Don't Leave Us Behind! - We Need Your Help

Rates Valuation leaves us unable to access emergency funding.

  • Netil Market is a creative community of traders in arts, fashion and food, with a bar and Saturday stalls.
  • It is home to 16 permanent traders who rent contracted, immovable semi-permanent premises.
  • It has functioned as an effective incubator for small businesses since 2011. Many of its residents past and present have grown, employing local people and raising Hackney’s creative profile.
  • It is a community hub that draws locals, Londoners and tourists into the London Fields area.
  • Trade has been hit extremely hard by the COVID-19 outbreak, with many businesses unable to trade from their premises.
  • Several of the companies are already struggling to survive.
  • The market is valued by Hackney Business Rates as a car park. The individual units are not separately valued for Business Rates.
  • As a result, the companies are ineligible for the Government’s £10k grant for small business in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief.
  • We understand that it is in Hackney’s power to amend this to ensure that these businesses can access the funding and continue to honour their contracted rental obligations.

Rates Valuation Makes Acessing Grant Impossible

We have obviously been keeping up to date with what support the government has been offering to all businesses in these challenging times. However, due to the way Hackney and the Valuation Office have valued the market for business rates we are unable to access any of this funding.

Netil Market is still listed as parking spaces. The individual units are not listed and as a result we cannot apply for small business rate relief, one of the requirements to access the governments £10k grant.

We have contacted Hackney Business Rates and the Valuation office but have not yet received a reply. Eat Work Art are also trying to get this issue rectified with these offices.

For six years we have remained debt free in order to grow in a controlled manner. We have opened a dialogue with our bank about accessing a loan but are wary of leveraging ourselves in such uncertain times.

Our situation

Worshipful Spectacles, like almost every other business in the country, has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We closed our shop at Netil Market on 21/03/2020 and have been working tirelessly since to try and stay afloat. The intimate nature of selling eyewear and consulting for bespoke commissions means that we cannot continue business as usual. All of our dispensing goes though founder Natalie and as a type 1 diabetic she has been compelled to take social distancing even more seriously.

2020 was intended to be the year that we scaled up the manufacturing side of our business. We had secured a little investment to increase the productivity of the workshop and offer our bespoke and handmade services to even more customers. We were in discussions with various charitable organisations to see if we could offer apprenticeships and start training up a new generation of spectacle makers.

Sadly, the money has had to be diverted to deal with the massive drop in footfall and revenue that we have seen since mid-February and is now pretty much exhausted. Eat Work Art, our landlords at Netil Market, have offered 50% rent going forwards to help ease the strain, but as the shop was our main revenue stream we now have no cash coming in.

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