Over 300 County Durham businesses benefitted from £6m recovery grant
More than 300 businesses have been supported and over 3,500 jobs safeguarded through
a County Durham coronavirus recovery grant.
The Durham Business Recovery Grant was launched by Durham County Council in
January to help companies overcome the challenges caused by the pandemic, as part of
the authority’s commitment to supporting the local economy. To date, it has helped 318
businesses across the county.
The grant was aimed at businesses affected by coronavirus pandemic which were
developing recovery plans to meet the challenges they faced – such as purchasing new
equipment, developing new products, expanding into new markets, and adapting their
The scheme, overseen by the council’s dedicated business support service Business
Durham, offered businesses with a clear recovery plan, grants from £1,000 up to a
maximum of £40,000 and contributed 75 per cent towards eligible recovery plan costs,
with the applicants expected to meet a quarter of the project cost.
Originally set at £5m, due to high demand for the grants, an additional £1m was added to
the fund bringing it to a £6m scheme, with the council working hard to assess and process
Grants have been awarded to companies varying in size from micro-businesses to those
employing up to 250 people in County Durham from a range of sectors including: business
services, construction, healthcare, information and communication, retail and hospitality,
leisure, manufacturing and engineering, and tourism.
The majority of grants (95 per cent) have been awarded to micro or smaller businesses
employing up to 50 staff.
Grants have been awarded to 119 companies (37 per cent) in retail and personal services,
61 companies (19 per cent) in manufacturing and engineering, 60 companies (19 per cent)
in the cultural, creative and tourism sectors and 34 companies (11 per cent) in business
services, professional services and distribution, with the remaining 44 companies (14 per
cent) coming from other sectors.
Each of the 318 companies have secured grants to enable them to purchase new
equipment, develop new products, adapt their operational models and expand into new
Flamingo Bar & Café in Seaham was awarded a grant of £14,900 to purchase new
equipment which enabled the café to speed up service and adapt its premises to adhere to
Covid-secure requirements by creating an outdoor food storage area, so it could increase
seating and serve more customers.
Hannah Jackson-Harrison, owner of Flamingo Bar & Café, said: “Durham County Council has been amazing throughout the whole of the pandemic, and I just don’t think we would have muddled through if we hadn’t had the help in the form of business support grants from it. The grants came through very quickly and communication from various
departments within the council has been fantastic.
“The Business Recovery Grant has enabled me to improve systems, increase seating and
speed up service, meaning that when we step out of this pandemic and back into more
‘normal’ times we are ready to hit the ground running and pick up where we left off in
Aycliffe Fabrications received a £32,200 grant which it put towards the cost of the
purchase of two new pieces of machinery enabling it to expand the service offering and
open up new markets.
Christine Bewley, managing director at Aycliffe Fabrications, said: “Aycliffe Fabrications
was delighted to receive funding from the Durham Business Recovery Grant. With the help
of the consultant assigned to us it was easy to discuss not only our future plans, but where
our business had come from and how the grant would enable us to move forward after a
“Many small engineering businesses like ourselves have been greatly impacted by Covid
and the fact that Durham County Council has recognised this and looked carefully at all
grant applications across all sectors has been invaluable. It cannot be underestimated how
much it has meant to know that an outside organisation has looked at our company and
agreed that we are worth investing in and that together we will ensure a secure future for
our employees, customers and suppliers.”
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet Member for economy and
partnerships, said: “Over the past 16 months, County Durham businesses have displayed
immense resilience, adaptability and innovation, as they continue to navigate the
challenges of the pandemic. It has been fantastic to see companies diversify to survive by
expanding into new markets and manufacturing different products.
“However, we appreciate how difficult it has been for businesses and it is vital that we do
what we can to help businesses recover and look to the future. That is why we launched
our £5 million Durham Business Recovery Grant scheme earlier this year, adding the
additional £1m due to the demand to demonstrate our commitment to local businesses,
enabling them to adapt and thrive, safeguarding jobs and developing a sustainable
economy for the long term. It is fantastic to see we have been able to support over 300
companies across the county in six months.
“The comments we have received from the companies demonstrate just how important this
grant scheme has been to help them get back on track for the future, and to safeguard
vital jobs and livelihoods in the county. We hope that with the support from the grant
scheme, these businesses can continue to thrive, creating more and better jobs and
contributing towards a strong competitive economy for the future.”
The scheme has now closed for applications but all those received will be assessed.
Information on other support for businesses provided by the council, and advice for
companies, is available online at https://www.businessdurham.co.uk and