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Sustain Coronavirus Food Alert Funding and other support

Emergency small loans for community food sector

The Loans for Enlightened Agriculture Programme (LEAP) has launched emergency small loans to help support the community food sector.

What is on offer

LEAP are offering the following funding for a period of 3 months from 1st April 2020:

  • Small unsecured loans from £5,000 to £20,000
  • 3-month capital and interest holiday, followed by 12-month capital holiday
  • Interest rate: 5%
  • Term: 5 years and 3 months
  • Quick decision (aiming for funds to be paid to successful organisations within 14 days of application)
  • Arrangement fee: Waived while this offer is open.

No grant will be paid with these small loans. If you need more than £20,000 of funding apply to the general LEAP programme (which provides a blended financial package of loans, grants and mentoring) in the usual way.

Loan criteria

The focus for this funding will be on established community food businesses and agroecological growers and it can be used for anything that helps them navigate the Covid-19 crisis. The investment could be used for both revenue and capital spend, for example working capital to develop new routes to market or to scale up production to meet growing demand, recruiting more staff, investing in IT and delivery vehicles, new processing facilities and equipment. LEAP have set the following main criteria:

  • At least 50% of income must come from food and drink production or sales
  • Must have been established and trading for at least 3 years or have a turnover of at least £40,000
  • Must be constituted as a CBS, CIC, CLG, Co-op or CIO. LEAP cannot fund sole traders, partnerships or CLSs
  • LEAP will look for evidence that applicants meet their enlightened agriculture and social impact criteria

Application process

LEAP are asking for the following basic information:

  • Brief description of the business
  • The amount required and what it will be used for
  • Last set of approved accounts
  • Most recent set of quarterly management accounts
  • Legal form of governance
  • Information on what the loan will be used for
  • Information on security of tenure
  • A brief social impact statement

To apply, fill out this brief application form. LEAP aim to reply within 24 hours with any follow-up questions, and will ask you to send your last set of approved accounts and your most recent set of quarterly management accounts.

If you have any questions contact

Coronavirus Food Alert: Sustain's work on food resilience in the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.We are helping secure food for vulnerable people and supporting local emergency responses.

The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

020 3559 6777

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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