A RECRUITMENT agency founded by two Chorley sisters has been one of many small businesses to benefit from a finance support access scheme created by Lancashire County Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

Access the Finance Lancashire (A2F Lancashire) has already guided more than 100 local businesses through the process of accessing much needed finance since the start of lockdown and is now offer a fully digitised support package to help firms make sound financial decisions.

One such local company has been Chorley’s Fresh Perspective Sourcing, a recruitment agency founded by sisters Emily and Laura Leyland, which was able to access vital loans thanks to A2F Lancashire’s help.

Founder and managing director Laura Leyland, said: “The loan has allowed us to continue the work we do and knowing we have the loan feels like a safety net in these troubling times.

“The process was really simple, and the teams at Lancashire County Council and GC Business Finance were extremely helpful in delivering the loan efficiently and providing sound advice.”

As such, the sisters’ company was able develop their application package for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) funding, resulting in receiving £35,000 from GC Business Finance which meant they could avoid furloughing staff.

The scheme first launched in 2009, however the unprecedented pandemic situation has only heightened the need for its services as businesses across different sectors come under pressure.

A2F Lancashire programme lead Mark Gibbons said: “Businesses all around the world have been hit hard by the impacts of COVID-19, so it’s immensely encouraging to see so many Lancashire small and medium sized enterprises not only surviving but thriving through access to the right support.

“Access to Finance Lancashire has already supported 108 businesses across the county since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, including 36 businesses in applying for COVID-19 funding.

“Local businesses like Fresh Perspective Resourcing have shown exactly what can be achieved with the right support, strengthening their operation in the short term while keeping their growth plans on track for the future with a better understanding of all available funding options.”

Lancashire County Council cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, councillor Michael Green hopes that schemes like this will help shelter the local economy from the worst effects of the pandemic’s aftermath.

He said: “The popularity and success of Access to Finance Lancashire demonstrates that businesses in this county have real potential for growth even in the midst of a global pandemic, with the right kind of funding to meet their ongoing needs.

“I would encourage any Lancashire businesses with questions or concerns about finance to access this pivotal support.”

To find out more about Access to Finance Lancashire, visit the dedicated website at: https://a2flancashire.growthco.uk/.