Test Valley Borough Council has won the FSB Wessex Regional Local Authority Small Business Friendly Award for its support to businesses affected by flooding.
The Council was presented with the Most Innovative Small Business Friendly Programme, at a ceremony which was attended by all the district and borough councils in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Carr, gratefully accepted the award on behalf of the Council which was presented by Tim Coleman, Regional Vice Chairman of the FSB Wessex region.
The severe weather in spring 2014 had a devastating impact on business owners in Test Valley, initially from river flooding and then from groundwater flooding as the water table rose. At least 80 businesses were affected, including all 40 at Budds Lane Industrial Estate, Romsey. Business owners were quickly able to access practical support and funding to aid their recovery thanks to the forward thinking and support of Test Valley Borough Council.
The management of the flooding and its aftermath involved the distribution of thousands of sandbags, the arranging of alternative car parking and staff visits to business properties. In addition, Test Valley was the first borough council in Hampshire to publish a Business Support Scheme to encourage business owners to access funding as early as possible.
Economic Portfolio Holder, Councillor Peter Giddings, said: “Local businesses make a huge contribution to our borough’s economy and Test Valley Borough Council strives to encourage and support them. The flooding was hugely distressing to many of our businesses, so being able to help them through difficult times was a high priority. I am immensely proud that we’ve been honoured with this award and I would like to extend my thanks to all the businesses, residents and staff who pulled together in a time of crisis.”
Several forms of funding are available to business owners through Test Valley Borough Council including Business Rate Relief, Repair and Renew Grants and the Business Support Scheme. If you think you might be eligible to apply, visit www.testvalley.gov.uk for further information.