More than £3.1 million for district’s post-Covid recovery

Updated: 31 May 2022

Grant funding from Three Rivers District Council has helped a small business to weather the storm of the Covid pandemic and revitalise its brand, according to its owner.

Grant funding from Three Rivers District Council has helped a small business to weather the storm of the Covid pandemic and revitalise its brand, according to its owner.

Charmi Mandavia – a Three Rivers based supplier of wedding dresses and bespoke bridal wear – said the Three Rivers Growth Grant she received allowed her to revitalise her company’s brand through marketing campaigns including a professional photoshoot and working with influencers to improve the company’s presence on social media.

Her company, Charmi Creations, is one of many across the district to benefit from more than £3.1 million of government funding allocated to support businesses hit by the Covid pandemic over the past year.

Charmi, who received funding through a scheme which was run with partner organisation the Hertfordshire Growth Hub, said: “I wanted the world to see we are a brand that has survived the pandemic and with this funding we can show that to our customers. The clients who have come to the boutique are all giving me the feedback that my social media page is looking so good, and they are forwarding my posts.”

The council operated a wide variety of schemes as it allocated the government’s Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) funding during 2021 and 2022.

Projects funded included direct grants schemes such as the Three Rivers Growth Grant, which offered grants of up to £10,000; support and mentoring programmes from expert organisations including business and retail experts Save The High Street, Wenta, and Smarter Society.

Cllr Sarah Nelmes, the Leader of Three Rivers District Council, said: “Our purpose has been to ensure this funding could be used where it was most effective and help our local economy at a time of extraordinary pressure. We are pleased that we managed to pass this much needed support on to as many individual businesses and in so doing have made a real difference.

“We can see real practical changes which have been made – enabling businesses not just to survive the pressures of the pandemic, but to come out the other side and to thrive. We hope now these businesses can face the future with renewed confidence.”

Under the funding programme the district council has also been moving forward with its sustainability agenda, offering a variety of schemes which help local businesses become greener. With partner organisations Sustainable X and Smarter Society, the council has been providing practical guidance and business-focused information to help businesses lower their carbon use and build sustainable practices into their daily activities through face-to-face or virtual workshops and one-to-one support.

Meanwhile, through its Green Business Grants funding, the council has been helping businesses develop more sustainable working practices, reduce waste and material usage and reduce carbon emissions and energy use - businesses like Blacks Newsagent in Rickmansworth High Street, which has used the support to introduce new lower energy lighting and is now looking at other innovations to improve the efficiency of their fridges and freezers.

Other projects have aimed to help young people gain skills and employment and to support and promote vibrant retails centres across the district to help boost footfall and bring more custom to local shops.

As part of the wide-ranging project, the council has also been supporting Three Rivers Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

The council is currently funding free membership of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) for local firms, a Jobs Club with Watford and West Herts Chamber of Commerce and a free business support scheme with Wenta. In the coming weeks it will be launching a number of new initiatives funded through the ARG programme aimed at continuing to support local businesses and the local economy.