Flood defence scheme is continuing to help Lowestoft businesses

Lowestoft Vision BID coordinator Jason Cookson with Peter Rose from Lowestoft Service Centre on Beva

Lowestoft Vision BID coordinator Jason Cookson with Peter Rose from Lowestoft Service Centre on Bevan Street East which suffered from the December tidal surge and floods which followed.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

A scheme which is helping businesses in Lowestoft affected by the devastating tidal surge is continuing to flourish.

More and more firms, who had suffered from the floods of December 2013, are benefiting from Waveney District Council's Flood Relief Business Support Scheme.

And thanks to the efforts of Lowestoft Vision's Business Improvement District (BID) – an organisation which the town's businesses pay into to help improve the area – co-ordinator, Jason Cookson, further funds have been generated.

As The Journal reported in November, the role was created with funding agreed by Waveney District Council so that Mr Cookson could encourage people to apply for funds under the Business Support Scheme, which is administered by Waveney.

And since October, Mr Cookson has liaised with businesses in Bevan Street East, Suffolk Road, Commercial Road and Waveney Road which had been badly affected by the tidal surge.

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Working in partnership with Waveney to raise funds for the businesses via the scheme, Mr Cookson has successfully submitted funding applications for 32 businesses – meaning that, to date, £74,200 has been paid direct to business owners, with a further £16,600 agreed and awaiting payment.

Mr Cookson said: 'In a short period I met with more than 30 businesses, which were affected by the tidal surge of December 2013. Many were devastated by the flooding, for some the impact lasted weeks, for others months, suffering severe financial loss, personal stress and trauma.

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'Through one to one business meetings and a great working relationship with Waveney District Council, we have been able to process applications efficiently giving businesses access to the available funds.' He added: 'The funds raised will be injected back into the local economy, helping businesses buy new stock, materials and equipment – this is real money going to real people which will make a real difference to business owners.'

Delighted with how the scheme was benefiting businesses, Waveney District Council leader Colin Law said: 'We are delighted to have provided funding for this role and that Jason is making a difference in the town.

'It is vital that all affected businesses have access to the financial support available and this appointment is ensuring this is the case.'

Paul Wilkinson, a director of R&P Metalwork Ltd based on Commercial Road, met with Mr Cookson last November to discuss flood funding.

Mr Wilkinson said: 'I contacted Lowestoft Vision on the recommendation of neighbouring businesses who had already met with Jason.

'The meeting was productive, Lowestoft Vision had a professional, helpful and understanding approach and they dealt with all the application paperwork, provided regular updates. Within just a few weeks we received a flood funding payment of £4,000 from Waveney District Council.

'The funding will go a long way to helping us get back to where we were this time last year before the awful events that followed the flooding,' he added. 'We have bought new equipment, production has increased, making our business more self-sufficient and sustainable. We are grateful to Lowestoft Vision and Waveney District Council for their involvement and commitment.'

Mr Cookson will continue to work alongside Lowestoft Vision BID manager Darren Newman in organising future events and projects, which develop business in the town.

? Lowestoft Vision and Waveney District Council are keen for business owners to contact Mr Cookson regarding the prospect of raising flood funding with a view to submitting requests for support. He can be contacted on 01502 502205 or email jason@lowestoftvision.co.uk

What do you think? Write, giving your full contact details, to: Journal Postbox, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 1NB or email lowestoft.journal@archant.co.uk

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