As England prepares to go into a second national lockdown from Thursday, The Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) is reminding its members that financial assistance is still available through the NFRN Covid-19 Hardship Fund.

The Covid-19 Hardship Fund was created to alleviate some of the financial pressures that independent retailers may be facing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It offers financial assistance in the form of a grant to members suffering cash flow and other financial challenges.

Since its launch in April, the Hardship Fund has helped 95 independent retailers and paid out £119,400.

Thanks to generous donations from The Federation, its districts and branches, and retail partners, the fund has reached an impressive total of £241,621.

NFRN National President Stuart Reddish said: “The impact of Covid-19 on the lives and businesses of some independent retailers has been unprecedented and, with England set to go into another lockdown and members in Scotland, Wales and Ireland facing their own restrictions, members are reminded that our Covid-19 Hardship Fund is still here to help.

“We are acutely aware that some members are facing severe financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic and that further restrictions may completely decimate footfall within certain stores, due to their location.

“If your store has to close or is struggling to survive due to Covid-19, apply for a grant today via the NFRN’s website, TheFedOnline.”

Jane Ham, of Caspers Cafe in Warminster Railway Station, had to close her store two weeks before the first lockdown due to a lack of footfall. She said: “I heard about the NFRN Covid-19 Hardship Fund when I was on the phone to the Connect team about a different matter.

“They suggested that I applied for the Hardship Fund, so I went and applied.

“I didn’t expect to get anything and when I did, I told my husband that I could finally get another fridge.

“Our fridge broke during the coronavirus pandemic and the money will go towards getting a new one.

“The money will be a great help and is much appreciated.

“It was easy to apply for the Hardship Fund and I heard back after 5-6 days – and that’s including the weekend.”

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