By Max Clarke

Businesses affected by the rioting in London earlier this month are being encouraged to apply to Mayor Boris Johnson’s £3m High Street Fund, which opens today (Friday).

The fund, set up with contributions from the Mayor, leading UK companies and local authorities, is designed to help small businesses affected by looting, robbery, destruction or arson to get back on their feet.

“The businesses which were destroyed or damaged form the backbone of our communities. Their resilience since the disturbances has been inspiring, as has the response from ordinary Londoners supporting their neighbourhoods,” Mayor Johnson said.

The High Street Fund was opened to receive donations on Wednesday 24th August with an initial £500,000 commitment from the Mayor. Further donations from businesses including Barclays, BP, Capita, Deloitte, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and Santander, and local authorities in London boosted it to over £3 million.

Since the fund's launch, further donations have been made and from today, those businesses affected in London and across England are being urged to apply for emergency aid.

“Any donation to the fund will assist an immediate relief effort that is urgently required,” said Sir William Castell, Chairman of the High Street Fund and Chairman the Wellcome Trust, “- not only to aid physical restoration but also to reinstate hope and confidence on affected High Streets. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Britain’s biggest and best businesses come forward to help local economies get back on their feet.”

The Fund aims to make it easy to apply for funding and to make payments swiftly, with the first donations expected to be processed as early as next week. To apply for a cash grant, or make a donation, visit www.thehighstreetfund.co.uk.

Capita is running a freephone helpline, 0800 093 5858, open from 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday, to assist businesses applying for grants from the fund.