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Garden Centre secures £2m Barclays funding to help them through lockdown


BENTS Garden and Home in Warrington has secured £2 million from Barclays via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the Government-backed loan scheme.

The finance will ensure that the business can get through a difficult time for the industry – which is seasonal and relies on spring and summer sales for a large proportion of its annual revenue.
Bents Garden and Home, at Glazebury, is a family run garden centre first established in 1937. The centre employs over 500 people and has evolved into a unique lifestyle destination where customers can discover the products, advice and inspiration to make outdoor and indoor living more beautiful. Alongside plants, outdoor furniture and barbecues, Bents also sells fresh food, gifts, clothing and everything else you need for your home.
While the food store and online trading remains open for business, all other on-site retail trading has been closed by the pandemic to comply with Government guidance. Like most garden centres, peak spring season is a critically important trading period – and the lockdown looked set to have dire consequences for the business’s income streams.
However, the business has now secured £2 million through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), which will help the business with the cash flow it needs to overcome the loss of all-important spring and summer sales.
What started as a hobby during the 1930’s for Alfred and Margaret Bent cultivating roses in the front garden of their terraced house in Glazebury is now a highly successful business. Since 2001, the third generation of the Bents family – Matthew, Rachel, Helen and Katherine – have taken charge of the running of Bents. As Managing Director, Matthew has already delivered one of the UK’s most innovative and progressive new garden centre buildings, the Open Skies Glass House.

Brian Daniels, Finance Director of Bents Garden and Home, said:“Gardening is naturally very seasonal so what we earn in the spring and summer gets us through to the Christmas trading period. For the first half of March, we were very busy but then everything stopped with the announcement of the lockdown.”
“Whilst we have managed to maintain limited trading through our food store and online, the lockdown was going to have a huge impact on our business, so we asked Barclays for support. Our Relationship Director Giles said, “Yes, we can lend you the money to get you through this.” I can’t speak too highly of the expeditious way in which Barclays processed our business interruption loan application. We submitted an application and the money was in our account just a few days later. The loan gives us certainty on our immediate cash flow requirements and ensures that we will be here for our customers after the lockdown finishes.”
Giles Barton, Barclays Relationship Director, explained:“Coronavirus hit Bents just as they was entering their busiest trading period. I have worked with the family for many years, and we spent time looking at their financial forecasts and put together an application that would get them through this tough period. For any business, there’s a lot of moving parts, so we helped them see the wood from the trees and now they have the financial headroom to get through this disruptive period and be ready to reopen fully when the time comes.”

Barclays is offering a range of measures to support business customers through this difficult period including waiving everyday charges, and fees for all business customers with a turnover below £250,000, capital repayment holidays and new overdraft facilities. For further information, please visit barclays.co.uk/business-banking/coronavirus/ or barclayscorporate.com/covid-19/


About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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