Fresh funding support is on offer to businesses and charities in Leeds that are suffering continued financial problems due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leeds City Council has already distributed more than £290m worth of assistance to the business and charity sector since the start of the pandemic. Now the council has opened a grant scheme aimed at local businesses and charities that are still struggling to make ends meet as a result of restrictions introduced to control the spread of the virus.
Grants ranging from £1,000 to £15,000 are available to help cover ongoing fixed overheads – including commercial property rent and service charges, commercial vehicle leasing costs and business-related insurance – for a period running from August this year to March 2022.
To qualify for support, applicants must fulfil a number of criteria, one of which requires them to demonstrate a drop from their pre-pandemic income of at least 25 per cent or £50,000 between April 1 and September 30 this year. They must also have been actively trading since April 2019 and be able to show they were not in financial difficulties prior to the pandemic.
Top-up grants worth as much as £10,000 are on offer to businesses and charities where two or more jobs are deemed to be at risk, provided they have eligible costs of more than £30,000 and have seen their income significantly reduced during the first six months of the 2021/22 financial year.
Applications to the scheme can be made from October 14, for up to four weeks, although the window may close sooner depending on the level of demand.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education said:
“We’re acutely aware of the difficulties faced by businesses and charities across Leeds since the start of the coronavirus crisis and we have been determined to stand shoulder to shoulder with them throughout this time, distributing hundreds of millions of pounds in support.
“We’re also aware that, despite the gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions, some of our businesses and charities are continuing to grapple with financial problems linked to the pandemic.
“This grant fund is designed to help them deal with those difficulties and keep contributing to the Leeds economy as well as the wider fabric of life in the city. If you think you may be eligible for assistance, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.”
The wide range of measures taken by the council since the start of the pandemic includes the distribution of grants to businesses that were forced to close during the various national lockdowns and payments to help with reopening costs as restrictions began to ease. Eligible taxi and private hire drivers, meanwhile, can still claim free three-year licence renewals as part of a multi-million pound package of support for their trade that was announced in March.
For further information about the council’s COVID-19 business support programme, visit www.leeds.gov.uk