East Lothian Council has agreed to commit funding of £600k to support businesses and boost the economy as we move into the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund will be split into different sectors:
- £130k for town centre recovery and renewal including a potential expansion of the East Lothian Giftcard scheme; targeted funding for traders’ groups and projects and the potential expansion of a digital high street project to give traders a greater online presence.
- £184k to support the tourism & hospitality sector including a grant scheme to support projects; support for marketing & the Visit East Lothian website and funding of a project to study and manage the movements of visitors to East Lothian’s coast (in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh).
- £103,500 to support the rural economy including a food festival, funding to promote digital connectivity and support to re-open rural toilet facilities.
- £12,500 to support employability including a careers event and vocational hospitality training.
- £10k to support Love East Lothian messaging including a potential newsletter to all East Lothian residents to promote local businesses with support from an online campaign.
- £160k to support businesses, safeguard employment and encourage growth, including £20k grants to support job creation and the buying-in of expert support for business growth.
Some of the funding will be distributed via an application process – full details will be finalised and publicised in due course.
Michaela Sullivan, the council’s Head of Service Development, said: “I am very pleased Council agreed to commit this funding at this week’s meeting. It’s an important part of our essential, on-going work to support businesses as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will continue to work in close partnership with agencies and groups from all sectors to ensure East Lothian’s economy bounces back as quickly as possible, and that it continues to grow. This support funding has been designed to meet the needs of existing industry, pave the way for new job creation and to ensure our workforce is ready with the right skills.
“It also looks at how we build on East Lothian as a destination and allows us to target key markets to grow our short and longer-term tourism industry.”