Independent local business, Celebrations Cards and Gifts, has benefitted from a grant of £10,000.
The ARG Vacant Premises Grant, available via Fylde Council, is a fund dedicated to boosting town centres across the Borough. It enables businesses locating to, or expanding into, vacant town centre premises to apply to receive 50 per cent of the set-up, shop fit, refit or branding costs at a value of up to £10,000.
Celebrations owner Sarah Mangan is delighted to have opened her second store with the help of the ARG grant. Having run her first shop in Kirkham for five and a half years, Sarah had always planned to expand with a second in Lytham and made the leap when premises became available earlier this year.
Sarah explains: “I had already started on the new shop refit when I found out about the grant on social media and applied. It was such a boost, and gave me a lot more freedom to do things in the best possible way, rather than compromising due to tighter budget constraints.
“The Council has been amazing, and so helpful. Both the grant and the support from the team came at just the right time! I was able to use the money to completely refurbish the shop; from counter and card units, to toilets, shelving and a fresh new frontage.
“Obviously high street retail suffered during the pandemic when all the ‘non-essential’ shops had to close last year. We worked hard to adapt, striving to do everything online or over the phone and arranging daily deliveries from the Kirkham store. Thankfully, we were able to re-open in time for Christmas, which is the most important time of year for the business.
“The new shop in Lytham opened on May 10th and it’s going really well. I’m delighted to be part of the high street here and to play a small part in so many people’s special occasions. It’s really lovely to see customers face to face again, and to watch them take their time choosing just the right card or gift for friends and family.
“A thoughtful present or carefully chosen card can help to show your loved ones just how much you value them. And with a husband, two children, three step children, four grandchildren and another grandchild on the way I’ve done my own share of gift choosing!”
Celebrations is Lytham’s only stockist of the popular Charlie Bear brand and also sells a wide range of cards, gifts and candles.
Councillor Michael Sayward said: “I’m so pleased that the ARG grant was available to help in setting up the Lytham Celebrations store Sarah had been working towards, and I have no doubt she will make a success of it as she’s obviously very committed. Not only has Celebrations survived a pandemic, it is thriving and I’m delighted that this valuable support was available for such a deserving local business to expand.”
Funding from the ARG Vacant Premises Grant is still available and businesses that meet the following key criteria can apply until 31 December 2021:
- Moving or expanding into a vacant premise in the town centre
- Offering an in-person service that would generate footfall
- Is a small independent sole trader/operator or locally based chain
- Premises must be in specific locations and include ground floor shop frontage
Applications will also be assessed on whether the business operates in a priority sector for the local economy which includes retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism and whether it fills a gap in the market to attract people to the town centres throughout the week.
The grant would also support costs from operating in a Covid-secure manner such as one-way systems, plastic screens, procurement of PPE and hygiene provisions, or employment of additional staff to manage COVID-secure measures.
Full terms and conditions and details about how to apply can be found at: https://new.fylde.gov.uk/ARGvacantpremises
For more information on Covid-19 support grants visit: https://new.fylde.gov.uk/covid-business-guidance/
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