COVID funding for lakes hotel supporting local economy

Beech Hill Hotel and Spa aerial view

Beech Hill Hotel  and Spa on the banks of Windermere is one of the hospitality industry businesses which received COVID funding to support them through lockdown. Now back open and welcoming guests, owner and operator, Fraser Richardson reflects on the positive impact the £200,000 COVID fund has had for his business and the local economy.

Fraser said: “We knew that the closure of the hotel was going to have significant implications for all the stakeholders of the business. Clearly the businesses income stream had stopped, unfortunately however the expenses did not follow suit. 

“The government were quick to act with regard to the employees which was one huge concern addressed.  The payment of grants and the suspension of rates also helped. 

“We were left with a couple of areas of concern namely our suppliers and the bank. Our Bank – Barclays were hugely supportive and enabled us to progress the CBILS funding at pace, which allowed us to pay our suppliers more normally through the first lock down. So, in very short order the key areas of the business were addressed, mitigated, managed and allowed us to reopen as and when permitted.”

A lot of the Beech Hill suppliers are local businesses and the fund had a positive knock on effect for these business.

Fraser said: “The money did help to pay the many local suppliers we use. I would say 75-85% of the CBILS funding was used to pay suppliers. 

“Receiving the funding also had a positive impact on our staff.

“Our staff are the business and without them there would be no business. So enabling them to remain employees while on furlough was key to providing security for them and allowing the business to resume after the lockdowns. Moreover we managed to retain 90% of our team which suggests that our team were pleased with the arrangements to secure their jobs.

 “Clearly the CBILS funding was implemented quickly and was the only way forward for the Beech Hill Hotel & Spa.  As a result of the CBILS loan the balance sheet took a substantial hit and will need to be rebuilt over time. This will be the significant long term consequence of the funding.

The financial actions the government took to help businesses like the Beech Hill Hotel & Spa through the enforced closure of the hospitality sector were essential. They allowed viable businesses to secure the jobs of employees and ensure they were able to get back to their normal trading activities post lockdowns.

“In our case the local area benefits in many ways as tourists are drawn to the beautiful Lake District and spend their hard earned money at hotels, guest houses, attractions, cafe’s, restaurants, transport etc which in turn raises local taxes for the local area. So without doubt all the support was a good use of government funding.

“As the owner of a hospitality business the last 15 months have been the most uncertain times I have experienced, however I knew I was not alone and it was the same or worse for others. My heart goes out to all those whose lives have been affected by this awful pandemic. Personally during the uncertain times I recalled a phrase that my late mother often said ’This too will pass’ which helped me stay positive and able to deal with the uncertainty of events.”

  • How has your business survived the pandemic and what are the long-term implications? We’d like to share your thoughts on support for businesses. Please leave your comments below or email your article to 

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