£1.15 million grant programme launched to help small businesses

Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is launching a new £1.15 million grant programme to help small businesses meet some of the extra costs created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cheshire & Warrington Recovery & Restructure Grant can offer an 80% grant up to £5,000 (or 60% on items purchased from 01 May – 23 July 2020) to support eligible Cheshire & Warrington businesses adjust to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The grants are open to trading small and medium enterprises, social enterprises, charities or sole trader* based in the Cheshire or Warrington LEP area. To be eligible, businesses need to have been trading for at least 12 months.

The project is being managed by Blue Orchid Enterprise Solutions of behalf of the Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership. Around 50% of the funding is being directed towards the region’s hard hit visitor economy, targeting tourism, hospitality and retail businesses with support. The balance will be paid to SMEs in the wider economy.

The grant can pay towards capital items business may need to recover or restructure their business to trade through the Covid-19 outbreak.Examples of the support that can be provided includes:

  • IT equipment, e.g. Tablet & Contact payment systems, ICT equipment to support homeworking (Please see below for additional details)
  • Fixed PPE equipment e.g. plastics screens & sanitiser dispensers
  • Building alterations e.g. creation of one-way systems, building of outdoor seating, serving hatches etc.

The grant cannot pay for day-to-day running costs, servicing debt or towards cash flow. Other Government programmes are available to help with these issues.

Clare Hayward MBE DL, Chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP said:We know all too well through the work our Business Growth Hub team is doing, supporting local businesses, just how tough it is out there. These are market conditions that no one has experienced before. We will continue to work tirelessly to help companies of every size get along the road to recovery. This round of small business grants has a big focus on the visitor economy and follows on from the £15.5 million of support we have secured from the government’s Getting Building Fund for key projects in Cheshire East, Chester West and Warrington.”

Some 50% of the cash for the Restructure & Recovery Grant comes from the Growing Places Fund which the C&W LEP Board has approved the use of in the form of grants to small businesses to be invested in ways that will support businesses to re-open, operate and grow in a Covid-safe way.

The balance has been made available through the Growth Hub network for existing European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)) Growth Hub projects or a nominated ERDF project under Priority Axis 3, ‘Enhancing the Competitiveness of small and medium sized enterprises’ and directed at supporting need for marketing and COVID-related consultancy.

To apply, please visit the Blue Orchid website https://blueorchid.co.uk/cheshire-warrington-recovery-restructure-grant/

*ICT equipment for sole traders will be capped at £1,000