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New £500k West Norfolk business re-opening support programme launched

Independent businesses in West Norfolk are being urged to apply for a new grant scheme intended to help them meet the costs of adapting their trade to meet coronavirus restrictions.

A £500,000 pot has been set aside by West Norfolk Council for the Refresh and Reopen programme, which was launched on Friday.

The money is being drawn from central government support intended to help areas cope with Covid restrictions.

King's Court, Borough Council of West Norfolk.. (43755272)
King's Court, Borough Council of West Norfolk.. (43755272)

The scheme is intended to support businesses which operate in the retail, hospitality, recreation, leisure, culture, tourism or events sectors and are not part of a chain.

The authority says grants awarded through the fund can only cover spending undertaken since the announcement of the government's roadmap for easing restrictions in February.

A maximum of £10,000 can be allocated in a single grant and the money must be spent, and works completed, by August 1.

A council statement said: "The grants will provide up to 75 per cent of eligible costs towards work to premises such as outdoor structures or equipment, barriers or one-way set ups, umbrellas or other temporary weather-shielding structure.

"It could also help fund online solutions such as ticketing, ordering or payment.

"This fund can also be used towards shop front improvements to make the premises feel more welcoming to local people and visitors."

The authority says money will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and the scheme will close on May 30 at the latest. It will end sooner if all the money has been allocated.

Applications should be made by visiting west-norfolk.gov.uk/refreshandreopengrant, where full details of the scheme and eligibility are available.

The borough council has already distributed nearly £72 million of government grant support to businesses during the coronavirus crisis, including almost £10 million in restart grants to eligible firms.

Applications are also open for a Go Digital scheme which offers support and advice on how to grow a business online.

The latest round closes on June 30. More details are available via www.norfolk.gov.uk/GoDigital.

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