, very helpful."
These additional grants are part of programme of Covid-19 support provided by Barnsley Council and its business support arm Enterprising Barnsley.
Cllr Tim Cheetham, said: “Our aim at this very challenging time is to help ensure struggling Barnsley businesses survive so that they can thrive when we come out of lockdown restrictions; protecting jobs, innovation and the local economy for the future.”
Business owners can find out more about the three new discretionary grants, by visiting https://www.enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk/covid-19-coronavirus/ using the webchat function or emailing email@example.com
Barnsley businesses are also being asked to help break chains of transmission within their workplaces and the wider community by signing staff up to twice-weekly asymptomatic testing. Around one in three people have COVID-19 without displaying symptoms. Regular rapid result testing is now available at Barnsley Metrodome. To check eligibility and details see www.barnsley.gov.uk/coronavirus-rapid-test