South Holland District Council is to offer grants of up to £5,000 to local market traders amid criticism over recent changes to the way it runs markets in the district.
The authority last week ratified its decision to stop putting up stalls for traders at markets.
It’s a move that has been stated for the reasoning why a number of market traders haven’t returned to Spalding’s market as they face the cost of either having to buy stalls or find someone to erect them if they’re unable to do so themselves.
Last week Coun Roger Gambba-Jones posted on social media to say that traders could bid for grant money to help with purchases, though traders The Voice spoke to claimed some had tried to claim but were told they hadn’t been accepted.
But today (Monday, August 3) the council has announced a new grant for market traders only.
A council spokesman said: “Frequent traders on the district’s markets in Spalding, Holbeach, Long Sutton and Crowland have now been contacted by the Council’s economic development team to invite them to come forward for a £5,000 grant.
“This also follows the ongoing decision to temporarily waive market fees for traders since their return in June, to help the transition out of lockdown and towards customers returning to shop with them.
Since lockdown began in March the Council has helped distribute over £17million of Government support to over 1,500 businesses in the District, with this new initiative joining the second phase of discretionary grant funding which opened on Monday (August 3).
“To qualify traders will need to have not received grants from any other district council, have been trading as a business on March 11, 2020 and not be in administration, insolvent or subject to a striking-off notice.
“There are no restrictions on how the traders choose to spend their grants, which can be used to offset the impact of coronavirus over recent months or to invest in helping grow their offer for the future.”
Councillor Nick Worth, deputy leader and portfolio holder for growth and commercialisation, said: “It’s fantastic that the council has been able to support a wide array of businesses of different sectors and sizes throughout the pandemic, and I think it is important that we are able to specifically support the traders who are an established part of South Holland’s heritage and who offer a vital service to so many residents every week.”
Councillor Roger Gambba-Jones, portfolio holder for place, said: “I am pleased we are able to show our commitment to South Holland’s markets through these grants, and hope they will provide an invaluable opportunity for traders across the District after the difficulties of recent months and COVID-19.
“The markets are an integral part of our wider, long-term ambitions for Spalding and other town centres, and I hope we can work closely with traders to take these exciting steps together through our town centre improvement plan.”
Any traders with questions about the grants can contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Details of our wider grants programme can be found on our website at www.sholland.gov.uk/covidsupport