Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) recently announced a new £1.15m grant programme to help businesses to get back to work. In no time, Cheshire and Warrington businesses snapped up the funds. 

A statement on the grant website said, “Due to unprecedented demand, the C&W Recovery & Restructure Grant application portal is currently closed as we have committed our current allocation of funds”. 

Funded by the Cheshire & Warrington LEP and managed by Blue Orchid Enterprise Solutions, this grant aimed to help small businesses to make the necessary investment to re-open and operate safely in these difficult times. 

The grant was open to small and medium enterprises, charities, social enterprises or sole traders that had been trading for at least 12 months in the Cheshire & Warrington LEP area. 

The Cheshire & Warrington Recovery & Restructure Grant offers up to 80% of £5,000 on items you haven’t purchased yet (or 60% on items purchased from May 1 to July 2020. 

Helping Businesses Become Covid Secure 

The grant is designed to help businesses that need to make significant changes in their business operations, adapt their business model, recover employees from furlough, reopen with PPE to protect staff/customers. 

The grant does not apply to day-to-day operational expenses, cash flow or to pay off debt. 

Once an application is approved, the applicant business must purchase the goods and equipment necessary for their business and submit a claim for reimbursement. Only trading entities are eligible for the grant and the payments are made only to a business bank account. 

Support for Capital Items

The grant was aimed at helping businesses pay towards capital expenditure to restructure or recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of the items that are eligible under this scheme include: 

  • Fixed PPE equipment such as sanitiser dispensers and plastic screens. 
  • Mobile apps and business websites. 
  • IT equipment such as contactless payment systems, tablets and ICT equipment for working from home. 
  • Building alterations such as the creation of one-way systems, serving hatches, the building of outdoor seating, etc. 

The Recovery & Restructure Grant is a step in the right direction. About 50% of the funds are being directed towards Cheshire & Warrington’s hard-hit tourist economy. The balance will be paid to businesses in the wider economy.