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Nearly 1,000 Staffordshire SMEs given share of £3.4 million to help them 'survive and thrive' after covid

By Laura Watson

Nearly 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses in Staffordshire have received a share of £3.4 million to help them to 'survive and thrive' the pandemic.

Staffordshire County Council's Staffordshire Means Back to Business scheme is a unique partnership which brings together vital funding available from all the county's borough and district councils as well as the county council.

This means an extra £3.4 million of help and support has been allocated to Staffordshire businesses over the last two years than was originally available from central government.

So far the scheme has seen more than £390,000 allocated in grants to support businesses to survive and grow, in excess of £1.6 million to support over 400 new apprentices and more than £550,000 to support almost 2,500 employees with fully-funded training.

The majority of funding was handed out to businesses based in the Newcastle borough district (£449,000), followed by the Cannock Chase district (£426,000) and Stafford borough (£418,000).

Elsewhere, companies in South Staffordshire and the Staffordshire Moorlands received a share of £372,000 each while £371,000 was allocated to businesses based in Tamworth. Companies in Lichfield and East Staffordshire received £310,000 and £304,000 respectively.

Staffordshire County Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: "The Staffordshire Means Back to Business scheme is unique in the UK and has made a very real impact. When lockdown struck and at least half of the economy shut down overnight, we knew that we needed to do more and fast to support local businesses.

"While the pandemic was devastating and sadly some businesses were lost, this additional funding has helped many businesses during such an uncertain time, and even grow and change to be more robust for the challenges of the future."

Thanks to the success of the scheme, the county council was allocated an additional £726,000 from the UK Government’s UK Community Renewal Fund to continue the scheme’s apprenticeship, start-up loans and start-up support schemes.

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