A new Andover hair and beauty salon called has been given a £1,000 grant after surviving Covid in its first year.

Becky McDonald established Finishing Touch Hair and Beauty on Union Street in August, after working at Retreat for six years. Despite multiple lockdowns since then, business is still booming for salon, and it has been given an independent retailer grant by Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC).

Becky told the Advertiser that lockdown had given her the chance to think about establishing a new business, saying: “Having time off work allowed me to think about where I wanted to go. I’d always paid money to someone else, but I decided I wanted to be the businesswoman in charge.

“I’ve always wanted to do this and I’m glad to have got going.”

The Independent Retailer Grant has been awarded for a number of years by TVBC, with recipients receiving £500 following three months of trading after they apply, and a further £500 six months later.

The grant is designed to get businesses into the town centre, with new or existing independent businesses needing to occupy a town centre ground floor unit which has been vacant for at least one month to be eligible for the grant. Businesses such as CJ Flooring and Shelby’s Beauty are among those which have benefitted in recent years.

Becky said: “After looking for my own premises, I found this available unit on Union Street and it was perfect. I now have a team of professionals, and as well as being hair and colour specialists, we offer treatments with a holistic therapist and a nail technician.

“It is great news that my application for the Independent Retailer Grant has been accepted.”

The first cheque was given to Becky by Councillor Iris Andersen, who represents St Mary’s Ward, at the shop on June 4.

She said: “The grant schemes are a great opportunity for those wishing to set up new businesses in Test Valley. I am delighted that Rebecca has been successful in her grant application and wish her every success.”

For more information about the council’s grant schemes, visit www.testvalley.gov.uk