Published: Tuesday, 3rd August 2021
The borough council has administered £77 million worth of grants to local businesses.
The government has provided the funding for the main grant schemes, and also given councils money to create their own grant schemes to help local businesses. The Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk have used £1.1 million of this money to fund two grant schemes to help businesses grow and adapt.
Cllr Graham Middleton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member Business, Culture and Heritage, explained: “Over £667,000 has been paid out to 141 businesses through the Refresh Reopen grant, with claims of up to £10k per business, to help them with outdoor adaptations, diversifications and shop frontage work."
Tracy Peckham, owner of Cherry Tree Farm in Methwold, said: “We are a family-run petting farm with the help of 20 to 30 volunteers. The Refresh Reopen grant enables us to have an undercover seating area so our special educational needs families that come to the farm, along with all our other visitors, can sit undercover and enjoy hot and cold food out of the occasional wind and rain.”
Cllr Middleton added: “The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership for Norfolk and Suffolk managed a pilot scheme for the borough council. Businesses were able to claim up to 75% for investment through a West Norfolk Small Business grant. The scheme offered from £2.5k to £25k per business that could demonstrate that they had been impacted either negatively or positively by Covid-19 and needed investment to adapt and support longer term growth. Examples being diversification, a new product or service.
“Thirty-four businesses benefitted from this scheme, with total grants of over £466,000 paid out. This scheme has proved very popular and I know other districts in Norfolk and Suffolk have followed the progress of this scheme with interest.”
From its base in King’s Lynn, E.S. Entertainments offer hire and retail of sound, lighting and audio-visual equipment for weddings, birthdays and corporate events across East Anglia. Owner Alan Bright said: “The pandemic hit us hard, no weddings, Christmas or New Year parties. I’m now busy PAT testing and updating firmware on our equipment for our first gigs in August. I’m even getting enquiries for weddings next year as far away as Colchester.
“The van I used to transport the equipment was 20 years old and starting to creak. I did not have the confidence that it would get me to venues that had booked our services.
“Without the van we’re snookered, a reliable van is 99% of the survivability of my business. The West Norfolk Small Business grant has helped buy a 2015 Peugeot Boxer van. It’s good to know as business is picking up that I can deliver on customer bookings, and confidently get from A to B.”
Cllr Middleton said: “Over 77 million pounds has been paid out in total to west Norfolk businesses since the start of the pandemic. The additional grants we have offered are an excellent example of how we are helping our businesses grow and develop so the west Norfolk economy leaves the pandemic in the strongest position that we can be in.”
Owner of Cherry Tree Farm, Tracy Peckham, explains what they do and how grants from the borough council have helped her business grow and adapt: