• Aqua restaurant group has secured £165k CBILS funding
• Restaurants operate across Bristol, Bath and Portishead, employing 75 staff
• The funding will enable the business to successfully retain its current staff
Aqua, an independent family run group of restaurants in the south west of England, has secured £165k funding from Santander UK through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), to support the business during the outbreak.

Founded in Bristol in 1998 by Richard Smithson, Aqua has become a successful family-run Italian bistro over the years.

The group, whose ethos is to provide contemporary food made with the finest ingredients and served with care, was forced to close by the government on 20 March as part of the lockdown restrictions.

Following the closures, the funding package will help Aqua through the Coronavirus outbreak, ensure it can retain staff and maintain a strong working relationship with creditors. 

Ben Smithson, Operations Director, Aqua, said: “It has been extremely worrying times not only for Aqua but the industry. There will be a lot of changes to come and through the helpful support provided by Santander we are now able to tackle those changes moving forward. Our main aim is to ensure the welfare of our teams, continuing the growth of their success in our restaurants, along with maintaining our strong relationship with our suppliers. As a family we are genuinely excited to see our guests once again and thank them for all the messages of support throughout this unprecedented time.”

David Bird, Regional Director, Santander UK, said: “The hospitality sector is facing one of the most challenging times as the outbreak of Coronavirus has swept the UK. While times are uncertain, Aqua has created a series of successful restaurants across the south west and we are happy to be supporting them during this difficult time.”

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