Contributions from key supplying partners have sent the NFRN’s Covid-19 Hardship Fund soaring to £200,000 in just under three weeks.

And having opened on April 6, the fund has already awarded grants totalling £20,000 to cash strapped members.

Among FMCG companies pledging support are Booker, Coca Cola European Partners GB and Japan Tobacco International.

Booker’s Managing Director – Retail Colm Johnson said: “It is crucial that support is available for independent retailers, who are at the heart of the communities they are serving during these challenging times. This is why we have contributed to the NFRN Hardship Fund and I would urge retailers who need help to get in touch.”

Coca-Cola European Partners GB Vice President Sales Rob Harris said:“The coronavirus outbreak has brought unprecedented challenges for the independent retail community. Despite many being under significant financial pressure, independent retailers are taking their role as key workers incredibly seriously, providing a lifeline for local people and once again demonstrating their importance at the heart of every community.”

JTI UK’s Sales Vice President Ross Hennessy said: “Covid-19 is having an unprecedented impact on independent retailers and JTI is proud to be supporting them during these challenging times. Independent retailers play an important role in communities across the UK, now more than ever and the NFRN’s Covid-19 Hardship Fund will help many continue to do so.”

NFRN districts and branches have also contributed generously to the Fund.

NFRN National President Stuart Reddish added: “The impact of coronavirus on the lives of independent retailers is unprecedented, and now more than ever they need as much help as possible, so we are really grateful to Booker, CCEP and JTI for their support.

“The Hardship Fund team is working diligently to quickly assess applications and to deliver the grants where they will make a real difference and I am really proud of the way we are getting the money out where it is needed.

“The grants that have already been made to financially pressed members via the NFRN’s Covid-19 Hardship Fund are testament to the invaluable support it provides for its members.”


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