A total of £580,000 of financial aid has been allocated from the Leeds City Region Business Recovery Fund to help businesses get back on their feet after the Boxing Day floods.
Members at West Yorkshire Combined Authority meeting have been told that applications totalling £1.3m have been received and are being processed, with 90% having been approved.
Established in February by West Yorkshire Combined Authority and managed by the LEP, the £5m Business Recovery Fund is supporting businesses with long-term capital investment requirements.
The Fund sits within a wider package of flood assistance, complementing the support, clean up and resilience grants offered by Local Authorities and central government. A total of 1,209 grants have been approved in the Leeds City Region, worth £2.6 million.
Chippendale Projects Ltd, a manufacturer and bespoke joiner based on the Kirkstall Road in Leeds, is the latest recipient of the Business Recovery Fund.
Chippendale Projects General Manager Jamie Hacker said: “The impact of the floods was devastating, at midnight on Boxing Day, our workshop and offices were five feet under water; it was surreal. We were overwhelmed by what had happened.
“At times like that you feel like you are on your own. Thankfully, we weren’t. The following day, David Whiteley from the Manufacturing Advisory Service called to make us aware that there would be help from the Business Recovery Fund. We then made the application, and received support when we needed it. The process was pretty straightforward.
“We will use the funding to move into a new property, buy new machinery and repair damaged machinery. It has been a tough 12 weeks, but due in part to the support we have received from MAS, the LEP and Leeds City Council, we are getting back to pre-flood trading conditions, and the future is bright.”
Roger Marsh, Chair of the LEP and Combined Authority member said: “In addition to allocating £5 million to the Business Recovery Fund, the LEP is funding 2 part time posts to provide post flood advisory services in Calderdale where most businesses have been affected.”
Cllr Box, Leader of Wakefield Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority said: “By establishing the Business Recovery Fund West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the LEP have been able to provide real assistance for Leeds City Region businesses, some of which report they lost up to 60 per cent of sales in January.
“The Fund is helping companies repair or replace flood-damaged equipment, relocate or undertake structural work to help protect their premises against future flooding and I am glad to see the money is already being used to help their long-term recovery and protect jobs.
“However, as well as providing this much-needed support in the wake of the floods we need to take a coordinated approach with partners such as the Environment Agency, Canals and River Trust, Yorkshire Water, Highways England and Pennine Prospects to prevent similar future events.”
Grants of between £5,000 and £100,000 are available through the Business Flood Recovery Fund. Applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and need to be accompanied by a detailed flood recovery plan and evidence of the business’ insurance cover. Application forms and further information about the support available to flood affected businesses can be found here or by calling the LEP’s business growth helpline on 0113 348 1818.