Final funding boost for local businesses

Final claims for the Government’s Welcome Back and Returning to the High Streets Safely funding programmes have now been completed by Horsham District Council on behalf of hundreds of local businesses.

The funding schemes were introduced by the Government in May 2020, enabling local councils to introduce measures to get customers back into retail spaces, upskill local business owners and generally help kick-start local economies after the pandemic.

In total over £200,000 of funds have been successfully allocated to deliver a broad range of projects and initiatives which included:

Production of business packs to share the latest regulatory information
Development of an e-commerce platform for shops, enabling them to adapt their service to digital operations, including the use of social media
Improvements to pedestrian areas in Horsham and Steyning
A broad range of promotional campaigns to encourage shoppers back into the high streets
Business support videos and podcasts
Business training programmes commissioned with Chichester College Group
Mystery trails launched around seven towns and villages to increase footfall
A rewilding high street initiative across the District to include community planting days, wildlife sculptures and children’s activities
Supporting some 52 small and emerging businesses with the Pop Up Horsham retail facility including bespoke mentoring and training.
Commenting the on business support provided Horsham District Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Local Economy Cllr Jonathan Chowen said:

Supporting our local business economy will always be a key priority for us as a council.

I am extremely proud of the sheer volume of support initiatives that have been successfully delivered over this two year programmes of funding.

My thanks go out to our Economic Development and Finance teams for the hard work they have put in delivering these vital projects.

Thanks also go to the many local communities groups and partnerships who have worked tirelessly to manage some of these initiatives.

This funding really has been instrumental in helping our local independent businesses not only survive but thrive during such difficult trading times.”

The Welcome Back Fund provided councils across England a share of £56 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the safe return to high streets and help build back better from the pandemic. This funding built on the £50 million Reopening High Street Safely Fund (RHSSF) allocated to councils in 2020 and formed part of the wider support government is providing to communities and businesses.