Council launches lifeline for local businesses

Brixton Station Road
Brixton Station Road

Council leader Jack Hopkins announced new funding of £4.2m to help local businesses most at risk during the coronavirus pandemic during a well-attended webinar hosted by the Brixton Business Improvement District (BID) chair Elly Foster.

The Lambeth Local Economy Hardship Fund will award grants from £5,000 to £25,000 for a range of badly hit businesses, charities and not-for-profit organisations in a bid to boost their chances of survival and recovery.

Full details of the Lambeth Local Economy Hardship Fund visit here.

The fund has four different categories – Independent Hospitality Fund, Arts and Culture at Risk Fund, Charitable Organisations Fund and Shared Workspaces and Market Traders Fund.

The Shared Workspaces and Market Traders Fund opens Friday 29 May at 9am and will only take the first 100 applications.

For the Arts fund, the council will ensure that at least 40 per cent of organisations benefiting are Black, Asian and minority ethnic and/or female led.

The Funds will support over 370 organisations, including independent hospitality businesses such as restaurants, pubs, cafes, clubs and music venues, cultural organisations, charities, market traders and businesses in shared workspaces.

Although some sectors will cautiously resume trading, those businesses and organisations that rely on bringing groups of people together face the biggest threat with the ongoing need for social distancing.

Cllr Matthew Bennett, Lambeth’s cabinet member for planning,investment &new homes, said: “We have quickly put together a fresh package of support using government funding topped up from our own financial resources to protect our locally owned small businesses, leisure industry, cultural sector and charities. This builds on the work we have already undertaken to support businesses and protect jobs in the face of this unprecedented disruption to the economy.”

Elly Foster, co-chair Brixton bid and managing director of Satay Bar, Market House and Nanban

Elly Foster, Co-Chair of Brixton BID and managing director of Satay Bar, Market House, and Nanban said: “This support from Lambeth will be vital for the survival of many important businesses and charitable organisations across the borough. Nearly all hospitality and night time economy businesses have been unable to operate through the crisis and have been hit hard. This funding will be crucial in supporting those who have been left out of the Government’s grant schemes and rebuilding our economy.”

According to Nabeel Khan, Lambeth’s director for enterprise, jobs and skills, there are already 20,000 unemployed in in Lambeth with i in 5 of the workforce furloughed.

Results from the council’s Lambeth Business Survey identify that 87 per cent of businesses in Lambeth have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 crisis and have experienced a loss in income. For pubs and restaurants in Lambeth this rises to 93 per cent. A survey by the Music Venue Trust found that 82 per cent of the UK’s live venues are at risk of collapse by the end of the month.

Of the 570 responses to the survey the headline finding was that 9 in 10 had lost income.

Cllr Bennett said: “Keeping businesses open is vital for those who rely on them – but is also vital to support Lambeth’s recovery from this crisis and the economic damage that we are already seeing in our community. We mustn’t lose those places and organisations that make Lambeth Lambeth.

“This package of support has been designed based on local need and in light of limited financial resources. While this will provide a vital lifeline for many businesses and charitable organisations, we know that this won’t help everyone. We will continue to call on Government for more support to protect our economy, especially for our major cultural institutions at risk.”

For full details of the Lambeth Local Economy Hardship Fund visit