Grants open doors for business start-up and job-seekers

Press Release: 12/07/2013

Heather Evans and Cllr Rob Humby

Winchester City Council has this week launched two new grant schemes to stimulate growth during the economic downturn.

Following feedback from businesses, the Council has introduced a new pilot scheme of grants to support business start-ups and has also committed to helping fund long-term job-seekers.

The new Business Start-Up grant is a one-off payment of up to £1,000 to start up a business. Applicants, whose business should be based in the Winchester City Council area, must have been trading for less than six months. Micro businesses that are more established and wish to take themselves to the next stage of their development can apply for the Micro Business Development Grants which were launched last year.

The Council’s new Access to Work Grants for Job-Seekers is designed to remove some of the most common barriers which might prevent the job-seeker from taking on their role. The one-off grants of up to £1,000 can be used for the costs of transport to the workplace as well as essential equipment such as tools or work clothes. The grant can only be used for items that are not usually provided by an employer.

Applicants for the Job-Seekers grant must live in the Winchester City Council area, provide evidence that they have been offered a permanent job and have been unemployed for more than six months prior to being offered a job. They should also have been receiving Job-Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Income Support. There are also existing grants available for apprentices who live within the Winchester District.

Cllr Robert Humby, Deputy Leader of Winchester City Council, said:

These two new grant schemes as well as our existing grant schemes show that this administration is fully committed to supporting the local economy. We are backing the pledges made in our business charter with financial support and at the same time tackling red tape and enabling business development during these challenging economic times. We have already given out over £12,000 in micro business development grants and nearly £5,000 in apprenticeship grants.

Alison Woods, Economy and Arts Development Manager, added:

What is unique about our business grant package is that we are offering grants to businesses - the business start-up and micro business development grants - as well as grants aimed at employees -- the access to work grants for job-seekers and apprenticeship grants.

To find out more about Winchester City Council’s grants for businesses visit www.winchester.gov.uk/business/business-grants