The Sanam owners are disappointed the Callendar Road restaurant’s application to the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund was unsuccessful – stating the application process itself was “difficult to navigate”.
A spokesman for the Sanam said: “Our decision to remain open throughout the COVID-19 lockdown was a difficult one to make. However, it was based on the needs of our customers, some of whom are shielding or are vulnerable and rely on our food delivery service.
“We also wanted to remain open so our suppliers and service partners were able to operate with some income from us, these range from local foodservice companies, regional wholesale companies, Mr. Harris who cleans our windows, and Express Taxis whose drivers we use for food delivery.
“Our suppliers and partners have thanked us for remaining open and helping them through this difficult time. We operate by adopting the strictest social distancing measures to ensure the safety of our staff and customers alike.“With the best will in the world we have still struggled and recently applied for the Scottish Government’s Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund. The form was difficult to navigate, templates provided by the Scottish Government were vague, and guidance was not helpful.
“There were technical challenges to even signing up and I found this extremely stressful. Something that was designed to help us was having a negative effect as it was detracting me from the day to day running of this business.“Our application for further support was rejected. I do feel that we met all the criteria, however, it was rejected on the basis that either the business was not pivotal or not helpful or adapting during the COVID 19 crisis to its community.
“We have difficulty understanding and accepting this.”
The Sanam stated it felt its original application was “disadvantaged” and they are now looking to appeal the decision.
“Our business does not just belong to us, it belongs to our community too. We support volunteers and charities who are fundraising all year round, we invest in staff, we invest in empty properties in the area, we are a meeting place for locals and business alike, we welcome tourists who have heard of our reputation.
“More recently we have helped customers by supplying free hand sanitiser, single parents who have requested food have had help from us, nurses and hospital staff at Forth Valley Hospital and Falkirk Community Hospital have had treats from us to say thanks to them, care workers at Carrondale Nursing Home have also received a treat from us.
“Anyone that asks for our help we try our very best.”
A spokesperson for Scottish Enterprise said: “We understand some businesses will be disappointed if they’ve been unable to secure funding, however, we had to prioritise applications in line with the published criteria and had a duty to ensure funds would go as far as possible in supporting those who were pivotal to Scotland’s economic recovery.
“We would encourage businesses to continue to visit FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot to keep informed of other funding opportunities made available.”
Scottish Enterprise also stated all applications were assessed consistently, using the published eligibility criteria and using the information set out in the application form process.
A Falkirk Council spokesman said: “The Sanam restaurant has received support, with an award of a Business Support Grant as well as non-domestic rates relief from Falkirk Council.
“We are happy to explore further with the owners any other potential support that might be available by emailing us at [email protected]”
Falkirk Council, working on behalf of the Scottish Government, has administered around 1800 grants worth a total of £20 million for local businesses.