Town centre businesses have been making the most of a special grant scheme to help them stay Covid-secure.
Middlesbrough Council unveiled the support scheme aimed at small businesses and the self-employed last month.
Eligible businesses can apply for grants of up to £100 to cover the cost of protective measures such as hand sanitiser, face coverings, screens, chair covers and other such items.
So far nearly 30 firms have received grants – and others are being urged to come forward.
Among the first to benefit was Rounton Coffee, who used the cash to provide face coverings for staff at their Bedford Street coffee shop and at The Corner at Debenhams.
Founder David Beattie said: “Our industry is suffering enormously, and confidence in the hospitality sector is at an all-time low.
“We need every little bit of help we can get if we’re to survive, so this £100 contribution to our PPE is really welcome.
“It’s massively encouraging to know that people are looking out for us, and I’d encourage any eligible business to take advantage while the scheme’s still open.”
Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said: “These are really tough times for businesses, and it can be especially hard for small enterprises which are so important for our local economy.
“We’re doing everything we can to get them the support they need, and we will continue to press Government for more funding.
“These grants might be small, but they can still make a big difference as Rounton Coffee have shown.
“When they’re gone they’re gone, so I urge anyone who’s eligible to take advantage while they can.
• The small grants programme is being funded by money allocated to the Council to support its Local Outbreak Management Plan by central government.
Only Covid-19 protective items bought on or after September 23 are eligible. Businesses that have already accessed Covid grant funding can still make a claim under this scheme.
To make an application or find out more about eligibility visit middlesbrough.gov.uk/PPEgrant.
• For the latest local updates and information, visit www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/covid19
For information on local help and support, visit Help Boro at middlesbrough.gov.uk/helpboro or call Middlesbrough Council’s support line 01642 729777
The latest advice from Government and Public Health England can be found at gov.uk/coronavirus.