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Community centres across Test Valley could each benefit from a £10k cash injection after updated guidance from the government confirmed that they could claim the same support grant offered to businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Ninety centres are eligible for the grant in Test Valley and the borough council is writing to each of them to encourage them to apply for the funding.

With no bookings due to the nationwide lockdown and the continued burden of energy bills and other expenses, many community halls have been hit hard by the pandemic. The £10k grants will provide a lifeline for those currently struggling.

Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North, said: “I am really pleased that the government has confirmed that community centres will also be eligible for the business support grants.

“These halls are integral to their local communities and play a vital role in bringing residents and groups together. Sadly they currently sit empty but these grants should see them through to the time when the restrictions are lifted and they are able to reopen once again.

“Our teams are working hard to get the business support grants out as quickly as possible. To date, we have processed and paid 1,329 grants to the value of £16.35 million.

“I would encourage all those eligible to apply for the funding.”

In March, the chancellor announced a variety of financial support packages for residents and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, the government will guarantee £330bn of loans to businesses, as well as a range of grants.

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