Small, independent businesses have embraced a new post-Covid recovery grant to help stimulate the town centre economies in Lytham, St Annes and Kirkham.
Bella B Boutique in St Annes has been among the first to benefit from a £10,000 grant towards the cost of updating and refitting premises on Wood Street.
Owner, Alisha Rayson, opened the store on Friday 30th April selling the popular ‘Made in Italy’ clothing range including stylish summer linen and knitwear.
Alisha has been working in retail ever since being a Saturday girl at Chelsea Girl, which later became River Island.
Bella B Boutique and has been an instant hit with shoppers and Alisha is delighted with the support she has received from Fylde Council.
She said: “When I heard about the grant it inspired me to take the plunge and open my own boutique clothing store in St Annes.
“The council has been very supportive. The team made the grant application process really straight forward and simple to sort out. In addition, they moved quickly to ensure everything was in place.
“I would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking of opening up on the high street.”
Cllr Karen Buckley, Leader of Fylde Council, said: “The council has made a commitment to support the recovery of the local economy following the huge challenges we have faced during the pandemic and we are absolutely delighted with the positive response we have had to the ARG Vacant Premises Grant.
“We have received lots of excellent applications that will breathe new life into our local high streets and we were delighted to present Alisha with the first cheque.
“This grant has really incentivised businesses and we’re really looking forward to seeing more applications in the coming weeks and months.
“We will keep everyone posted about the fantastic new businesses opening and benefiting from this scheme.”
Businesses locating to, or expanding into, vacant premises could be eligible to receive 50 per cent of the set-up, shop fit, refit or branding costs at a value of up to £10,000.
Businesses which meet the following key criteria can apply for the ARG Vacant Premises Grant between 1 March 2021 and 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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