A Worcestershire-based company specialising in office wall partitions has secured funding to survive the Coronavirus pandemic and safeguard seven jobs.

Architectural Wallsz, based in Alvechurch, was forced to cancel all work scheduled for April and May after non-essential construction sites closed due to Covid-19.

The company approached BCRS Business Loans, who are a delivery partner for the government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), to secure a funding boost to support the company during this unprecedented interruption to trading.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered through almost 50 British Business Bank accredited lenders, is designed to support the continued provision of finance to UK smaller businesses (SMEs) during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The scheme enables lenders to provide facilities of up to £5m to smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cashflow. It supports a wide range of business finance products, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance facilities.

Ian Strangward, Managing Director at Architectural Wallsz, said:

“Accessing a CBILS loan was essential in supporting the survival of our company during this incredibly difficult time.

“Prior to this, we had experienced a bumper quarter and had built a strong order book, but the Covid-19 outbreak meant we needed a funding boost to secure our cash flow position until we can start trading again.

“Architectural Wallsz specialise in the interior fit out of commercial offices, education and healthcare sectors, offering supply and installation services across the UK.”

While current contracts have been suspended, the company’s directors have used their expertise to develop pod solutions that can support hospitals and healthcare centres during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Ian added: “Architectural Wallsz has developed isolation pods that provide a solution comprised of scalable and reconfigurable modules that meet NHS standards for infection control. We have the capability to supply and install 500 healthcare rooms in 30 days. These modules have been designed as a rapid response solution to Covid-19. We are currently exploring ways of helping a number of NHS Trusts.”

Stephen Deakin, Chief Executive at BCRS Business Loans, said:

“We are delighted to have supported Architectural Wallsz during this incredibly difficult time. Ensuring small businesses survive and safeguard jobs during this crisis is crucial to limiting the damage to our economy. Not only this, but we are delighted to see that company is using its expertise to help healthcare providers fight this virus.

“We are committed to doing all we possibly can to support businesses that have been affected by the Coronavirus crisis. We believe that no viable business should go unsupported and have tailored our loan process to comply with social distancing guidelines.

“Since going ‘live’ with CBILS on Tuesday 7th April, we have lent £1.68 million to 27 businesses, with a further 12 loans approved totalling £713k and many more in the application stage. As a small team of 17, we are incredibly proud of those figures and we are doing everything we can to scale up as much as possible.”

Triodos Bank UK has provided BCRS Business Loans with support funding that has enabled this loan.

Paul Nicoll, social and cultural team manager for business banking at Triodos Bank UK, said:

“It’s good to see BCRS able to provide a channel to this financial support for SMEs right now. Our experience of providing funds for on lending by Community Development Finance Institutions like BCRS is paying off – this type of support is now more crucial than ever. The sector will be key to a post-corona recovery and we must help it to survive through these difficult times. With this particular Community Investment Enterprise Facility (CIEF) our aim has always been to make finance more accessible and inclusive, and we look forward to hearing more about the impact that SMEs like Architectural Wallsz can then have. Making money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change is central to our ethos.”

BCRS Business Loans is an accredited lender for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), which is delivered by the British Business Bank. BCRS offer loans from £10,000 to £150,000 to businesses based in the West Midlands.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is managed by the British Business Bank on behalf of, and with the financial backing of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy (BEIS).

To discover more about BCRS Business Loans visit www.bcrs.org.uk.

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