SMALL businesses across Chichester District can benefit from a package of support worth more than £300,000.

Cabinet committee members have given the green light for a series of projects to go ahead using more than £270,000 made available through the pooled business rates fund for West Sussex.

An grant worth £71,428 will will help small businesses apply for funding for capital projects or apprenticeship training.

The scheme offers a way for businesses to access match funding of up to £2,500 for capital projects or up to £1,500 for apprenticeship training.

Eligible capital projects include buying equipment to help fit out a health and beauty salon, an extractor system for a pub kitchen, developing a new website or providing an IT workstation for a new member of staff.

A further £168,800 will go towards funding specialist retail training and providing shop front grants for independent high street retailers.

The scheme will begin with retail workshops, focussing on converting footfall into sales, and retailers will be able to choose from up to six workshops.

The next stage will involve individual improvement sessions and in-store training to ensure that all commercial opportunities are being identified.

Following the training sessions, participating retailers will also be able to apply for a grant to refurbish and improve their shop fronts.

In addition, £32,000 will go towards helping businesses engage with schools and colleges.

The funding will go towards planning a major jobs and skills event towards the end of 2018 to bring employers and young job seekers together.

It will also help establish specialist hubs across the district, which will enable more people to access career support workshops and drop in sessions.

The Choose Work scheme not only helps people find jobs but it helps to equip them to meet employers’ staff requirements.

Chichester District Council leader councillor Tony Dignum said: “We are committed to assisting small businesses and independent retailers in the district and so I am very pleased that our bid for this funding has been successful.

“These schemes are being put into place as a result of demand from independent businesses themselves, so we know that this type of support is needed.

“This is very positive news and will really help support our local economy.

“I am also pleased the excellent progress of our Choose Work programme will be continuing, with the proposed projects helping to bring employers and potential workers together.

“The funding has only just been announced, so we are now in the early stages of putting these programmes together.

“We’ll publish more information and details on how to apply once they are ready.”