City Council Grants available to help businesses recover post COVID-19 and develop new ways of working

Published: Tuesday, 16th November 2021

Businesses in the city, who either want to do things differently or who need help to survive following the COVID-19 pandemic, are being urged to apply for two potential sources of funding.

There are two grants available, a Build Back Better grant, which helps businesses who want to try new ways of working post-pandemic, and a Hardship Survival grant, which helps businesses impacted by the loss of international visitors to Oxford.

Build Back Better Grant

If a business is returning to similar levels to 2019 but is seeking funds to adapt their business model or invest in new ways of working, it could be eligible for a Build Back Better grant in the range of £1,000 to £10,000 for individual businesses and up to £40,000 for groups of businesses working together.

Businesses can apply for grants towards the costs of new ways of working due to the COVID-19 pandemic and/ or the Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) within Oxford City.

The criteria on which group proposals will be judged will include:

  • Support for Oxford City Council’s environmental sustainability and inclusive economy agenda as described in the Oxford 2050 Vision
  • Demonstration of wider business and community support

Groups of businesses or service providers are encouraged to submit projects that improve the lives of people in Oxford by:

  • Reducing carbon emissions or improving air quality
  • Making it easier and safer for employees to choose active travel (walking, cycling etc.)
  • Improving access to cultural venues and events
  • Supporting community initiatives
  • Making it easier for innovative businesses to set up or invest in adapting their business model

Service provider or group proposals from organisations which are employee owned, for example, cooperatives, are particularly being encouraged to apply.

The deadline for applications to the Build Back Better grant is Tuesday 30 November 2021.

Hardship Survival Grant

If businesses still face significantly reduced income, ongoing costs, and are particularly affected by lack of international visitors to Oxford, they could be eligible for a Hardship Survival grant in the range of £5,000 to £20,000.

These discretionary grants are for businesses that are still severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and whose revenue is primarily from international visitors (tourists and students), in the following sectors:

  • Creative and cultural
  • Visitor economy
  • Hospitality
  • Language schools

To qualify for a grant, businesses will need to show that revenue has fallen by about 60% or more during July to September 2021, compared with July to September 2019.

The deadline for applications to the Hardship Survival grant is Tuesday 30 November 2021.

For more information, please visit:

Coronavirus: guidance and support for business | Oxford City Council

“The City Council is fully committed to supporting local business through this time of unparalleled challenge.

“Many businesses have been, and continue to be, severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, while others will be looking at development, so they can better respond to the future.

“The Council is encouraging businesses in the city to apply for the funding being made available”.

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council