30 April 2021| | 3 min read
New fund launched to help Newcastle business ‘Springback’
Hundreds of businesses in Newcastle are set to benefit from an additional £1.2 million package of support.
A new Springback fund will provide grants worth £1,500 for businesses to help them adjust and thrive as their sectors of the economy begin to reopen.
The £900K fund will open to applications from home-based businesses and mobile operators such as driving instructors, child-care providers, window cleaners and coffee carts on Tuesday 4 May, and will be primarily targeted towards those who have missed out on earlier grants support schemes.
A further £300K is earmarked for essential businesses allowed to operate during lockdown, but which were significantly impacted by reduced footfall such as newsagents, takeaways, and nurseries.
Michelle Percy, director of place at Newcastle City Council said: “These have been incredibly challenging times for businesses, and we have been doing everything we can to support them through the pandemic. We’ve distributed tens of millions in business support grants, but there is still a significant demand for more help
“As part of this, we’ve lobbied government hard to secure funding to support those in need. As soon as we received confirmation of this new funding, our teams worked flat out to have processes in place to ensure fast access to these grants to help preserve livelihoods and support our local economy.
“Although we have received further funding, sadly again we expect demand to outstrip our allocation, so we are urging businesses to apply as soon as the fund launches as we expect this funding to go quickly.
“We are also able to provide further support to essential businesses who were allowed to stay open during lockdown but are financially suffering due to the reduced footfall and high fixed costs. Again, funding is limited, and our teams are working through a reserve list from the previous round of funding to fast-track payments worth £4,000 to a further 75 businesses.
“As part of our essential grant scheme, we set aside grants for the 4,000 taxi drivers in the city. Most have applied for a one-off grant of £250 and we are urging the remaining 30% to come forward so we can process their payments.
“With easing of restrictions and the success of the vaccination programme, we can start to see the city returning to some resemblance of normality, and we want to see every business in the city recover and our great city thrive again.”
The funding is from the government’s third round of Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) allocation which has been recalculated to reflect the city’s business density more accurately, rather than population numbers.
The earlier rounds of ARG funding had been based on population figures which reduced Newcastle’s allocation. This meant Newcastle, which has a higher proportion of businesses within key sectors than neighbouring councils, had a smaller proportion of money to go around its businesses, leaving the authority’s limited funding fully allocated. It is expected that the next round will similarly be allocated within a short-time period also.
To apply for the new grants, businesses are urged to get their applications in as soon as possible from the 4 May at www.newcastle.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport as funding will be allocated in order of application, with priority given to those businesses that have missed out on funding previously, and have been legally prevented from trading.
Full details and eligibility criteria are published on the council’s website.
Essential businesses on the council’s reserve list will be contacted directly by the council to confirm payments. As part of the essential business grant scheme, taxis drivers were eligible for a one-off payment of £250, with 30% of the city’s taxi drivers still to claim their grant.
Since the start of the pandemic, Newcastle City Council has administered over £100 million in business support grants. The council are also working with many partners including NGI and NE1 to help shape plans for the city’s recovery post-pandemic.