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Paragon is supporting UK businesses as they recover from the pandemic

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It is no secret that the pandemic has been tough on UK businesses, with lockdowns forcing entire sectors to a stand-still.

In the early days of the pandemic, the Government launched a variety of support initiatives for UK businesses. Paragon has worked with the British Business Bank to deliver funding to UK businesses through those schemes throughout the pandemic.

Over the course of the last 18 months, we have offered the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). In April, we also became one of the first financial providers accredited by the BBB to offer the Recovery Loan Scheme, which aims to power the recovery of businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Here are just some examples of businesses we have supported:

Alkmonton Dairy Farm brings locally produced milk to community

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we continued to support SMEs across the agricultural sector as they innovate, adapt, and grow.

Earlier this year, we supported Alkmonton Dairy, a small, family-run farm in south Derbyshire, with a £360,000 funding deal to invest in the infrastructure to process and bottle the milk from the farm and supply its local community direct.

The Harris family, which includes husband and wife Richard and Jo, owns the 'Alkmonton Ayshire' Pedigree dairy herd. Previously to securing funding from Paragon, they would outsource the processing, bottling and distribution of the milk to a third party.

In the midst of the pandemic, they decided they wanted to 'cut out the middle man' and secure funding for the equipment needed to process their own milk on the farm.

This included the purchase of a pasteuriser, which sterilises the milk; a homogeniser, which ensures the consistency of the product; and separating equipment, which facilitates the separation between cream and skimmed milk. The funding also allowed the purchase of a bottle filling and packaging production line.

Richard and Jo now manage every aspect of the supply chain, from milking the cow through to distribution, and provide their products to the local area through cafes, shops, delis and restaurants, as well as offering a doorstep delivery service to the local community.

Paragon's funding allowed the farm to launch a new business during the Covid-19 pandemic. During the lockdown period, people wanted home deliveries, which meant demand for fresh milk deliveries were high and business grew at a rapid pace.

The funding also allowed the business to considerably reduce its carbon footprint by processing and selling a large proportion of its milk locally. The milk is supplied in glass screw top bottles which means they are fully reusable.

Jo Harris, of Alkmonton Dairy, said: "There is no doubt that starting a new business in the middle of a pandemic was daunting, but I'm so glad we took the plunge!

"We've had a great response from the local community. We know sustainability and provenance are really important to our customers, and it's great to be able to offer them locally sourced produce."

Recycled Roadways Ltd gains two new crushers to fulfil large-scale contract

We provided asset finance funding to specialist construction company, Recycled Roadways Ltd, to fund plant equipment to support the business' growth following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Recycled Roadways Ltd provides specialist aggregate and asphalt crushing, screening, and recycling services to blue chip companies nationwide. The company is part of KKB Group, which is a multi-disciplined contractor that specialises in providing niche services to the remediation, recycling, plant hire, plant sales, and civil engineering sectors.

The crushers are used to produce a wide range of mineral-based materials, often to bespoke specification.

Paragon Bank has an ongoing relationship with KKB Group, having supported the business for eight years, funding more than 30 assets over the last five years alone.

The new equipment will allow the business to fulfil a large contract based in the south of England with a leading blue-chip company, where imported minerals will be processed to service their sites across the country.

Del Bhanot, Director at KKB Group, said: "Our business offering is multi-disciplined and complex so it's very important for us to work with funders who understand our business model. As our business grows, it is key for our partners to have known our business pre-COVID and understand our journey and growth plans for the future.

"When we secure new contracts, it's also vital for us to be able to secure funding for new equipment quickly, through a reliable and reputable funder that equipment manufacturers trust. We've worked with Paragon for around eight years now because they tick all of our boxes and know our business inside out - the team has funded multiple assets for us as a result."

Premier League football team receives funding for top-of-the-range eco lighting system

Another funding deal we have approved was for a top Premier League team to finance brand-new cutting-edge LED floodlights for its stadium.

The deal will allow the club to upgrade its lighting system with the new floodlights, enabling the London-based football club to reduce its lighting energy usage by up to half.

The lighting system is also designed to facilitate 4K camera filming for broadcasters thanks to its flicker-free technology, as well as improving uniformity and light levels on the pitch. It also includes a new entertainment system that facilitates light entertainment for crowds.

The new lighting will meet the UEFA Elite A category standards, which are the highest requirements set by UEFA. It was manufactured by Musco Lighting Europe Limited, a leading sports lighting manufacturer that has serviced a range of sporting event spaces, including Twickenham Stadium and Newcastle Racecourse.

Steven O'Reilly, Business Development Manager at Paragon Bank, said: "The sports industry was heavily impacted during the pandemic, so it's fantastic to offer a leading Premier League club funding that will support it in offering its fans an even better experience. This was made possible with the support of Buckingham Leasing's extensive expertise in the field of sporting finance. "

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Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551