A COMPREHENSIVE package of funding, totalling £4.5m, will be used to support economic recovery and help businesses across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole bounce back from Covid-19 pandemic.

The funding will target businesses who have suffered a significant reduction in income but, as of yet, have not received any grant support.

The first of which is a £750,000 Exceptional Circumstances Fund which was launched this week.

Deputy Leader of BCP Council and Portfolio Holder for Economy and Regeneration Councillor Philip Broadhead said: “Following the most immediate streams of targeted business support issued at the start of the year, we promised to deliver a long-term package of financial support for local businesses and the community as a whole, so we are now pleased to be providing grants to businesses who have missed out on previous schemes.

“We are dedicated and determined to give our businesses the support they need to get back on their feet as they look to restart, rebuild and create jobs.

“It’s critical we get these grants into the hands of businesses as quickly as possible in order to achieve the best bounce back possible, so I am delighted that we are able to launch this latest package of funding."

The funding will be split to target various different organisations both for direct grants and for wider business support measures.

Further details for this scheme will be released next week and organisations will have to apply to be considered for the grants of up to £1,000.

In addition to the Exceptional Circumstances Fund, BCP Council’s package of support includes a Bounce Back Challenge Fund, whereby businesses and organisations can put forward applications for either small scale projects of up to £15,000 or large scale initiatives of up to £70,000 to help them recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

These will be assessed by a panel considering outcomes of economic growth, innovation and pride in our place.

The council will also allocate budgets to R3 Economy Recovery Taskforce groups, as well as Bournemouth Town Centre BID, Bournemouth Coastal BID and Poole BID.

Local partner organisations and Economic Development and regeneration projects will also benefit from financial support from the council.

The schemes are close to being finalised, and details are expected to come out in early April with the eligibility criteria and how to apply.

Councillor Broadhead added: “I am pleased to be able to announce that we are aiming to get approximately £23million in Restart Grants out to our businesses shortly after the Easter holidays.

“These much-needed funds are to support businesses that are predominantly reliant on delivering in-person services for the general public from their business premises and will be paid directly to businesses that have already been awarded a Local Restrictions Support Grant for the period from February 16 to March 31.

“Depending on rateable value, these awards will vary from £2,667 to £6,000 for non-essential retail businesses and from £8,000 to £18,000 for businesses in the hospitality, leisure, accommodation, personal care and gyms and sport sectors where the criteria is met.”

Full details of the Restart Grant scheme and eligibility criteria are now available on the Council’s website.

An application form for new applicants will also be made available once initial grants have been made.

Further updates will be added to the financial support for businesses page on the BCP Council website next week.