Human Services Ministry offers grants to start-up, expand small businesses

The Difficult Circumstances Unit within the Human Services and Social Security Ministry is currently offering small grants of up to $25,000 to persons desirous of launching, developing or expanding a small business.

Director of Social Services within the Human Services and Social Security Ministry Wentworth Tanner

Director of Social Services of the Ministry, Wentworth Tanner explained that the programme specifically targets vulnerable persons who would have been severely affected by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When I say small grants, I do mean small grants, we are looking at $25,000 and below. So, it’s a case where you have those persons who sell bread on the corner and they may be in need of an oven to continue that operation; the Ministry will consider that request,” tanner told the Department of Public Information (DPI) in a recent interview.
Tanner said the programme is means-tested, whereby an investigation will be done to determine whether the person or family is eligible to benefit from that grant.
“Persons would have to provide supporting documents to show that they are not generating income from elsewhere to be able to access this facility. It is a case where we want to support those persons who are in the greatest need, those persons will be given priority,” he explained.
He further related that the intention of the programme is to empower persons in difficult circumstances so they can support themselves and eliminate the dependency on Government or other support.
The Director said those eligible to benefit from the grants or other forms of assistance include single parents, victims of domestic violence, persons living with disabilities, school-aged children, and persons affected by a natural or manmade disaster.
However, he noted that the programme does not extend to persons who are already benefiting from other social assistance such as the Public Assistance and Old Age Pension programmes.
“So, a person cannot receive both Old Age and Public Assistance for themselves and I made that point because there are situations where a grandmother may be collecting Old Age Pension for her and may be collecting Public Assistance for a grandchild so it’s a case where that person is accessing two benefits but not for themselves,” he said.
Individuals desirous of accessing the grant or any other form of social assistance can apply through the Probation Offices within their respective regions.
The programme forms part of the PPP/C Administration’s strategy to develop and implement initiatives designed to empower women and support children and other vulnerable groups including the elderly and persons living with disabilities.
The aim is to provide enhanced benefits to public assistance recipients, as well as ensure those who are in dire need benefit from the various programmes offered by the Government. The Difficult Circumstances Unit is one of the Ministry’s social assistance programmes which provide financial and psychological assistance to people affected by some form of personal disaster, tragedy or extremely difficult circumstances such as fire, death, terminal illnesses or poverty.