FOLLOWING the success of Business Link s Open for Business pub support campaign in March, the East of England Development Agency this week announced additional funding to help ailing pubs in the East of England. Accessed through Business Link in conjunc

FOLLOWING the success of Business Link's 'Open for Business' pub support campaign in March, the East of England Development Agency this week announced additional funding to help ailing pubs in the East of England.

Accessed through Business Link in conjunction with a business review from the support service's advisers, any rural pub in the region can apply for a grant of up to £1,500 to use towards business development and capital expenditure costs.

In the first instance, publicans should contact Business Link on 08457 17 16 15, where advisers will be on hand to undertake a review of the pub business. This will identify what is going well and potential areas of development, such as improvements to marketing, training or financial planning.

Through creating a plan of action that addresses problem areas, grants can be allocated to help publicans focus on the areas of their business that are most in need.

Grants will be awarded only to pubs that meet the qualification criteria. Recipients will then work with a Business Link adviser to improve their business.

There are 100 separate grants available, which will be awarded on a first come first served basis. The fund closes at the end of January 2010, so publicans should act quickly to make sure that they don't miss out, Business Link East said.

Edwin Jones, Business Link rural affairs partnership director, said: "It has been a tough time for pubs, with many being forced to call last orders for good. This new funding will help us to support even more pubs, helping them to survive and stay open for business for years to come.

"Business Link advisers will work with publicans in Cambridgeshire to look at what is going well and what could be done differently to improve their business. The grant money can then be used to address some of the issues identified either for capital expenditure, for example to buy items such as new furniture, lighting or signage, or for business development activities such as staff training, marketing or developing a website.

"In other words, it's for whatever publicans need to help their business succeed through the current economic climate and beyond."

INFORMATION: Contact Business Link on 08457 17 16 15 or visit www.businesslink.co.uk/east