Covid grants making a difference to businesses

Businesses across Rother are fighting the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic with the help of ‘making a difference’ grants totalling more than £630,000.

Rother District Council has worked closely with the business community to ensure 62 local companies so far have been able to access the grants, which were among a range of financial support offered to local businesses to help them recover from the pandemic.

The funding, distributed between November 2021 and January this year, has included almost £300,000 for rural businesses and close to £180,000 to help local firms help train and develop staff through discretionary grants established by the district council.

Software company On Tap, based at the Old Cinema in Rye, was one company that has benefited from a rural business grant designed to help rural companies remain viable and develop their business.

Director, Jane Brook said: “We are beyond thrilled and are in planning mode with the next stage of our business development. I want to say a big thank you to Rother District Council in raising awareness about this grant – it’s a fantastic opportunity for us.”

Oastbrook Estate Vineyard, near Robertsbridge, also received a rural business grant which is supporting their business development.

Co-owner America Brewer said: “We and the team at Oastbrook are very grateful to receive this grant and the opportunity it offers to provide jobs and develop our business through improving out online presence and assisting with the marketing of our local on-site sales and activities at our cellar door.”

Co-owner Nick Brewer added: “The number of vineyards in Sussex has increased significantly in the last few years and the development of wine tourism has the potential to offer great opportunities for local employment and rural regeneration.”

Bow Ties Tearoom in Bexhill was given a grant to support staff training and development.

Alison Frost, who runs the Western Road business, said: “I’m delighted with the support from Rother District Council. It’s enabled me to invest in my staff and enhance customer service. This will help Bow Ties weather the Covid storm”.

Cllr Christine Bayliss, Rother District Council’s portfolio holder for economic development and regeneration, said: “Local businesses have faced huge financial pressures as a result of the unprecedented disruption caused by Covid and two years of restrictions.

“The fact that we have been able to support so many businesses on the road to recovery in Rother since November is a real achievement and it’s great to see the difference it has made to local businesses like Oastbrook Estate Vineyard, On Tap and Bow Ties.

“As well as helping individual businesses, the financial support has helped to boost the local economy and support growth in job and skills, which is great for the district as a whole.”

Between January and December last year Rother District Council has paid out more than £19 million in national and discretionary Covid Business Support Grants. Ends.

Published: 2nd March 2022