Money offers vital glimmer of hope for so many

Vital to plan together in case disaster should strike

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It’s great to have a glimmer of hope shining bright on the horizon when times have been tough for all.

And that’s exactly what a £2.1m fund to help businesses in our area represents.

We’re sure many small and medium-sized business owners will be waking up with a smile on their faces this morning because the Bridging the Gap grant is exactly the kind of welcome boost they need.

Everyone knows how hard the last few years have been, particularly for those who make a living out of running their own business.

And of course, behind every business man or woman there’s a band of employees who rely on their jobs to keep their own family afloat.

This money will make a real difference to a lot of people across our area and will help those who want to create new businesses or grow their existing concern.

Those set to benefit plan to use the money they receive to employ more staff or set up apprenticeship schemes, so the web of good fortune will spread out to reach more people across our communities.

Ensuring people can find employment in their local area is also vital and has a knock-on effect on the economy that can’t be under-estimated.

More money will be spent in local shops and fewer people will have to travel out of the area to reach their place of work.

When you consider that other schemes will also result in as much as £30m being pumped into our local economy in the next few years, it’s clear that there’s much to celebrate.

All those who have been involved in securing the Bridging the Gap grant deserve a heart-felt pat on the back.

We know a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes and we thank the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, University of Portsmouth and others for that.

Let’s not kid ourselves that it will be a bed of roses from now on.

But while there are still many more challenges to be faced along the way, this money should at least give us hope for the future – and that’s a great feeling to have when the going gets tough.