Businesses instructed to close through the coronavirus lockdown are able to apply for £4.2m of funding.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has been allocated a total of £4,192,488 through the government’s Local Restrictions Support Grant. The money will be available to businesses such as those in the hospitality, leisure, non-essential retail and personal care sectors. Eligibility criteria apply and businesses must submit an application through the Council’s Business Grants page.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “The grants are a vital boost for businesses at this extremely difficult time. We know that there are around 2,600 businesses that could potentially be eligible for this funding. Payments will be made on a 28-day cycle for as long as the restrictions are in place.

“We have moved as quickly as possible to make the funding available, and we urge businesses to visit our website to apply.”

Under the scheme, eligible businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less will receive £1,334 for the 28 days; businesses with a rateable value of £15,001 to £50,999 will receive £2,000, and businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 and over will receive £3,000. Click here for more details and how to apply.

Meanwhile, a 24-hour mental health service has been established to provide support to residents who need someone to talk to and are struggling with their mental health during the lockdown. The listening service will also offer signposting to residents for further help and support. The phone line is now open and available via 01782 234233.

Councillor Brown said: “The lockdown restrictions are challenging for all of us and we know that people can feel particularly isolated at this time. We have put extra resources in place to provide further support. If you are struggling at this time, please don’t suffer in silence, there is help available.”

For the latest information on council services and support during the coronavirus and frequently asked questions, please visit www.stoke.gov.uk/coronavirus. For the latest information in Staffordshire please visit www.staffordshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.

For the latest health advice on the coronavirus, please visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, and for further information on the virus visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.