Still time for homes and businesses to apply for post flood grants

Aberdeenshire Council continues to make payments through the Scottish Government Relief Fund to those affected by recent flooding and is encouraging people to take advantage, especially business owners who can get up to £4,500.

So far around half the £2million fund has been issued (£984,000) with 656 to households and 87 to businesses through the £1,500 payment and 20 businesses have also received the specific £3,000 business grant.

The authority is encouraging business owners to take advantage of the grants which can be used to replace damaged stock, equipment or property.

Business owners are eligible to apply for £1,500 and a separate £3,000 grant, so could claim up to £4,500 to help with flood recovery costs.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee Councillor David Aitchison said: “I urge businesses of all sizes to take advantage of the financial support available following the devastating floods that affected Aberdeenshire and this in turn will also support wider economic recovery. A lot of work has taken place to work with communities as part of the council’s Flood Recovery Plan and it will continue to do all it can to provide assistance.”

Vice Chair Councillor Stephen Smith added: “Many people have received grants to repair businesses or homes and the council has worked quickly to carry this out.

“More work is taking place to support businesses in Aberdeenshire affected by flooding as we look ahead to the summer and ensure the area can welcome visitors and local trade as soon as possible and get Aberdeenshire back to business.”

Aberdeenshire Council is administering the £2million fund on behalf of the Scottish Government. It is one of a range of initiatives that have been announced to support individuals and communities during the recovery period.

Alongside processing applications for flood relief payments the council’s finance team has been assessing council tax and business rates to provide rebates to people while they are unable to access council services and are out of their homes.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Finance Alan Wood explains: “We aim to process all claims as quickly as possible and are taking a holistic approach so the team is looking at council tax and business rates rebates in addition to grant payments, to ensure people affected by flooding get the maximum benefits.

“We have received many applications for individual grants but more businesses, from retailers to farm owners, can apply for both and take advantage of the support.

“I would encourage people to visit the website and fill in an online form https://online.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/flooding-grant-scheme/
as soon as possible.”

£1,500 is available to households, static caravan owners, businesses or community groups (such as rugby clubs) where premises have been directly affected by the flooding to enable householders and businesses to protect their home or business against future floods.

Support of £3,000 is also available to businesses that can demonstrate their ability to trade has been severely impacted by the flooding at the beginning of January.

So far 20 businesses have received the £3,000 grant and butcher Barry Florence of H M Sheridan Ltd, Bridge Street, Ballater was among one of the first businesses to receive the business grant.

His shop has been in Ballater for ten years and is currently closed, whilst he works to recover from the recent flooding alongside his business partner, John.

Barry, 50, said: “This funding will assist us as we move forward from the recent flooding.

“The business was totally devastated so it really is like starting all over again. I’m going to use it for advertising and promotion and am working hard to repair the damage.

“All of the business community should come together so we can get back up and running and as far as Sheridan’s is concerned, for me, I’m positive, so it is onwards and upwards.

“If you told me six months ago I would be starting the business again I wouldn’t have imagined it, but it is also an opportunity to refurbish the shop and make the business better than ever.”

The business grant is being funded separately by Scottish Government and is a one-off payment to offset costs which cannot be covered by existing insurance, for example clean-up costs, materials and exceptional costs to help the business restore trade, such as marketing and promotion.

Businesses that have already submitted information for a grant payment are being processed and will be contacted regarding their application.

Only those households and businesses which were directly affected by the flooding in December 2015 and early January 2016 are eligible to apply for the grant.

An online application form is available at: http://bit.ly/SGfloodgrant

People are encouraged to apply by February 29.