Fylde Council has been helping to keep the borough’s high streets bustling, incentivising businesses to take advantage of available retail spaces.
The ARG Vacant Premises Grant 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.
The grant has been a huge success and Fylde Council has allocated an impressive £73,205 so far, providing a vital boost to new and expanding businesses across the region.
From ice cream parlours and estate agents, to cards, crafts, clothing and cafes – all manner of businesses have benefitted from this fantastic fund, and there are plenty more in the pipeline.
Bella B Boutique in St Annes was among the first to benefit from a £10,000 grant. Owner, Alisha Rayson, was delighted with the support 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 straightforward 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.”
A £10,000 grant provided an unmissable opportunity when Julie Hardy and Sarah Temmem came to set up their new estate agency in Kirkham.
Julie explained: “Sarah and I set up the business, and the opportunity for the shop premises came up sooner than we expected, but it was too good to turn down. The ARG grant has enabled us to open on the high street, it was a very welcome cash injection.”
Sarah Mangan, from Lytham and Kirkham based Celebrations Cards and Gifts made the most out of her grant award.
She said: “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.
Fylde Council Leader, Cllr Karen Buckley is delighted to see the fund being put to such good use. She said:
“The council made a very firm commitment to support the recovery of the local economy following the huge challenges faced during the pandemic and we are absolutely delighted with the positive response we have had to the ARG Vacant Premises Grant.
“It’s been exceptionally rewarding to support small businesses that might not have made the leap to where they are now without this additional help.
“These post-Covid recovery grants have been incredible in stimulating town centre economies across Fylde, and I look forward to seeing who will apply next.
We have already received 32 excellent applications that will breathe new life into our local high streets and the grant is available for several more months yet!”
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.
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/
Stay in the know
Keep up to date with the latest Fylde Council news by following us on social media or subscribing to our newsletter. Any new information will be posted directly through these channels, so if you are following us, you’ll be the first to know.