With the completion of work to allocate the government’s Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant, plus the Additional Restrictions Grant, a total of over £4.3 million has been handed out by the Isle of Wight Council to support Island businesses in the hospitality and leisure industries, including accommodation.
The two grant schemes were announced at the end of 2021, and the scheme closed at the end of March 2022.
Previous COVID business support grants were automatically issued, but these two grants were run in a different way which required more work and time both for business applying and for the council distributing the money.
Julie Jones-Evans, cabinet member for regeneration, explained: “This recent round of government support was smaller than previous ones, but more closely targeted.
“Here on the Island our hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses are a critical part of our economy, so a grant aimed at them, right in the middle of the winter season, has been very helpful for many small businesses across the island.
“With new stringent government anti-fraud measures in place, the new grant schemes needed businesses to apply directly to the council and give a range of details to support their application.
“This was more work for the businesses and of course for us, which took time.
“We were allocated a maximum of £5.6 million, and we had successful applications for over £4.3 million, which shows that there was a significant need for this funding.
“Every qualifying business who applied for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant was issued a grant.
“Over 1650 businesses benefitted from the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant or the Additional Restrictions Grant.
“Most were small, locally-owned businesses – the typical hospitality and leisure businesses that we are all familiar with across the Island.
“Dealing with these COVID-19 grants, and funding previous rounds, has been a huge and unexpected job for the council, with well over £100 million pounds given out in more than 23,000 payments to businesses in the last two years.
“I’d like to thank the business owners and workers for their patience and support over that time, and of course to those council staff who have been taken away from their normal work to get this essential job done so effectively. “