David Ellesmere
David Ellesmere

Last week’s announcement that the lock-down will continue for at least another three weeks means we are all having to get used to a new ‘normal’ in our lives

Many businesses, and their employees, are finding it really tough.

Ipswich Borough Council has been working hard to get help to them. Delivering the Government’s business support grants of £10,000 or £25,000 to qualifying companies has been a massive task. We have now paid out more than £16m to local businesses and around 70% of eligible businesses have now received their funding.

This has been a lifeline for many and has been much appreciated. The owners of Applaud Coffee in St Peters Street have written saying “thank you” to the Council for getting their grant so quickly. “We would like to say a big thank you to all who have been working behind the scenes to help small businesses like us.”

This work is still going on. Over 600 eligible businesses in Ipswich have not yet applied for their grants after receiving our initial letters, so we are trying to get in touch with them again, by phone if we can.

Some have told us they thought the support scheme is a loan that will have to be repaid. This is not the case. These are one-off grants that do not have to be paid back. They are completely separate from the Government’s Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Individuals, clubs and other organisations receiving small business rate relief can also get a £10,000 grant.

If you think you may be eligible please apply online at: www.ipswich.gov.uk/businessratesgrant

It is not only businesses who are struggling and many of the council’s key services are working to help the most vulnerable in our society.

The £100,000 donation by Direct Line Group to provide essential supplies for homeless people in Ipswich during the Coronavirus emergency is a wonderful example of supporting those most in need.

This money will enable us to buy dozens of ‘starter packs’ for families and individuals moving into our temporary accommodation.

This will make a huge difference to people at what would always be an incredibly stressful time, let alone in the middle of such an emergency.

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