COUNCIL bosses are using coronavirus funding to employ an officer responsible for helping small an medium sized businesses to get back on track.

Under a goverment scheme, the Town Centre Safe Reopening Fund, £50m of European Regional Development Fund cash was offered to help firms bounce back on reopening after lockdown.

In the bidding for the funds, Bury Council managed to secure £169,000 for the borough's town centres.

And one of the measure being employed to boost traders across the six towns is a specialist officer, on a salary of £27,000 plus.

Councillors have been told that the small business support officer post would be on a fixed term contract, running until the end of March next year.

Donna Ball, the council's operations director, said in a decision notice: "The funding is very clearly intended to support safe reopening of SMEs and the associated guidance specifies that the fund must be used to subsidise the introduction of temporary measures over and above planned work.

"There are a number projects that are being progressed to aid the safe re-opening."

These are said to include communications work to advertise the 'keep safe' message across the borough on billboards, buses and telephone kiosks.

Other initiatives have seen promotional materials supplied to businesses so they can encourage social distancing in workplaces, or advice is being provided for firms 'to open safely and operate in a safe manner'.

Physical assistance, such as the provision of barriers to identify trading areas or manage queues outside shops, is another area.

The possibility of holding 'surgeries' for traders to seek advice and support in different localities has also been highlighted. The post could be recruited for externally or see someone seconded .