A GRANT totalling £40,000 is to be awarded to three business networks in Hambleton.

Over the next two years Easingwold Business Forum, Thirsk and District Business Association and Thirsty Thursday in Stokesley will each receive a cash injection to boost local businesses.

They are three of several active networks across the district which Hambleton District Council is looking to help financially.

The grant from the council will be used to help the organisations develop membership, effectiveness and long term sustainability.

Eddie Copley Farnell, who leads the Easingwold Business Forum, said: “This grant is vital to building up our network and engaging more members – which will strengthen collaboration in the town and promote the area.”

The grants can be used to develop the organisations’ offer to business members, improve websites and increase social media links. In addition they will look to increase membership by marketing and promoting the networks effectively.

Council deputy leader, councillor Peter Wilkinson added: “The council has links with all these networks but access to resources to help develop and promote them is needed.

“They are often led by just one or two hard working individuals in small businesses on a voluntary basis, but with more support they could do much more with their members.

“We have 4,000 businesses in Hambleton and these networks are vital in offering a local support network.

“They allow the council to engage with them which is a great conduit for sharing information and we see as an important route and tool in boosting the local economy.”