Chefs working inside Hot Wok restaurant in Archway

Islington Council supports local independent cafes, restaurants, pubs and grassroots venues with £1m in Covid-19 grants

Islington Council is distributing grants worth nearly £1m to 120 local hospitality businesses to help with the ongoing impact on business of Covid-19.

The council is also calling for further support from Government to see businesses through the challenging effects of the pandemic and the latest round of Covid-19 restrictions.   

The Hospitality Grants will provide much-needed support to a range of businesses, including independent cafes, pubs and bars, nightclubs, and community hire spaces. These venues are an important part of Islington’s thriving night-time economy, and play a vital role in the borough, supporting many jobs and associated businesses.  

Due to the ongoing difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, many smaller hospitality businesses are still seeing reduced footfall and fewer visitors, leaving some struggling financially.  

Islington Council's Hospitality Grant scheme is part of its strategic priority to invest in local jobs and businesses. By tackling poverty and creating a thriving local economy, this work advances the council’s larger vision of creating a more equal borough, where everyone has a chance to succeed.  

The scheme offers targeted support through one-off grants of £4,000, £8,000 or £12,000 to help these independent, grassroots and community spaces.  

Cllr Asima Shaikh, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Inclusive Economy and Jobs, said: “We’re committed to supporting local jobs and businesses in a thriving local economy, and as part of this work we will prioritise those parts of our economy still trying to recover from a series of lockdowns and reduced footfall. 

“Islington’s independent cafes, restaurants, pubs and grassroots venues are known across London and are a vital part of the borough’s identity and our local economy. They bring life and vibrancy to our local high streets and town centres which are the lifeblood of our communities. 

“These hospitality grants will give extra support at a very difficult time to these brilliant businesses in our local communities, which reflect the very best of our diverse cultural identities.” 

“We will continue to lobby Government for more support. We know that business reserves are gone – and cancelled bookings are now a real threat to local jobs and livelihoods. It is imperative that Government steps up to meet this latest risk, and we urge them to make new funding available to protect Islington businesses, at what should be their busiest time of year. We continue to work across local government to make sure this message is heard loudly.”  

Vivian Cheung, who runs Hot Wok Kitchen in Archway, said: “I am very grateful for the new grant. We just renewed our utility contract which ends in December and we are expecting a £10,000 increase in utility costs in the next 12 months. We are already experiencing a 30% increase in our food costs since we reopened after lockdown. With the latest Covid infection figures and government advice of limited socialising, we expect a more difficult time ahead of us. The £4,000 grant is not going to be enough to cover our loss, but it will still help.” 

Martin Whelan, who runs The Tollington Pub in Hornsey Road, said: “Well done Islington Council. The extra funding being distributed by the council through the extra Hospitality Grants this month is such an unexpected bonus for all small businesses like ourselves. Thank you.” 

Funding for the grants is supplied through the Government’s Additional Restrictions scheme. In all, the council is distributing £950,000. 

The council’s Hospitality Grants scheme is part of its broader Business Recovery Programme, which offers businesses  tailored business support including advice on recovery planning and contributing to the council’s carbon net zero targets. 

Islington Council has been administering Additional Restrictions Grant as direct grant aid to businesses since December 2020. So far, the council has supported nearly 1,000 businesses to access over 1,400 grants totalling over £8.65 million. 

Media contact information

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Islington Council media team – media@islington.gov.uk or 020 7527 2307.  Out of hours: 07769 163303

If you are a member of the public with a general question about the council please contact:

Access Islington – www.islington.gov.uk/contact-us or 020 7527 2000