Shop fronts transformed thanks to Council investmentPublished Tuesday 11 October 2022
High street shop fronts have been transformed, to help them attract more customers, thanks to improvement grants from the Council.
And it’s more than just a lick of paint! New advertising signs, replacement windows, doors, upgraded fascias and awnings are all benefitting from funding awarded from Harborough District Council’s Shop Front Improvement Grant.
More than 50 local businesses successfully secured funding of up to £3,000 for property improvements, totalling over £115,000, with further investment contributed by the retailers themselves.
The grants aimed to help shops create attractive frontages that appeal to customers and fit the character of the district’s unique market towns and villages, some of which are in conservation areas.
Whilst the shop front fund closed earlier this year, the Council is assessing interest to extend the scheme with a further package of funding.
Cllr Phil King, Leader of Harborough District Council, said: “We recognise the challenges high streets are facing, and this is one of a range of measures to support local shopping areas and independent businesses. It is great to see this investment is making a big difference in attracting more visitors to shop, eat and enjoy their leisure time locally.”
Samantha Gibbs, owner of Nest gift shops, received funding to help towards exterior paint work and new windows at her Broughton Astley store. She said: “The process of applying and receiving the grant was refreshingly simple. It has improved the look of our shop and customers have commented on how lovely it looks! I think, as a business, to know there was support out
there during some incredibly tough times was a huge relief and it has made us feel really valued.”
Blend Coffee and Cakes, a local Market Harborough business, used their funding towards the purchase of new awnings. Owner, Ellen Duffin, said: “Thank you for our lovely new awnings which we were able to purchase with the help of the Council and the Shop Front Improvement Grant. This will be such an asset to our coffee shop during the summer months and when the weather is mild enough to sit out but may be a little showery. We are so pleased with them.”
As well as the shop front grants; the Council will also be distributing further grants to businesses, across the district, through the Government’s Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) if they were affected by the pandemic but were not eligible for existing support linked to business rates. The Council is also supporting Fiver Fest which encouraging residents to spend at least £5 with local independent retailers to give them a boost.
Businesses can also access free one-to-one support from the Economic Development Team at Harborough District Council and local town centre retailers in Lutterworth and Market Harborough are encouraged to join their local retailer forums.
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