Covid fund delivers final £300k support package
August 3, 2021
Over £300,000 was paid out at the end of July to Sunderland businesses hit most severely by Covid-19 restrictions, thanks to a Sunderland City Council-managed support scheme.
Set up by Government to provide a lifeline to businesses impacted by the pandemic, the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund has issued over £9million since its launch in September last year, supporting more than 1,800 of the hardest-hit businesses in the city.
A total of 800 companies benefited from the latest tranche of funding of £1.1m, which was ringfenced specifically for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure (HAL) sectors including those operating from shared premises as well as those in the supply chain, with additional support for those most severely impacted by the restrictions which remained in place until mid-July.
The ARG fund - which has been released in a series of rounds to channel support to businesses that needed it most during the pandemic - has been administered by Sunderland City Council and has been directed to a broad range of businesses during what has been one of the most testing trading periods in recent history.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader at Sunderland City Council, said: "We know the challenges that businesses across the city have faced over the last 18 months as the country has battled the pandemic, and we have worked tirelessly to ensure that we have channelled support to reduce its impact on the city's businesses.
"Covid restrictions have impacted businesses to varying extents, but we've worked hard to ensure that funding has been targeted to maximise its impact. Teams at the council have worked extremely hard in order to get more than £9m into the bank accounts of the city's businesses as efficiently as possible at key points throughout the pandemic, and we know that this has saved many of Sunderland's traders, and protected livelihoods in the process.
"It's been an incredibly challenging time for everyone but, as we come out of restrictions, I'm proud of the efforts of the council to channel resources to support those businesses hardest hit by Covid which have helped Sunderland to come through this crisis on the best footing."
Tate's Travel was one of 26 companies to benefit from the latest grant extension payments and has praised the impact it has had on its business.
Speaking about the support, owner Lee Tate, said: "The grants from Sunderland City Council have been invaluable to us. The travel sector has been one of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic as, not only have we lost almost all of our custom during this period, but we've also had to continue paying staff to manage and distribute refunds throughout the year.
"While the government support such as furlough went a long way to supporting us during the first lockdown, the winding down of business support really impacted us and we couldn't be more grateful to the team at Sunderland City Council for their continued support over the past year and a half.
"From the open and closed grants to the extended ARG funding, their support has allowed us to keep job losses at a minimum and ensure our business operated as lean as possible throughout. They've been a great support."
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