With outdoor hospitality settings due to be allowed to reopen later this month, businesses across Bridgend County Borough have been using funding to help them prepare to welcome back customers safely.
The Outdoor Improvements Covid-19 Recovery Fund, which is made up of funding from Bridgend County Borough Council, the Valleys Task Force and Welsh Government’s Targeted Regeneration Investment initiative, has targeted external areas where customers and members of the public can congregate, rest or enjoy food and drink.
Commercial property and business owners have been able to apply for grants of up to £10,000 towards adaptations ranging from outdoor canopies and furniture to planters, outdoor heating, screens and more.
A minimum of 20 per cent of the total project costs are met by the applicant.
Dozens of businesses and organisations across the county borough have benefitted from the scheme with applications from Bang-On Brewery, the Seabank Hotel, Porthcawl, Beach Academy, Royal Porthcawl Golf Club and Cornelly Community Centre being approved most recently.
One of the venues to receive a grant is The Cross Inn in Maesteg, which also has its own Cerddin Brewery on site.
David Morgan, who runs the business with his wife Gill, said: “The funding has helped us to construct an outdoor area that makes the most of the space outside the pub.
“We’ve installed an oak structure with a poly-carbon roof and added heating and lighting to allow customers to sit outside in comfort.
“This will allow us to reopen outside later this month if Covid restrictions are lifted and will be used long into the future all year round.
“We’re really grateful for the grant and the support we received from the council in helping us through the application process.”
Abbé Vaughan, owner of The Potting Shed in Porthcawl, applied for a grant to help expand the outdoor space available at the café bar.
She said: “As the hospitality sector was only likely to open up outdoors initially, I applied for an outdoor improvement grant as soon as I was able to.
“My cafe bar had a small outside decked area but to enable social distancing, it could only accommodate a few people. This funding has allowed me to fence off a bigger, unused space to provide a larger beer garden. This has doubled the size of the outdoor area and I’ve been able to purchase furniture and heating, and undertake some landscaping works.
“All of the improvements mean I can trade sufficiently outdoors with the equipment and facilities I need to make it a profitable, enjoyable and safer experience for everyone. Without this grant, I would probably not be trading until the end of May at the earliest, so for a small local business like mine it has been invaluable. I’m really looking forward to welcoming back customers.”