Don't miss out on free money to help you through the coronavirus crisis.

That's the message to businesses and organisations in Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent who haven't yet applied for a grant to help them survive the current situation.

So far Gosport Borough Council has paid out £8.5m in total, to 735 local claimants. But it believes there are many who haven't yet applied, perhaps because they might not think they're eligible.

The grants, made available under a national government scheme, are distributed by the council to small businesses, and firms in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Sports and social clubs, and charity shops, may also be eligible. Each grant can total thousands of pounds.

Cllr Stephen Philpott, Chairman of the council's Economic Development Board said: "These are tough times for local businesses and organisations, especially small firms, but there's help available and it could make all the difference.

"We really want this money to be distributed so businesses and organisations in the borough get the money they're entitled to. If someone isn't sure they qualify, then I would urge them to get in touch anyway as they've got nothing to lose."

The council has spent extra money to make sure payments get to businesses on the day they are made, and not the usual three to five working days.

To find out if they're eligible for a grant, and to apply, businesses and organisations should go here or call 023 9254 5470.

The council is aware of companies offering to help businesses get grants in return for a fee. Businesses should ignore these and apply directly to the council at no cost.