Six businesses in Newton Aycliffe have so far benefited from a pot of funding designed specifically to help them recover from Covid.
The £5m Durham Business Recovery grant, funded by Durham County Council, is aimed at businesses affected by the Covid-19 crisis who are developing credible plans to meet the challenges caused by the pandemic – such as adapting business models, developing new products or entering new markets.
The grant scheme, overseen by Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, provides grants from £1,000 up to a maximum of £40,000 for businesses with a clear recovery plan.
It has already proved extremely popular since its launch in January, receiving 467 applications worth £6.9m.
The applications received to date from across the county will help to safeguard up to 700 jobs.
And now six Aycliffe firms have had their applications approved, totalling just under £209,000, out of £1.12m awarded in total across the county so far.
The Aycliffe beneficiaries to date include Howarth Limited, Meridian Upholstery, Planet Leisure, Raisco, BTS Fabrications and Durham Precision Engineering.
Stu Howarth, one of the directors at Howarth Ltd which runs both Newton Press and the Newton News, said: “We’ve accessed the funding to make critical machine improvements. One of the issues we’ve faced is that many of our suppliers have gone out of business, so we’ve had to find alternative solutions.
“The funding will certainly help us as we continue our evolution through the pandemic, and we’d encourage any business with an investment project to try to access the funding.
“We found the process very easy and straight forward, compared to other funding programmes, which only took a few weeks from start to finish – and we applaud Durham County Council and Business Durham for being so proactive with this funding grant.”
Stu Howarth will be the guest speaker during Aycliffe Business Park Community’s latest News & Networking event this Friday.
Across Durham county, more than 80 businesses of varying size have secured funding already with over £1.12m being awarded to date.
Two-thirds of the grants have been awarded to smaller projects, with sectors supported including business services, construction, healthcare, information and communication, retail and hospitality, manufacturing, engineering and tourism.
The scheme is supporting companies across County Durham, in all sectors and varying in size from micro-businesses to those employing up to 250 people in the County.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We launched the £5m Durham Business Recovery Grant scheme to demonstrate our commitment to local businesses and help them get back on track after the biggest economic disruption in living memory.
“With the prospect of the economy gradually starting to open up, it’s great to see so many County Durham businesses coming forward with clear recovery plans outlining how the recovery grant can give them the cash injection they need to reach new customers, manufacture new products and diversify into new markets.
“It’s vital that we continue to help businesses to adapt and thrive while safeguarding jobs and developing a sustainable economy for the long term.”
Sarah Slaven, interim managing director of Business Durham, said: “We are delighted to be able to fund these six Aycliffe businesses, together with all of the other companies that have been awarded grants so far, to help each of them tackle the challenges from the ongoing crisis and position themselves for recovery.
“Each of these companies has outlined clear recovery plans and identified how funding from the Durham Business Recovery Grant can help them to get their business back on track. It is inspiring to see the grant scheme helping businesses and giving hope for the future after such a difficult year.”
For further information on the business support available in County Durham visit www.businessdurham.co.uk.