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More grant funding available for local businesses

by Editor Lowton and Golborne News

Businesses in Lowton and Golborne who are in the wedding, events and entertainment sector may be eligible for grant funding from the council to help them recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wigan Council has £1.5million of government funding, which will be distributed across three phases over the coming months.

The first phase of the scheme went live on Tuesday 10 August and is for businesses working in or supporting the wedding, events and entertainment sectors who may have been ineligible for national schemes or have not received grants since early 2020.

Leader of Wigan Council, Cllr David Molyneux said: “Throughout the pandemic, we have worked hard to ensure as many businesses are supported as possible through the timely distribution of vital funds.

“Some businesses have been unable to benefit from national schemes and the delay to the lifting of restrictions by four weeks resulted in businesses continuing to experience reduced income.

“This funding model has been specifically designed to support these businesses and to alleviate some of the pressures they have faced.”

The council recently asked borough businesses to complete a survey to understand how the local economy had been impacted by Covid-19.

 Businesses were asked about how the pandemic had affected them, if they had received funding previously and what support they ideally needed to bounce-back.

Cllr Molyneux added: “The survey was a vital exercise to highlight the barriers our businesses have experienced over the last 18 months.

“It was clear from the responses we received, as well as conversations nationally, that the wedding, events and entertainment sector felt forgotten, which is why we have prioritised them with this first round of funding.”

Last week, Cllr Nazia Rehman, the local authority’s cabinet member for transformation and finance, approved a new policy for the funding distribution, meaning the money will soon reach bank accounts.

She said: “Though we welcome the money we have received, there isn’t enough to share between the thousands of businesses in our borough.

“This is why a new policy was created, so we could ensure we’re supporting those who need it most. We’ve made a strategic decision to stagger the funds over three rounds in the coming months, each of which will target different businesses and will have different allocation processes.

“Phase one has now opened, meaning that eligible businesses will benefit from a fixed payment of £1,000.

“The following two phases are expected to open later this year after our teams finalise the allocation processes.”

Once live, phase two will have two strands. The first will focus on larger, established businesses in the borough with high employment numbers and the second will be directed at businesses who can demonstrate a future growth opportunity. Further eligibility criteria applies.

Businesses eligible for funding in phase one are asked to submit an application via the council’s website before the deadline in four weeks’ time.

For more information, please visit www.wigan.gov.uk/arg.