Middlesbrough businesses have now had more than £20m in support grants processed to aid them through the coronavirus outbreak, winning praise from the Federation of Small Businesses.
Middlesbrough Council began paying out to local businesses before government money was provided and the authority has now received numerous messages of gratitude for the rapid response.
The Federation of Small Businesses praised the council, saying “We want to celebrate that Middlesbrough is going the extra mile to help businesses”.
Among the more than 1,700 Middlesbrough businesses to receive a grant from Middlesbrough Council is Stainsby Grange Equestrian Centre.
Jade Lemmon, riding school co-ordinator, said: “We want to say a big thank you to Middlesbrough Council for the grant we received in response to the Covid-19 situation.
“The grant has meant a great deal to us with the riding school completely closed we had no revenue coming in at all.
“But unfortunately the upkeep cost of the horses and their welfare needs to continue so with the grant we have been able to keep some staff in employment and we’ve been able to make sure that all the horses’ needs are met.
“We are ready that when all this is over we can get straight back to business and we will still be here for all our clients.”
The council has also launched its Buy Boro campaign with a free online directory to encourage residents to buy from local businesses at www.buyboro.co.uk.
Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said: “I can’t say strongly enough how important it is for us all to support our local businesses in Middlesbrough and that’s why we acted so quickly to start giving grants out before we’d received a penny from the Government.
“The next priority is that we all try as much as possible to buy local from our brilliant independent businesses.
“For every £1 spent with a local business or trader between 50p and 70p stays in the local economy – with the big chains or online businesses that drops to 5p.
“It’s an absolutely staggering figure and if you add the fact that for every extra 10% spent locally 100 local jobs are created you don’t need to say anymore about the importance of buying locally.”
• Middlesbrough Council officers are attempting to contact businesses that have not submitted a request for support by email and phone. Anyone who thinks they may be eligible for support should visit www.middlesbrough.gov.uk and click on the Help for Your Business tab.