Soft plays and nightclubs across Scotland to be given up to £50,000 Covid grants

Some seven months after they closed their doors, the Scottish Government has now announced a new fund to help soft play centres and nightclubs cope with the “exceptional circumstances” of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Soft plays and nightclubs across Scotland will now receive a government grant to see them through Christmas.Soft plays and nightclubs across Scotland will now receive a government grant to see them through Christmas.
Soft plays and nightclubs across Scotland will now receive a government grant to see them through Christmas.

Unlike other businesses, which have been able to open after the initial lockdown, nightclubs and soft play centres have had to stay shut to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Now payments of up to £50,000 will be available from the Covid-19 Contingency Fund, with grants linked to the rateable value of businesses.

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Companies operating across multiple premises will be able to claim one full grant, with grants of up to 75 per cent for subsequent properties.

Business minister Jamie Hepburn said: "We know that nightclubs and soft play centres have been particularly badly hit by this pandemic. Unlike the majority of businesses, they have not been allowed to open since March.

"These grants take account of those exceptional circumstances and will provide a boost as we continue to tackle the virus.

"We don't want any business to remain closed for a day longer than is necessary, but public health is paramount.

"Unfortunately we are at a critical point with infection levels rising again and it is not safe to lift restrictions on these activities."

The minister said local councils would contact businesses in their area directly "to get the information needed to progress their claim".

Craige Meikle, owner of Saltire soft play, said this grant was “fantastic news” for his business as it will hopefully see his team through until Christmas.

Mr Meikle, who had to lay off half of his staff as a result of the pandemic, said: “It’s obviously fantastic news. I’m part of an action group of about 100-150 soft play centres around Scotland and every single one of us is in a desperate position so this money, which has now been made available, is going to buy us some time to allow us to continue our fight to get the Scottish Government to open which would be great.”

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"Our staff can hopefully breathe a sigh of relief at this news that it will see them through Christmas.”

Talking about how his business has been impacted over lockdown, Mr Meikle added: "Soft plays have been decimated and we are still having to pay a rent, pay insurance and I’ve chosen to continue to pay my staff 100 per cent of their wages and we’ve got nothing coming in.

"A lot of businesses have been struggling but we’ve not had a chance to open and make any money.”

"Realistically, the only way we are going to survive in the long term is by getting back open and so the fight will continue until we get that final part of the jigsaw.”

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