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More than £40,000 is still available in The Fed’s Hardship Fund, set up to help retailers facing financial pressures during the Covid-19 pandemic

The fund, launched shortly after the first lockdown in April 2020, has already allocated almost £190,000 to 153 claimants. 

Chairman of The Fed‘s benefits and hardship fund committee Andrew Taylor has urged retailers to take advantage of the remaining funds. 

“People suffered real financial hardship during the pandemic, and money was allocated for emergency essentials, but we haven’t had a claim for a few months now,” he said. 

“We are sure there will be members out there who are still facing difficulty, and they need to know money is in the pot and we are here to help. We encourage them to come forward.” 

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While some members saw a dramatic increase in sales as people worked from home and shopped locally, others saw footfall decimated due to their shop location or personal circumstances. 

To help, donations flooded into the fund through money raised via The Fed’s districts. Money was also raised through donations from suppliers, wholesalers and publishers including betterRetailing’s parent company, Newtrade Media. In the first three weeks of lockdown, the total pledged was £200,000

Of the retailers who received help, some wrote to The Fed to express their gratitude. 

Many people said they used the money to pay for a range of emergencies, including settling outstanding utility bills, credit card bills, wholesaler bills and even to plug rent arrears. 

One letter read: “I don’t know how to express my thanks to you. Thank you is not enough, but I still want to say thank you.” 

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Another read: “We’ve been in business for 45 years and we’ve never known times like this. We had to close the business, but we have opened again, and this grant will be a boost to getting back to normal and our staff back in jobs. Thank you, it means so much.” 

Another letter read: “Along with the small business grant and small business income support, I feel a lot more confident we can survive this crisis. Thanks for all your help.” 

Taylor added: “From these letters sent by members to say how much the organisation has done for them, we know that even the smallest payment made a real difference.” 

Applications to the fund can be made via email or post with an application form available on The Fed’s hardship fund webpage

Retailers applying must be able to prove financial hardship as a direct result of Covid-19 and provide supporting documents. 

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