Call for support for flood-hit firms

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A rallying call has gone out for people to show their support to businesses cleaning up after the Boxing Day floods.

It came as Small Business Minister Anna Soubry visited Croston yesterday to talk to business owners affected by flooding caused by Storm Eva.

Wheatsheaf landlord Jon Lilley meets Small Business Minister Anna Soubry, right, and South Ribble MP Seema Kennedy

Wheatsheaf landlord Jon Lilley meets Small Business Minister Anna Soubry, right, and South Ribble MP Seema Kennedy

Jon Lilley, landlord of the Wheatsheaf pub, said: “Our income is only through food and drink sales so we need people to visit all the pubs and businesses that have been affected, whether it’s a haircut or a restaurant meal or going for a pint.

“All the businesses need support, not just from people in Croston but outside as well.”

Giovanni Iozzi, owner of neighbouring Fresco Fresco restaurant, said: “We need people to support us so that we can carry on trading.”

Anna Soubry heard about the damage caused by the flooding and spoke about funding available to help.

“I’m hoping that with the amount of money and grants - it all sounds positive - we stand a chance of bouncing back from it very quickly. Hopefully within a few weeks we can get back to some normality. If the grants aren’t available to us, it’s going to take months and months.”

Jon Lilley

She encouraged business owners to apply for funding and said she hoped a scheme to help residents get insurance in flood-hit areas could be extended to small businesses.

She added: “Croston is beautiful. This is a village with three rivers flowing through it. We can see the remnants of this terrible flood and I have heard stories of how bad it was.

“It has had a devastating effect on people, their businesses and homes. It is somehow even worse at this time of year.”

Both the Wheatsheaf and Fresco Fresco have reopened since the flooding, but work is still needed.

The Wheatsheaf opened five days later, but the kitchen remains closed.

Landlord Jon said: “I’m hoping that with the amount of money and grants - it all sounds positive - we stand a chance of bouncing back from it very quickly. Hopefully within a few weeks we can get back to some normality.

“If the grants aren’t available to us, it’s going to take months and months.”