The Council has secured additional funding from Government of approximately £700,000 to continue to support businesses through the impact of COVID – 19. Whilst some of this money will be used to meet the final grants from previous discretionary schemes, the Council has approved a new discretionary grant scheme, designed to have a longer legacy for local businesses and the Rother economy.
The scheme has been designed to provide support to businesses within five distinct areas:
- Businesses closed due COVID 19 isolation
- Rural Businesses
- Empty Shops
- Empty Businesses rated property
- Staff Training and Development
Business Interruption Grant
Grants will be available to any business that has employees forced to cease trading for at least 5 consecutive days due to their staff not being able attend work due to either having COVID or having to self isolate under current Government guidelines. Proof of positive PCR tests or confirmation from NHS Test and Trace will be required. The grant will be based upon the rateable value of the business premises up to a maximum £4,000 for a 10 day isolation period. There is no limit on the number of applications from businesses to cover the period up to 31 March 2022.
The following grants will be made:
- Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value of exactly £15,000 or under will receive a payment of £1,333.
- Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a payment of £2,666.
- Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or over will receive a payment of £4,000.
Rother has a significant rural economy and due to a number of factors, many are struggling to remain viable, especially through difficulties in recruitment. Grants will be available to those businesses incurring additional costs to remain operational. This would not extend to bed and breakfast or holiday type accommodation which have been supported throughout the pandemic by grant payments. Rural means any business located outside of the parish of Bexhill. The maximum grant will be £30,000.
Grants can be used to help Business development. Due to restrictions from the government on the use of the grant we envisage the money will be used to meet day to day operational costs of the business in order to free up cash resources to invest in business improvement, expansion or relocation. The grant can be used to sustain the business through a period of transition such as relocation within or to the Rother area.
Empty Shops and the High Street
This grant is to support retail shopping to help improve the visual impact of occupied and unoccupied shops in the district. This grant will be available to shop owners/landlords and we may work through our local Chambers of Commerce or other similar bodies to help deliver it. The maximum grant per shop will be £1,500.
The grant can be used for temporary displays or attractive window coverings to improve the look of vacant shops in our towns and villages. The grant can also be used for shop front maintenance and repair of occupied properties including painting but does not include improvements such as replacement windows or doors.
Empty Business Rated property
In the district there are vacant retail, industrial and other commercial premises that are a wasted resource to the local economy. To encourage new businesses or business expansion to the area it is proposed to provide one-off grants This grant would not be open to landlords but is to their new tenants. The maximum grant will be £20,000
The grant can be used to cover fixed property costs such as rent for up to two years. This could also extend to cover interest on business loans for those businesses acquiring property in the district.
Staff Training and Development
We are aware that many businesses are struggling to retain and recruit staff. Grants are available to all business sectors to help staff recruitment and retention. The maximum grant will be £15,000
The grant can be used by Rother business to pay for relevant training through accredited providers.
How to Apply
If you would like to apply for a making a difference Discretionary Business Grant you can register online and submit any evidence electronically
Business Interruption Grant – Closing Date 25 March 2022
For this grant there is a simple application process broadly in line with our previous COVID business grants. The application process details the supporting information requirements.
Other Grant Applications – Round 1 Closing Date has been extended until 14 January 2022
Applications for this grant will be assessed by a panel appointed by the Council. Applications will be assessed at the same time in case awards need to be moderated to the available funding. The assessment process will need to be satisfied as to the viability of the business and take into consideration the impact on the local economy and employment should it fail.
Business and employment support
To improve the longer term impact of the grants, where appropriate we would like businesses to work with our partners such as the Business East Sussex Growth Hub and Job Centre Plus, to ensure the funding achieves the best long-term impact for the local economy. Details will be provided to successful applicants.
Post Award reporting
In accepting a grant, businesses will be expected to report on the impact the funding has had in helping their financial viability. Where relevant, reporting will include providing evidence of continuing employment of staff.