Through the council's Covid Recovery Grants scheme, 190 business grants and 66 community grants have been approved for funding. The scheme was launched in August 2020 and aimed to provide support to organisations that were struggling due to the pandemic but were either not eligible for Government grants or needed additional support.

Businesses and community groups were invited to apply for small grants of up to £1,000 towards the cost of keeping their staff, volunteers, customers and clients safe.

Larger match funded grants of up to £5,000 were also available to help put measures in place to aid their recovery from lockdown. A good example of this is Concierge Camping near Chichester. This business received a grant of just over £2,700, which was used to help improve their outdoor hospitality space.

Guy Hodgkin, Director of Concierge Camping, says "Having an outdoor area that is Covid-secure will have long term benefits for the safety of our customers. It will allow them to relax and enjoy themselves without the worry, with plenty of space and protection from the weather. What the council has done within the constraints to support us has been absolutely fantastic. It's been lovely to have the financial support and we're now ready to run as soon as we're allowed to open."

Councillor Tony Dignum, Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration at Chichester District Council, says "We were overwhelmed with applications for business grants and Concierge Camping is just one example of the 147 businesses that have already received support. It's been an incredibly difficult year for all our local businesses so we are really pleased to have been able to support them in this way.

"If there are any businesses that are still struggling due to Covid, a number of Government grant schemes are open for applications. You can find the latest information on the support available and how to apply at Coronavirus support for businesses. Following the publication of the Government's Budget, we are waiting for further details around the announcement of additional funding for businesses beyond 1 April 2021. As soon as we have more details, we will update businesses through our email newsletter, social media channels, and on our website at Coronavirus support for businesses."

Councillor Roy Briscoe, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Culture at Chichester District Council, says "Community groups have also faced many challenges throughout the pandemic while working hard to provide support for in some cases the most vulnerable in their communities. This funding has been used purchase Personal Protective Equipment and sanitising equipment to enable important community services to continue running in a Covid-safe way."

The 12th Chichester Scout Group received a £1,000 community grant. The majority of this funding has been used to purchase a large folding gazebo, providing cost-effective outdoor cover that will enable the group to hold socially distanced activities outdoors in all weathers. The grant is also being used to purchase essential equipment to make the inside of the Scout Headquarters safe for both group members and the community to use.

Tony Tunnell, Group Scout Leader, says "We are really grateful for this funding. It's been a difficult year with all of our face-to-face meetings being put on hold due to the pandemic. We have worked hard to continue Scouting via Zoom in all three sections (Beavers, Cubs and Scouts), but we look forward to welcoming our young people back as soon as it is safe to do so. Scouts offers young people the chance to learn new skills, go on adventures, meet new friends, and make a difference in their community, which has a positive impact on their health and wellbeing. The safety of our members is a top priority and the gazebo will allow us to run more activities outside following social distancing guidelines when the Government restrictions allow us to meet again."

The council's Covid Recovery Grants scheme for both businesses and community groups is now closed for applications. The remaining grants will be paid out to successful applicants on the completion of their projects.

Date of release: 9 March 2021

Reference: 3981