Grant is key to Paul’s business surviving Covid-19

KEY cutter Paul Thompson, one of the longest-serving stallholders on Hyde Market, has welcomed £5,000 received from the Tameside Discretionary Grant Fund.

“While it was not a life-changing sum, it was a big help as businesses like mine are struggling, especially at this time,” explained Paul whose father started the stall in 1959.

Paul Thompson

“I also needed to upgrade my key cutting machine and the money helped me to do that.”

Paul, who succeeded father Ray in 1985, admitted small one-man businesses like his have been badly hit by the Covid-19 lockdown.

He explained: “In the last two years my business has dwindled with many shops closing in Hyde and internet shopping become increasingly popular, and that was before the current crisis.

“Some days I barely take enough money to break even. It is a tough environment.”

Ray, who was from Audenshaw, started the business more than 60 years ago which also involved hand engraving.

He had previously worked in optical businesses and was a renowned engraver with customers coming many miles to provide custom.

“I didn’t inherit his artistic flair and only cut keys,” Paul continued.

Paul works Hyde four days a week, but in the past, when it was a golden era for markets, he stood Bakewell on Monday, Accrington Tuesday, Pwllheli Wednesday, Sandbach Thursday, Ellesmere Port Friday and Hyde Saturday.

Ray was a well-known local footballer, a striker who banged in the goals for Droylsden and Glossop in the late 1950s.

And Paul’s son Scott is on the coaching staff at Glossop, having previously been at Uppermill FC.

Paul is one of a number of business owners in the borough who was identified as eligible to receive a grant as part of the Tameside Discretionary Grant Fund – open to businesses and charities with yearly property costs of over £1,000 and a loss of income due to the coronavirus of more than 10 per cent.

“The grant was approved and paid quickly, and this was used to ensure I can re-open and continue to operate my business,” he explained.

The final round of grant applications was open to businesses from any sector (with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 – excluding domestic businesses, as well as those eligible in the first two rounds that did not manage to apply on time.

Paul continued: “The grant was unexpected but very welcome, and Tameside Council team have done a great job of keeping me informed, up to date and offering all the help and support I could want.”

For more information about grants or support from Tameside Council, visit

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