Business support grants have now been paid to 4,600 businesses in Sheffield, with the grants totalling over £55 million.
Funding for the grants was made available by the Government, who also set the criteria, to help businesses who are facing financial difficulty due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sheffield City Council has distributed grants to 65% of eligible businesses who have applied and continues to process applications.
Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment at Sheffield City Council, said:
“We know that this is an extremely challenging time for a lot of businesses in Sheffield and we are working hard to process grants as quickly as possible.
“We’ve seen the percentage of business grant payments to eligible businesses rise from 50% to 65% in the last week alone, and the business rates team are making good progress on this.
“We’re also working to support businesses who are struggling to access the grants, due to having to wait for their claims to be assessed by the Valuation Office Agency, or those who are not eligible due to the fact that they share their business premises. In these cases we are fighting their corner and lobbying Central Government for funding for these businesses.
“It’s also important for me to say that we still haven’t received applications from all eligible businesses in Sheffield, so I’d urge any business owners who think they may qualify for a grant to get in touch with us.”
Steve and Lesley Whiting, who received a support grant for their business Crumbs Sandwich Bar, said:
“We just want to express our gratitude to Sheffield City Council for the ease of access to the Small Business Grant offered by the government following the impact the Coronavirus is having on the economy.
“The application process was straightforward, we had all the documents and information prepared in advance as advised and after approx. 15 mins the claim was completed and submitted. An acknowledgment was received with an update regarding the application and payment and one week later we received an e mail stating we had been successful and the grant would be in our bank account within 24/48 hours and true to their word it was.
“The relief and peace of mind this has given us at this financially worrying time is immense. It means we can now cover all our direct debits, such as rent and utilities for the next couple of months until we are out of lockdown and social distancing measures are relaxed. More importantly our little business will not go bankrupt and we can continue to serve our loyal customers once we reopen our doors.”
Rebecca Fielding, Founder and MD of local independent people and talent consultancy Gradconsult, said:
“Business Sheffield have provided us with excellent support as a small business during the COVID19 pandemic. We applied for the small business rate relief grant shortly after the form was opened on-line and had the £10,000 in our bank within ten days.
“The business advisors have also been a great support, signposting additional schemes and funding, posting regular updates and perhaps most importantly offering an independent, informed and supportive listening ear.
“There is a genuine desire and interest from the advisor team to support our local business community – they really seem to care about helping us – not only to get through these unusual times, but also to be set up to succeed in a post COVID19 world. I’d recommend getting in touch with them to see if and how they can help you.”
Businesses are advised that it could take up to 10 days for the application to be processed and reminded that it’s essential to ensure the information provided is accurate to avoid delays.