BUSINESSES and charities are being invited to apply for a share of a new pot of Government money aimed at helping those whose trade has been badly hit by the coronavirus lockdown.
Leicester City Council has received £3.5million from the Government’s Discretionary Business Grants scheme, to make non-repayable grants available to some businesses and charities who are struggling to survive the current conditions due to loss of income and fixed property costs.
The funding is designed to help some businesses and charities which were not eligible for help from the previous Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund Grant and Small Business Grant which were made available back in April.
The first round of applications for the new Discretionary Business Grants closes on June 22.
The first round funding is available to the following:
- Businesses in shared spaces at the Belgrave Business Centre, Leicester Business Centre and the DMU Innovation Centre.
- Market traders at Leicester and Beaumont Leys markets
- Bed and breakfasts which pay council tax instead of business rates.
- Charities not eligible for a small business grant due to them receiving charitable rates relief.
Other businesses eligible for help will include hospitality businesses which cater for events, commercial venues used for private hire events, places of public worship providing separate, community facilities and childcare nurseries.
Eligible businesses and charities must not qualify for the Small Business Grant or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant; have suffered at least a 40 percent fall in income due to COVID-19; have relatively high, ongoing, fixed property costs such as mortgage or rent, and have been trading on March 11, 2020.
Most grants will be for £7,000 to £10,000, depending on the type of business. Market traders can receive up to £2,000.
Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Despite some of the coronavirus restrictions now beginning to lift, there are a great many businesses and charities across Leicester who still face financial uncertainty and a loss of business.
“We helped around 5,500 businesses over the last two months with Small Business Grants and Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grants totalling more than £63million, but some businesses did not meet the Government’s criteria to be eligible.
“This latest Discretionary Grant scheme gives us the chance to help some of those businesses with a grant to help them pay for fixed property costs in these extremely difficult trading times.
“We understand that this grant is vitally important to people, and will do everything we can to deal with applications and pay out money as quickly and simply as possible.”
The council expects to announce a second round of funding around the middle of June so that more businesses can be supported.
Details of all coronavirus-related help for businesses is available at Leicester City Council's website at: www.leicester.gov.uk/coronavirus
Additional information on advice and support for businesses is available on the website of the Business Gateway Growth Hub – a support network for businesses in the city, run by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).
The pages bring together the most relevant national Government information with the guidance and advice of various teams working across the city centre and beyond, focusing on retail, hospitality, tourism, manufacturing, service and other sectors.
Leicester City Council is working with the LLEP – an organisation involving the city, county and district councils and local business leaders – to coordinate a citywide information service and has a steadily-growing team of advisers already liaising with businesses, who can all be accessed via the Business Gateway Growth Hub.
The LLEP has made a wide range of help and advice available online, and has been working with small local businesses concerned about their future.
Up-to-date information on help for businesses is available at: www.bizgateway.org.uk