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£300k boost to COVID-19 Recovery Development Grant Scheme agreed

£300k boost to COVID-19 Recovery Development Grant Scheme agreed
29 March 2021

Orkney Islands Council has agreed to top up its COVID-19 Recovery Development Grant (CRDG) Scheme with a boost to the overall funding pot by another £300k.

The enhancement was agreed by Councillors at today’s (Monday 29 March 2021) Special General meeting of the Council.

The CRDG was launched in August 2020 to provide support for businesses seeking to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions by investing in new and efficient operations or adapting to new market conditions.

Since then, and as at 12 March 2021, 41 projects have been allocated £287,131 - an average of £7k per grant – leaving a balance of just £12,869 from the original ring-fenced budget of £300,000.

Members heard that the demand for the CRDG scheme remains high, with 21 applications currently being assessed by officers.

A key element to the CRDG is the requirement that 50% match funding is provided by the applicant.

The scheme has levered in £640,095 of private investment from businesses across a range of sectors.

Executive Director of Development and Infrastructure, Gavin Barr said this demonstrates the success of the scheme: “Businesses are demonstrating through this scheme that they are able to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19. This approach is important as the ongoing efforts of businesses will be pivotal in contributing to the recovery and ongoing sustainable development of Orkney’s Island community.

“It is an effective way of providing the Council with the opportunity to support businesses who are willing and able to invest in new ways to earn income and market themselves in the covid trading environment.

“I’d reiterate this scheme is just one source of support for local businesses and I would like to thank our Economic Development team and colleagues in Finance who’ve shown dedication and worked extremely hard over several months ensuring support provided by the Council and UK and Scottish Governments’ has reached Orkney businesses as soon as possible.

“To date these Council teams have distributed over £13m of business support grants – recently delivering over £1m in grant support to businesses in just a two week period.

“Both the Council and the Economic Recovery Steering Group have also worked closely with sector and business representatives, to keep in touch with emerging needs. However, I would encourage businesses to get in touch with any information regarding sections of the business community they feel may be falling through the cracks. If there are gaps, we need to know so that we can consider if additional Council support to Orkney businesses is required.”

Following the meeting, Convener of Orkney Islands Council, Harvey Johnston, said he hoped the news would be welcomed by local businesses: “This grant is about enabling recovery and supporting our innovative businesses to bounce back and be well positioned for the many challenges ahead.”

The further allocation of £300,000 agreed today will come from the £5m Coronavirus Response Fund (CRF) established by the Council in April 2020 to in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The CRF is primarily drawn from the Council’s Strategic Reserve Fund, and supplemented by a mix of Crown Estate funding and a contribution from OIC’s Renewable, Redevelopment and Regeneration Fund.

To find out about this and other grants provided or administered by OIC, visit our 'cv-biz' webpage.

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