Funding from the European Union is set to help firms in East Yorkshire’s tourism industry recover from the impact of the coronavirus lockdown.
Just over £142,000 worth of European Regional Development Fund money originally allocated two years ago to help new start-up businesses in the region is being diverted into an emergency fund specifically aimed at the sector.
The move could provide a financial lifeline to many small and medium-sized firms struggling to survive as a result of the challenges created by the pandemic.
Under the Kickstarter Tourism Package initiative, 100 per cent grants will be offered to cover things like accountancy or legal costs, switching to more digital operations using new technology, mentoring and networking.
Action from last year’s Freedom Festival in Hull (Image: Tom Arran)
Companies involved in staging events will also be able to apply for funding to examine new ways of delivering cultural activities and festivals in line with government and local public health safety guidance.
This year’s Freedom Festival in Hull has already announced it is moving September’s entire three-day programme of events online instead of being based in its traditional outdoor setting.
The region’s hospitality sector has also ushered in major changes since lockdown restriction were eased, ranging from the introduction of social distancing measures to enhanced cleaning regimes.
Typical grants are expected to range from £1,000 to £3,000 although exceptional awards of up to £5,000 are also likely to be considered.
The scheme is being administered by Hull City Council on behalf of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership and the three other councils in the Humber region.
Mark Jones, the city council’s director of regeneration, said: “The Kickstarter Tourism Package is an emergency scheme aimed at supporting small and medium businesses in the tourism and visitor economy sector to recover from the substantial impacts posed by Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown.
City council regeneration director Mark Jones
“it is envisaged that the majority of the funding will be used to offer businesses a grant to enable them to determine and commission their own support measures. “
He said an important feature was that firms would not be required to provide their own match funding to qualify for a grant.
As well as the grant scheme, firms will also be invited to take part in a series of themed online webinars.
They will highlight examples of best practice in the tourism industry in a post-lockdown world as well as guidance and support from sector partners.
Details of the grant scheme are expected to be announced soon once the government has agreed to varying the original funding allocation.