Cash Injection for South Tyneside Hospitality Sector
As bars and restaurants open their doors to indoor customers, hospitality businesses across South Tyneside have secured additional financial support from the council.
As part of the Government support package for businesses South Tyneside Council received £4,360,736 funds under the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). This has now all been allocated with hospitality businesses in the borough getting an additional grant 'top up' in time for further restrictions relaxing on 17 May.
Cllr Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council said: "Our hospitality sector is one of the driving forces behind our tourism economy. We have worked hand in hand with businesses throughout the pandemic to provide support where we can - from advice to help make premises covid secure to helping them access vital funding that has been made available.
"The ARG funding, whilst limited, is at the discretion of councils in terms of how it is spent. Creating the right conditions for recovery and investment is a key priority for us, as is supporting our town centres, high streets, villages and hospitality. We hope this additional funding will help hospitality businesses bounce back better in 2021.
"We know that hospitality not only attracts visitors to the borough from across the wider region, they are also heart of local communities. By working hand in hand with our business sector I hope that we can create a brighter future for South Tyneside business."
Top up grants range from £6,000 to £14,000 and have been distributed to hospitality, accommodation and event businesses already in receipt of ARG Local Restriction grant payments. The full £4.3m that the council received has now been committed.
Alex Barr, Co-Owner Barr Porter and Thai Udon Kitchen in South Shields said: "Thank you very much for this, we weren't expecting another payment. Credit to South Tyneside Council and the proactive way they have handled Covid in the last year or so. We paid all our staff throughout this period and we wouldn't have been able to without their support."
Charlotte Bell from Harley's Bar in South Shields said: "The support we have received from South Tyneside Council has been fantastic. It has enabled us to keep the business going, and to keep our staff in jobs.
"I have been in the same public house now for 40 years, starting of as a bar maid then manager then tenant then finally owner. Over those 40 years I have seen a lot of changes, from a thriving industrial area mining and shipyards.
"Through the last ten years of austerity things have been tough but nothing could have prepared us for the massive blow we have all suffered due to the pandemic - just as things seemed to be improving,
"Without the help and guidance of the South Tyneside council business support team and Environmental Health department I don't think Harley's Bar would have made it through to this point. The support and advice following the Covid 19 secure rules has been brilliant and helped to ease a lot of the stress and worry I personally have felt during the pandemic.
"Without the business grants we have received the pub would have went out of business. Thank you to the Council for administering these grants quickly and efficiently."
The allocation of ARG funding completes the distribution of covid business grants in South Tyneside. The Council has already distributed more than £40 million in grants to thousands of businesses in the Borough.
Cllr Dixon added: "South Tyneside Council has continued to listen to, and respond to, the needs of local businesses throughout the pandemic. Due to the limited resource available, we have had to make difficult decisions about how to prioritise and allocate the funding available. Unfortunately, the Council has not been able to support every business that contacted us given the financial constraints, however we have delivered these grant schemes as quickly as possible to those organisations within the criteria."
As well as distributing financial support, the council has provided environmental health advice and guidance to businesses to ensure employees, customers and visitors can operate in Covid-secure environments.
A new team of Business and Community Support Officers have also been deployed to act as key liaisons for local businesses and communities on matters relating to coronavirus guidelines.