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Next round of 'life saving' business grants set to open

Edit - Round two of this fund has now closed.

Round two of a grant funding scheme for Moorlands businesses - described by recent recipients as 'a life saver' that has made 'a world of difference' - is set to re-open for new applications on Friday (17 July) and close on Monday 27th July.

Small businesses with ongoing fixed property costs who have experienced a significant drop in income as a result of Covid-19 can apply to Staffordshire Moorlands Council for a Discretionary Business Grant.

This fund is aimed at businesses that fell outside the scope of the previous grants for small businesses and those in retail, hospitality and leisure.

The first application round closed in June and so far 98 businesses ranging from beauty salons to day care centres, a luxury handmade garden furniture company and a business that supplies vitamins, minerals and health supplements have all received grants.

And for some the funding means they can keep the strong team they've build together during these uncertain times as Clifton Bradeley, Managing Director of Biobrade Super Supplements told us:

"Thank you so much for your support. The whole Covid-19 situation hit us like so many other businesses in the area. We had to close our doors for a period of several weeks which meant our usual income dropped. We are such a great business with a wonderful team. It has been an extremely worrying time and we worked desperately hard to keep our team together.

"This grant has made a world of difference and meant we could pay delayed invoices and other expenses. It has been a life saver and I thank all those involved. We will get through this and come out the other end stronger."

For other companies, it means they have been able to keep local people in jobs. Kate Cruxton, from My Calm in Leek wellness centre, said: "Until I received this grant my business had not had any financial help at all during this time. I have been in business since 2007 and this money will prevent me going bankrupt and help me keep local people in jobs. Thank you so very much."

And for Daybreak Day Opportunities in Biddulph, the grant means they can continue to provide the much-valued day care services for older people.

Fiona Fowler said: "I would like to say a big thank you on behalf of my Daybreak partner Sandra Shenton and myself for your kind and generous grant payment. This will really help to keep us afloat in these difficult times. Some of our clients have been extremely isolated during this period and we're very much looking forward to welcoming them back."

Eligible businesses must have fewer that 50 employees and be able to demonstrate a significant drop in income due to Coronavirus restriction measures alongside evidence of fixed property costs and their accounts.

Councillor Sybil Ralphs, Council Leader and Cabinet member for Regeneration and Finance, said: "Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on businesses so we're delighted to be able to open this grant funding scheme up to new applicants.

"You need only read the comments made by those people whose businesses have received grants to understand the very real difference this funding has made, and will make, to companies large and small across the Staffordshire Moorlands.

"There's more information on our website and I would urge any business that thinks they might be eligible who hasn't previously applied to do so so we can make sure the funding is used to ensure the maximum number of businesses across our district benefit from it."

The amount awarded to each successful applicant is at the discretion of the Council and the application process is straightforward as Jan from Riverco Garden Furniture in Leek explained:

"I'm sure local businesses feel it's not worth applying as it is too good to be true which is what I thought at the time. However, I took the time to apply which was not too time consuming and I am delighted with the end result. Thank you so much - it will be most helpful for the ongoing future of our business."