Eastbourne Borough Council has earmarked funding to provide extra support for local businesses as the economic effects of Covid-19 continue to bite. 

Councillor David Tutt, Leader of the Council, said: “As long as infection rates continue to fall, we are very much looking forward to the lifting of restrictions this summer and the rejuvenation of the Eastbourne economy which, as a tourism town, has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic. 

“But in the meantime, we have been exploring what additional support we can offer to small businesses within the guidelines of the government Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).” Since this part of the country entered tier 4 restrictions on December 26, the borough council has supported more than 350 businesses with £1.2 million under the ARG. 

Following a recent review, the council will be expanding the ARG so that it can support more businesses through these schemes: 

  • Exceptional Hardship Scheme – Aimed at micro, small and medium sized businesses, this will be designed to help businesses that are still currently trading but have suffered a significant downturn in income, as well as businesses that have been mandated to close by the government. 
  • Business Adaptation Grant – This will allow businesses to access funds to cover expenses such as training or upskilling new staff, expansion of an existing business or costs associated with adaptation as a result of pandemic such as diversification into online retail or making the property Covid-compliant. 
  • Business Futures Bid Fund – This will allow local trade organisations, CICs and not-for- profit organisations to submit robust business cases for funding to support activities that will help drive the regeneration of a specific business sector. 
  • Providing support to taxi and private drivers that have seen a decrease in their trade.

Councillor Tutt said: “As we begin to emerge from the lockdown, it is vitally important that we continue to assist Eastbourne businesses through the recovery. 

“The impact of the pandemic has in both health and financial terms been devastating, but I remain optimistic that we can and will recover from it.” 

For more information visit https://www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/community/covid-19/businesses/