Small Business Grant funding draws to a close

Cllr John Kaiser, executive member for finance and housing said:  “Since March we’ve paid out grants to 1,590 local small businesses, providing a lifeline to those who have been hard hit by the pandemic."

“Supporting our local economy and helping businesses thrive is incredibly important to us and remains at the forefront of our recovery plans. While the support grants will close at the end of August there is still lots going as we transition into a post lockdown world. 

"We’ve actively redeployed staff from other departments to phone all the businesses we believed might be eligible, to encourage them to apply. They have also been phoning many of the businesses which completed our original business and hospitality sector surveys, talking to them about the support the council can offer and any concerns they might have."

Since March Wokingham Borough Council has given out £39 million in financial support to thousands of businesses across the borough.

This money has been vital to our local economy helping ensure the survival of shops, cafes, hotels, restaurants and many other businesses.

  • £18.3 million Small Business and Retail and Leisure grants
  • over £1 million of discretionary grants
  • almost £20m of Business Rates relief

With the majority of grant funding now allocated, and all small businesses the council believes might be eligible contacted, a Government decision has been made to close the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund on Friday August 28.

Small businesses that believe they may be eligible for these grants but have yet to apply, must submit an application before this date in order to be assessed. The discretionary grant scheme closed in July after all funds had been distributed successfully.

Cllr Kaiser went on to say: “Last week we launched a follow up Business Survey, helping us to understand how businesses are operating and adapting in these changing times. Our website also continues to offer a range of resources, including links to other government support schemes or signposting to where businesses can get advice.

“We’ve also launched a new e-bulletin called Business Matters directly targeted at giving local businesses the information they need as well as making them aware of upcoming events that might be of interest. We already have more than 2,000 subscribers and it continues to grow.”