Firm must grab jobs grants now

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TIME is fast running out for small High Peak businesses looking to grab cash from an EU funding programme that is about to end.

The alert was sounded this week by High Peak Borough Council, which warned that firms employing fewer than ten people – outside Glossop, Hadfield and Buxton’s central wards - have until the end of May to apply for grants from the Peak District LEADER grant scheme.

Grant funding is allocated from £3,500 upwards with LEADER meeting a maximum of 40 per cent costs for existing business and 50 per cent for new-start business.

Ian Huddlestone, executive councillor for regeneration, said: “Over the last five years, the scheme has supported firms ranging from a canine hydrotherapy centre and village tea rooms to a biotech business and various creative enterprises.

“Now, the Peak District has been given a final pot of money to help local firms grow – and employ more people in the process,” he explained.

The initiative is designed to enhance rural productivity and improve the quality of life in the LEADER area with a particular focus on grant assistance to projects from very small rural businesses, the farming community and social enterprises.

Previous recipients include:

l Chinley-based Paper Escape, which secured over £7,000 towards equipment and office refurbishments that enabled it to take on four new employees.

l Retrogenix Laboratory, a biotechnology company from Whaley Bridge, was awarded £11,747 to transform office space into a high-tech research lab that will create 4.5 full-time jobs

lRosie’s Tea Room, in Hayfield, received funding to refurbish its premises and build a new, fully-accessible toilet.

“I’m keen for eligible High Peak firms to take advantage of this funding because when it’s gone, it’s gone,” added Cllr Huddlestone.

l For more information, visit www.highpeak.gov.uk/sm/grant/leader-peak-district-micro-business-grants or call LEADER co-ordinator Amanda Brown on 01629 538475 or e-mail amandabrown2@derbyshire.gov.uk.