With many local traders and organisations across the area seeing a drop in turnover and footfall, the Government has set aside a cash pot to support them during the latest set of national restrictions.
Applications for the discretionary funding are now being accepted with grants of up to £3,000 available.
Eligible businesses and community groups can apply by midnight on December 13 here.
This discretionary pot follows the launch of the Local Restrictions Support Grant on November 11 which provides payments of up to £3,000 to all those firms forced to close by the new restrictions. More than 600 applications have already been processed under this scheme with nearly £1 million paid out.
Unlike the Local Restrictions Support Grant, which is paid to any business forced to close in lockdown, the discretionary pot is a competitive process.
The councils have teamed up with five other local authorities in West Sussex ‘to make sure their scheme is fair and reflective of the wider area’, a spokesman said.
Detailed evidence will be required and bids will be assessed against a strict criteria.
Those encouraged to apply include businesses and organisations severely impacted by the lockdown restrictions, such as suppliers to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors; or those in events; premises forced to close but the business owner is not responsible for payment of business rates; those paying unavoidable fixed property costs during the period of restrictions.
Businesses receiving a mandatory Local Restrictions Support Grant can also apply for the Additional Restrictions Grant.
All those applying must have been trading the day before national restrictions were imposed, the councils said.
A spokesman for the councils said: “We know businesses are struggling which is why we have got both of these grants up and running as quickly as possible.
“Given the competitive nature of this discretionary pot we have worked hard with neighbouring authorities to create a fair system. All bids will be assessed against strict criteria, including reduction of income lost during the lockdown period.
“The councils’ ruling will be final in making decisions so we urge those applying to take their time to review the guidelines and submit detailed evidence when they make their applications.”