East Devon enterprises applaud council for rapid response to covid funds

Covid recovery

East Devon businesses have received millions in Covid support - Credit: Geralt

East Devon District Council provided essential support to local businesses with grants totalling more than £83.3m for 14,839 approved cases since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In all, council officers managed 12 different schemes, handled over 15,000 applications and many more enquiries. One of the grant funds, the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), received over 1000 applications resulting in payments totalling £4,265,181. As a result, further Government funding of £1.14m will now become available. 
The top up funding will be available to local firms through a new recovery fund, matched by £1m from East Devon District Council. The fund is designed to support East Devon businesses’ recovery from the pandemic and will be launched in early Autumn
Cllr Jack Rowland, East Devon District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Finance, said: “The funding we administered offered a lifeline to many businesses, with hospitality businesses being amongst the hardest hit. 
“However, we recognise that not all businesses benefitted due to restrictions placed on the funds by Government.
“Now that we are on the brink of relaxation of Government restrictions, personal responsibility will come to the fore. This will present more challenges for businesses in ensuring that staff and customers alike continue to feel safe.
“ In addition, furlough is ending, the impact of a tight labour market and the end of financial support from Government, all present concerns for businesses.
“We are now at the beginning of the next phase in Covid recovery and we will do everything we can to support local firms.
“On behalf of all councillors, I want to thank all the staff involved for the fantastic work they have carried out in administering the various support schemes in a timely manner. The schemes have presented challenges in interpretation, formulating policies for approval, designing systems at short notice and then dealing with the applications and any associated questions. The staff have risen to all the challenges and the results are a testament to that.”
 Kevin Cahill, director of Beer Quarry Caves, said: “We received our restart grant in record time – within four days of applying. This was possible with the excellent support of Council staff who helped us overcome technical issues. We would like to thank staff on behalf of all of us here at Beer Quarry Caves. With your help we are now open and have enjoyed our second appearance on Songs of Praise.”
John Magill, of Powderkeg Brewery, said: “The news about grant funding was fantastic news. Thanks very much for taking the time to consider the application and for the grant. It will make a big difference. We promise to continue to fly the flag for East Devon and its great producers!”
Laura Woodward-Drake, School Manager, Mountlands Language School LTD, said: “The email we received about grant funding was possibly the best news we've had in a long while. Thanks so much for the Council’s support - we completely understand that managing all these grants can be difficult with all the varying rules, so we were disappointed when we kept falling through the gaps.  It's so great to be recognised and supported.”
 

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