"Huge undertaking" to get businesses back on their feet after pandemic

Sheffield Council chiefs are dipping into various pots of money and juggling complex funding to support businesses across the city.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 4:45 pm

Officers say there's been a "huge amount of work" to get businesses back on their feet following the pandemic.

Council officer Ben Morley told a meeting of the Executive: "The city suffered significantly as a result of Covid and there are signs of recovery as we open up, however unemployment levels remain higher than they were pre pandemic.

"We are starting to see an increase in vacancies which reflects the opening up of the economy, particularly in the hospitality sector, so there's opportunity there.

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Council officers say there's been a "huge amount of work" to get businesses back on their feet following the pandemic

"Officers have undertaken a huge amount of work over the past 14 months, helping businesses to adapt and survive, and it's been a huge undertaking with thousands of phone calls.

"This is a complex area - officers have to come up with solutions, not only which satisfy the requirements of social distancing, but also stimulate the economy while working with a complicated funding regime, to make sure what we actually deliver is the best for the city."

More than 80 organisations have applied for a share of £2million of council funding.

Mr Morley added: "It will support recovery very much from a bottom up approach with applications being submitted from our communities and from businesses, both the larger district centres, and also in the city centre.

"We've been excited by the number of applications, some are very small, some very large - up to £200,000 is the maximum funding.

"It's been a very tough process working through these applications but it reflects there is a diverse community out there, bringing very good local proposals which we wouldn't have necessarily thought of as officers so it's been a very good learning experience."

There is also a European pot of £520,000 which will continue to pay for business information officers and £1.8million has supported self-employed and micro businesses who have fallen through the gaps with grant schemes.

The Business Recovery Group, which is a mix of council chiefs and private sector representatives, was launched last October to stimulate recovery.