A MUSSELBURGH shop owner has described her £10,000 grant from East Lothian Council as “invaluable” to help her through the pressures of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Sharon Brown, of Blueberry gift shop, praised the local authority’s prompt response, adding: “The council was very good to get the money out so quickly.”

She said: “As a single person, my only wage comes from the shop so, when it is closed, I have no income but still have to pay bills such as rent and water and sewerage charges.

“The grant from the council allowed me to keep my head above water – without it I don’t know what I would have done.”

She stressed that she was glad that her High Street shop was allowed to reopen when it did, as the lockdown was taking its toll on finances and a “worrying time” lay ahead.

She kept her business going during that time by launching an online shop and making free local deliveries in the EH21 postcode area to ensure her valued customers still got gifts and cards to mark special occasions.

Since reopening, Sharon, who also lives in Musselburgh and is secretary of Musselburgh Business Partnership, has been encouraged by the support from the community.

She said: “Lots of people were glad to see the shop back and I have had lots of positive comments about it.”

She urged shoppers to continue to support small, independent shops in a bid to keep town centres thriving, with the message “use it or lose it”.

“It is important to recognise that small businesses also kept people provided with necessities during the lockdown and stepped into the breach. It proved more than ever how important local, independent businesses are to the area,” she added.