The Refresh and Re-open grants can help businesses to pay for outdoor structures and equipment, including customer seating. Picture: Pixabay

A £500,000 funding pot has been made available to help independent businesses re-open safely as restrictions ease.

The Refresh and Reopen grant scheme has been developed by West Norfolk Council using the government’s Additional Restrictions Grant.

Businesses must be from the following sectors: retail, hospitality, recreation, leisure, culture, tourism or events.

They must be based in the borough but not part of a national chain.

The grants will cover up to 75 per cent of the cost of equipment used to ensure premises are Covid-secure; for example: barriers, one-way set-ups, umbrellas or other temporary weather-shielding items.

The money could also help meet the cost of firms operating online, such as implementing ticketing, ordering or payment, or to help premises look and feel more welcoming. 

Any costs incurred must have taken place since the announcement of the government’s roadmap on February 22.

The maximum grant available per applicant is £10,000 and applicants must not have previously claimed a support grant to help meet the costs of re-opening following the pandemic.

Grants will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and the scheme will close once all the funding has been allocated or on Sunday, May 30, whichever is first.

All funding must be fully spent and works completed by Sunday, August 1.

To apply and find out more, visit west-norfolk.gov.uk/refreshandreopengrant

In addition to the Refresh and Reopen grants, West Norfolk Council has paid out £10,216,682 in Restart Grants to 1,118 businesses.

This was in addition to more than £62m worth of other support grants paid out.

Online support is also available through the Go Digital scheme which offers a grant of £500 to successful applicants.

The Go Digital programme is for micro, small and medium sized businesses based in the county which want to make better use of digital tools to help them grow.

Firms will be assigned a business advisor to conduct a digital audit and identify digital opportunities. 

The deadline for applications for this round of Go Digital support is Wednesday, June 30.

Apply at www.norfolk.gov.uk/GoDigital