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Discretionary Grants Fund

The council has been awarded £2.8 million by the Government to distribute to businesses that have experienced a significant fall in income as a result of Covid-19, that have ongoing fixed property-related costs and are currently outside the scope of the existing Government business grant schemes.

The application scheme for Childcare providers are OPEN. 

Our application schemes for Market Traders, Micro and Small Businesses in independent shared workspaces and affordable workspace operators, business to business suppliers, and Independent pubs, theatres, live events venues, restaurants and cafes have closed. 


The Government has set out guidance on priority areas, but has given the council discretion over allocation for this funding. In line with Government guidance, the Islington scheme has been designed to primarily support:

  • small and micro businesses, as defined in the Companies Act 2006
  • businesses with relatively high ongoing and fixed property-related costs
  • businesses which can demonstrate a significant fall in income due to COVID-19.

Due to high property values, as an inner London borough, some businesses occupying property, or part of a property, with a rateable value above £51,000 will be eligible. Having taken into account the importance of different sectors to our local economy, and the severity of impact of COVID-19 on them, we have chosen to focus on the following:

  1. Regular market traders or public realm kiosk vendors in Islington, trading for at least 4 days a week: because our markets provide local people with good quality, good value goods and services; are an attraction for our town centres; give small businesses the chance to start up without substantial rent and create local jobs.
  2. Childcare providers: because good quality day nursery provision provides better outcomes for children and their families and, because affordable childcare enables residents to work.
  3. Hospitality businesses with rateable values over £51k*, with a focus on those supporting the evening economy: Islington is known for lively bars, leisure and cultural venues. The sector is a major contributor to our local economy, providing many jobs for local people. 
  4. Micro/small/medium business-to-business suppliers to the leisure, hospitality and creative sectors, and occupying industrial premises: these businesses offer unique career pathways into a range of cultural production jobs and industrial spaces are protected by our Local Plan for Islington. 
  5. Micro/small businesses based in affordable co-working spaces, and independent shared workspace operators: we are a UK hotspot for new start-ups, with 18,590** new businesses created in the last year.

(*Specifically in relation to Pot 3, not all of these businesses who occupy premises with a rateable value over £51,000 will be eligible. The qualifying rateable value ranges will be publicised in advance of opening of applications.)

We will expect all applicants to commit to supporting the Council in promoting the London Living Wage and to support the council’s employment initiatives – so that our community will benefit from this money.

Grants available

*important update: Since opening the pots A and E, it has become evident that we needed to simplify the process for independent traders applying to the scheme. The final allocations are confirmed below:

 Pot   Priorities Grant (£)  Value 
A Regular market traders and public realm vendors with ongoing property related costs, licensed by Islington Council £5,000  £0.570m


Small childcare providers, registered in Islington £250 -£5,000  £0.125m
C Independent pubs, theatres, live events venues, restaurants and cafes, with an rateable value in excess of £51,000* (see note below) £25,000  £1.2m
D Small and medium business-to-business suppliers to hospitality and creative sectors, occupying industrial premises £10,000  £0.300m
E Small/micro businesses located in affordable and independent workspaces, and independent workspace operators £5,000  £0.675m
   Total:    £2.87m

We will process applications as quickly as possible and will allocate funds on a first come, first served basis. 

Application process

The online application form, together with full guidance, will be posted on this page. We will need you to submit a number of scanned documents as evidence along with your online form. If you have any questions when completing your application, you will be able to contact our team at businesssupport@islington.gov.uk. We will also provide you with council contacts who will be able to help you, should you have any questions about completing your application.

We will work as swiftly as we can to process applications, and undertake background checks. We will contact you if we need to clarify any details, but our decision will be final and there will there be no right to appeal. We expect to award the first round of grants around the end of June and will continue to make payments in stages through to August. We will close the scheme when all the money has been allocated.

Keeping you updated

We want to reach out to as many potential applicants as we can. We will be promoting the scheme via our business contacts and through social media (follow @islingtonbc on twitter or check out our Linked-in page as well as continuing to provide regular updates on this page and in our e-bulletin (sign-up by emailing businesssupport@islington.gov.uk) so do check regularly.

Signposting to other sources of advice and support

Although this additional funding is a very welcome and positive result of our strong lobbying efforts of central Government, we know that it will not be enough to meet the needs of all our businesses in Islington, and many will be disappointed. We will continue to lobby central Government for more support on your behalf. We have posted details of other financial support and sources of advice in our Finance support for businesses section.

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