First grant a lifeline for flooded family business

Ian Brown of One NorthEast, Christine Hardy of Chantry Tea Rooms and Ailsa Coverdale of Castle Morpeth Borough Council Ian Brown of One NorthEast, Christine Hardy of Chantry Tea Rooms and Ailsa Coverdale of Castle Morpeth Borough Council

A support scheme set up to help Morpeth's flooded businesses get trading again as quickly as possible has made its first payment.

The town's Economic Recovery Group has helped the Chantry Tea Rooms to get a £2,500 grant to help clean up its premises, replace damaged items and cover staff wages until the work is completed.

Tea room owner, Christine Hardy, said: "The support has really helped us out. We are a small family business and the flood closed us down. Now we can see a future again and we are very grateful for this support. I am very impressed by the speed with which the support agencies have responded."

Christine has been running the tea room since 2005 and employs seven staff. When the flooding struck Morpeth the ground floor of the Chantry building was left under one and a half feet of water.

The Economic Recovery Group comprises Castle Morpeth Borough Council, Business Link, Northumberland County Council, Northumberland Business Services, Castle Morpeth Business Forum, Morpeth Chamber of Trade and One NorthEast.

Applications for grants will be fast-tracked to ensure quick payouts and the funding can be used to cover costs associated with the flooding, such as clean up, wages and insurance excesses.

For more information about the flood support package, call Business Link on 0845 600 9006 or visit Morpeth Business Advice Centre on Newgate Street.

Castle Morpeth Borough Council's regeneration and partnerships manager, Ailsa Coverdale, who chairs the Economic Recovery Group, said: "It's encouraging to see another business getting back on its feet but more needs to be done to help others in the coming weeks.

"We would urge local people support their local businesses through this difficult period. The business community is certainly pulling together and by working in partnership we will recover from this crisis quicker."

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