Woven Durhams Chris Hayes Afront The Store

Businesses and retailers across the City of Durham parish area have welcomed the recent support from the local parish council in the form of its business resilience grant.

Last month, the City of Durham Parish Council announced an emergency business resilience fund of £30,000 to provide urgent support to local businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and provide reassurance to visitors and residents.

Grants of up to £1,000 per business were agreed and the funding made available to successful applicants within 48 hours of applying. The fund was introduced to cover the additional costs of making businesses COVID-19 health and safety compliant.

Director of Woven Durham, Chris Hayes, said: "At a difficult time for small independent businesses across the country, the COVID-19 Business Resilience Fund from the City of Durham Parish Council has provided us with a lifeline and has enabled us to prepare our store for reopening safely. We have implemented an online appointment system alongside numerous other safety measures in-store which will enable our customers to shop with us in confidence."

Colin Wilkes, Managing Director of Durham Markets Company, commented: “The last few months have been challenging for many of our traders. These grants from City of Durham Parish Council have been a lifeline, coming at just the right time as stalls are able to reopen in the Market Hall. Traders have been able to invest in COVID-security measures for their stalls, and these, in turn, give shoppers the confidence to return and shop in the Market Hall.”

Chair of the City of Durham Parish Council, Councillor Elizabeth Scott, said: “We have heard some really reassuring and heart-warming stories from a number of the local businesses we have been able to support with this unprecedented level of funding from any parish council anywhere.

"Almost 50 businesses in our parish have been safeguarded and, in some cases, businesses have told us they wouldn’t have been able to reopen at all without the support they have received. But of course, this is a very worrying time for anyone who owns a business and those in employment and our immediate concern now is for the long-term vitality of those businesses. The parish council is continuing to work with key partners to ensure that we have a road to recovery as soon as possible.”  

This grant funding follows an earlier announcement that the parish council has contracted the services of award-winning retail consultant Graeme Soult in an effort to provide support to businesses.

Shaun Tate
Article by Shaun Tate
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