Three more firms celebrate after receiving funding

CASH BOOST Owners of Pie & Vinyl, Rob Litchfield, left, and Steve Courtnell. Picture: Sarah Standing (133439-689)
CASH BOOST Owners of Pie & Vinyl, Rob Litchfield, left, and Steve Courtnell. Picture: Sarah Standing (133439-689)
Portsmouth & Southsea railway station by Andy Cooper

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THREE more firms are celebrating after receiving thousands of pounds in funding.

They are the latest to get a cash injection from the Bridging the Gap fund.

The fund, backed by The News, was set up to help businesses grow and has now handed out £732,495 and helped create 103 new jobs.

And there’s still £800,000 to give away with only two months to get it.

Steve Futter, senior account manager at Solent LEP, said: ‘It is fantastic to be able to confirm another £81,000 worth of funding awards for our latest three Bridging the Gap recipients – Pie and Vinyl, Hydro Technical Solutions and Haylock & Pittman.

‘These projects will support 14 much-needed jobs in the Portsmouth and Havant areas, and we will be announcing more funding awards soon.

‘There is still time to apply to Bridging the Gap though, so if you want to start up a business, or have a project that will create or safeguard jobs at your existing business, please get in touch with the Solent LEP.’

One of the latest firms to benefit is Pie and Vinyl, in Southsea. And the co-owner of Pie and Vinyl, Rob Litchfield, is excited to use the money for the expansion of the shop and to hire new staff.

He said: ‘We received the full £6,000 that we were after and it has gone towards the continuation of the expansion of the shop.

‘We are now twice the size which is fantastic and it means we can put some more plans into place.

‘This includes hiring more local staff to help continue with the growth.’

The store, based in Castle Road, opened in August 2012 and combines music with comfort foods like pie and mash.

But when, Rob and co-owner Steve Courtnell, set up shop, they didn’t expect it to grow like it had.

Rob added: ‘One of the compliments we hear is when people are surprised that we opened so recently. Customers tend to think we have been around for ages so it is always nice to hear that we have made such an impact.

‘We are so thankful for the money and I think the fund is great.

‘It is very forward-thinking because it gives small businesses a chance.

‘We were very fortunate to have the backing of Portsmouth City Council who were eager to help us.

‘They contacted us to tell us about the funding and I don’t think other councils would do the same.’

To apply for funding, visit


HELPING small businesses grow in different ways, the Bridging the Gap fund has already handed out £730,000.

Launched in 2012 by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, along with Portsmouth City Council, The News and the University of Portsmouth, the main focus of the fund is on private sector job creation.

Up to £50,000 can be applied for in grants by entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with the best new business and growth proposals.

For businesses ready to start up, funding is available for new projects, help getting a new business up and running and encouraging young entrepreneurs. Bidders will need to invest 30 per cent of the required funding.

For SMEs, funding is available to help overcome barriers to growth or facilitate business improvement.

Bidders will need to invest at least 50 per cent of the required funding.

More than 15 firms have already benefited from the funding and, with the other recent winners, has brought the funding total to just over £732,000.

It has also seen more than 100 jobs created in the region and a total of more than £1.5m bought into the Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant areas.