SMALLER businesses can now access grants of up to £25,000 to help them survive the coronavirus crisis.

Braintree Council says it is extending its discretionary grant scheme to nurseries, medical therapeutic services, indoor fitness centres, sports venues and suppliers to the hospitality industry. It is also available to markets traders, charities, bed and breakfasts and businesses in shared offices or work spaces.

The council was given £1.5 million last month from the Government to support small businesses in the district.

It says it has dished out £317,000 to 71 firms and is hoping others will come forward if they are in need of support.

Braintree Council's economic development boss Tom Cunningham said: "I’m pleased that we’ve been able to pay out over a third of a million pounds to help over 70 small business in our district so far.

"We are now extending this scheme to support even more businesses struggling because of this crisis.

"We encourage all eligible businesses to submit their application form without delay so as not to miss out.

"We will continue to do all that we can to support as many businesses as possible and especially those most in need."

Grants worth £2,000, £10,000 and £25,000 are available to successful applicants.

Businesses based at home are excluded from the scheme as well as those who have already made a claim against any of the other grant schemes.

Council bosses say firms must have been trading on March 11 to be eligible for funding.

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