A whopping £92 million in Government grants has been paid out to local businesses by Plymouth City Council since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as part of a massive effort to keep businesses in the city going.
A huge team of 50 staff from several departments across the Council was involved in the largest business grant exercise the Council has ever done, supporting 7,440 Plymouth businesses.
Council Leader Nick Kelly said: “This was truly a Herculean task that we faced, but I’m incredibly proud of how hard our staff worked to get this crucial financial support to Plymouth businesses as quickly as they could, which undoubtedly saved livelihoods and kept businesses afloat.
“It is really important we recognise the scale and effort of the work went into leading and delivering the Government’s Covid business grants scheme – particularly as we pay out our last payment on our last scheme.
“The task was challenging and complex but everyone applied themselves amazingly and stepped up when it was needed the most.
“The feedback from the business community has been universally positive with many letters of thanks from individual businesses and from organisations such as the FBS, Devon & Plymouth Chamber and the Plymouth Manufacturers group.”
There were 16 separate Government grant schemes to administer between March 2020 and July 2021, including the Local Restrictions Support Grant, Additional Restrictions Grant, Restart Grant and funding offered when the city was under tiered restrictions. A total of 19,435 payments were made during this time.
Staff from all across the Council were involved in the business grants scheme, all with the aim of offering as much support as much as possible during the unprecedented times faced by businesses.
This including running a business helpline, providing FAQs and regular updates on Council and Invest Plymouth website and proactively reaching out to businesses that were eligible for payments to ensure they didn’t miss out on the funding made available by Government.
The support was vital to help businesses survive ongoing restrictions. Local business owner Marcus Lewis, who runs Switch Ltd on North Hill, said: “I couldn’t have been happier with how Plymouth City Council handled my grant situation.
“Having multiple businesses over multiple sites meant it was confusing at first, making sure that I had the correct codes and reference numbers, but with the help from the Council everything went extremely smoothly.
“During what was an incredibly stressful 16 months, the grants were a life-saver and without them we would have been in a real mess.
“I have had many dealings with the Council over the years and, true to form, they handled this the same as they have with every situation. They were nothing short of incredible.”