Small businesses in Leeds have been handed a new opportunity to claim funding support as they navigate their way through the ongoing financial difficulties caused by 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 an existing grant scheme is being opened up to additional applicants as the council continues its work getting the right support to the right people at the right time.
The scheme is targeted at Leeds-based businesses and charities from any sector, with discretionary grants worth up to £15,000 on offer to help cover overheads such as property service charges and commercial vehicle leasing.
At present, applicants must be able to show that their fixed business costs for the period from August 1 last year to March 31 this year will be at least £2,000.
From tomorrow (Tuesday, February 1), however, that qualifying figure will be reduced to £1,000 – delivering a welcome boost to some of the city’s smallest businesses.
Potential grant recipients are being encouraged to contact the council as soon as possible, as the scheme’s application window is due to close on Tuesday, February 22.
Meanwhile, the closing date for applications to another council-run grant scheme has been pushed back, again with the aim of making sure as many businesses as possible have a chance to access the available funds.
The scheme – offering one-off grants worth up to £6,000 to Leeds-based businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sector – was originally due to close at the end of February but will now remain open until Friday, March 18.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said:
“We are proud of the support we have been able to give Leeds businesses – large and small – over the last two years as they have dealt with a succession of unprecedented and hugely-daunting challenges.
“We also recognise that, for many members of the local business community, the financial pressures exerted by COVID-19 are still a significant cause for concern.
“The council’s approach therefore remains unchanged – we will do our utmost to get the city’s businesses through this crisis and into a position where they can look forward to better times ahead.
“We would encourage anyone who thinks they may qualify for a grant to make contact with us as soon as possible.”
Other measures taken by the council over the course of the pandemic include 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 assistance for their trade that was announced in March last year.
For further information about the council’s COVID-19 business support programme, visit https://www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus/grants-for-businesses.