AN OSWESTRY-BASED businesswoman who is fighting to receive a ‘bounce back’ loan for her companies has urged others in her situation to keep fighting.

Maria Ogden runs Ethel’s Car and Van Hire, based in Maesbury Road, as well as Oggies Doggies Day Care and three other companies.

She has been trying to claim a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan from her bank at Santander but then switched to the bounce back option because it was supposed to be easier and quicker.

But she says she has hit obstacles that are now starting to cause her financial issues during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“I’ve got someone working on the case for me but if you’re got more than one company, no matter what those companies are then it seems it’s to make getting a bounce back loan complicated.

“They say they need to see if the companies are connected and they’re not doing the same thing but you can tell by looking at us they’re totally different.

“There’s be no help for us at all. I’ve been trying to get this loan for a couple of the companies.

“For Ethel’s, we’ve had no customers at all but I’ve still got companies after me – I’ve just got no money to pay them.

“Pre-lockdown, it was about to be our biggest and best year for our other companies but that’s on hold as well. I’m trying to keep staff in jobs and keep the company but there’s no-one there to help me do it.

“I’ve furloughed my staff and tried to do the best by my staff. I’ve had to phone companies where I have big direct debits and tell them ‘bear with me, I will pay you’ but they don’t want to hear that.”

Maria, who runs the business with her husband Steven, says she is doing her best to keep busy by walking dogs, acting as a voluntary first responder and picking up prescriptions.

But she admitted the fight to pick up money that she needs to kickstart her companies and allow other people to earn, has taken its toll on her

She added: “With Ethel’s I was allowed to be open, which was fantastic, but I didn’t have any customers. We’ve been lucky to have have three customers a week because people are adhering to the rules.

“Who am I open for? I have to pay insurance for my vehicles and that’s about £30-40,000. I’ve got my overheads too.

“You’ve got to keep fighting, find out what you’re entitled to and what you can get, even if the report shows different.

“Keep going – whenever these loans came out, I applied for them. And it’s been nothing but a nightmare since, across all the banks.

“Not one bank is doing it [right]. It’s awful on my mental health as I’m spending all my time logging into my account when I should be looking at how to take my business forward.”