AROUND 40 full-time jobs at a key local business have been secured thanks to funding support from the Scottish Government.

Knockhill Racing Circuit, which is located north of Dunfermline, received £150,000 from the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, which provided bespoke grants and support to viable but vulnerable SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) that are vital to the economy locally or nationally.

The fund was part of a package of measures launched by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, Fiona Hyslop, in April to support businesses and newly self-employed people following the outbreak of COVID-19.

Knockhill, who at the weekend hosted their annual round of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) behind closed doors, were one of 66 companies across Fife that accessed the fund.

The grant, as well as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and local authority rates relief, helped bosses at the motorsport centre meet the overheads of its 220-acre site, as well as securing jobs.

Stuart Gray, director of events at Knockhill, said: “It was very welcome.

“Being in the leisure industry, we’ve been shut for so long and, with almost 40 staff, the overheads are still there even when we’re not trading.

“It was much-needed and much appreciated to safeguard the jobs that are here.

“We’re not solely reliant on events and that is what makes Knockhill the business that it is. There are track days, there’s manufacturer days, there’s events, there’s a karting centre, there’s experiences, and they all contribute towards the turnover.

“Some of those elements have started, and some of them have still to come in, but we’re getting there.

“It’s just a bit slower than we could have wanted but we’ve just got to follow the guidelines.”

The venue closed in March as lockdown restrictions were announced but some regular activities, such as car and bike track days, were able to resume in June with social distancing measures in place.

Driving experiences have also been given the green light to resume but a number of its scheduled events – including July’s Bennett’s British Superbike Championship, one of Knockhill’s biggest of the year – were cancelled.

The touring cars also attracts around 15,000 spectators in normal circumstances and circuit bosses had hoped to be granted test event status to allow some fans in. However, after discussions with the Scottish Government and sportscotland determined that they would be allowed to accommodate a maximum of 200 people – around one per cent of capacity – Knockhill opted to host the BTCC behind closed doors.

The most recent Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund statistics show that grants worth more than £4.5million were paid out to Fife businesses. A total of 1,763 businesses across Scotland shared support of more than £121 million.