Charities and small businesses in Lewisham that have so far missed out on Government support can apply for grants from a new £2 million fund.  

The Lewisham Small Business Support Fund aims to help organisations which have had a “significant decrease in income” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and have “fallen through the cracks of other Government support measures”.  

Grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 will be on offer, with the fund prioritising businesses in shared offices and flexible workspaces, those in the creative and cultural sector and the night time economy, and independent grassroots, small businesses, or social enterprises. 

The council expects a high demand for the new fund and organisations committed to London Living Wage are more likely to be successful, it said. 

Applications opened on Tuesday, June 16, while grants will be paid by early July.    

There are four funding categories: 

  • Charities identified by revenue services as in receipt of charitable business rates relief, which would otherwise have been eligible for 100 per cent small business rates relief. (£5,000 per organisation) 
  • Small businesses and social enterprises in shared offices or other flexible workspaces which do not have their own business rates assessment. (£5,000 for those employing fewer than ten people, £10,000 for those employing ten or more people) 
  • Small businesses and social enterprises in the cultural, creative, and evening and night time economy sectors with a rateable value of less than £51,000. (£5,000 for those employing less than ten people, £10,000 for those employing ten or more people) 
  • Independent grassroots, small businesses or social enterprises that make a considerable impact to the local economy and the vibrancy of our high streets and town centres. These ‘growth builders’ support a significant number of jobs, encourage footfall and trade in the area and are crucial for our local economy’s growth and strategic regeneration. (Grants up to £25,000 per organisation) 

Councillor Joe Dromey, cabinet lead for employment and skills, said the council was “committed to helping local small businesses and residents who have been hit hard by this crisis”. 

“We’ve worked closely with the local business community to develop this scheme.  

“We hope the funding will help protect jobs and livelihoods across the borough during this difficult time, and enable us to build back better after the pandemic,” he added.  

The fund will only be open to businesses who have not already received public sector funding such as the small business grant or the retail, hospitality and leisure grant. 

Most successful applicants will have a value of less than £51,000 – though some exceptions could be made based on value to the local economy.  

Applications close on Monday, June 29 at 5pm.