We have distributed ‘Help us Thrive’ funding totaling £400,000 to community groups and businesses in South Gloucestershire to help our local high streets to recover following the Covid-19 pandemic and to support them to thrive into the future.
Funding for the Help us Thrive grant has enabled the Council to support each of our eight high streets (Kingswood, Staple Hill, Thornbury, Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Downend, Filton and Hanham) by funding projects aimed at diversifying the high street and introducing new technologies to help the high street evolve and embrace new ways of working. It will also support the growth of existing employment opportunities, support local communities helping themselves and encourage social inclusion whilst supporting a range of community initiatives and independent and small businesses.
The one-off grant was available for community groups who could apply for funding up to £20,000; new businesses who could apply for up to £10,000 and existing businesses who could apply up to £5,000. Applications over £5,000 required evidence of investment in kind, or match funding.
Applications opened in January 2021, and 201 were received in total. Following a selection process, 63 applications were approved, totaling £399,824.
Each of the unsuccessful applications will be directed to alternative funding sources if possible or applicable to ensure that all who expressed an interest in the Help us Thrive Grant will be supported through the ongoing work of the Council’s high street regeneration team.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Local Place, Cllr Rachael Hunt said: “It’s great to see so many community organisations and local businesses across the area receive funding, which will help our high streets recover and flourish again following the Covid-19 pandemic. High streets are essential social hubs and we are committed to supporting local groups and businesses so they can thrive and adapt to future challenges.”
Successful applications include:
Wallace Barbers (Thornbury)
‘LET’S GET TALKING’ is a men’s mental health programme where the barbers will open for additional hours to hold ‘cut and talk’ sessions. These sessions will allow men to talk about mental health in a comfortable and supportive environment. Men tend to ‘open-up’ to their barber and this will provide an opportunity to discuss mental health, including the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, without judgement or embarrassment.
The YOU Foundation (Staple Hill)
‘The Boarding School’ is a new, indoor skateboard school in Staple Hill which can operate throughout the year and will help children to feel part of a group. There has been significant growth in skateboarding in recent years, so this project is looking to build on that success. Parents will have an opportunity to shop in Staple Hill while their children are at the skate school, helping the local area to thrive.
SSAFA Bristol and South Gloucestershire (Kingswood)
The opening of a Veteran’s Hub and Charity Shop in Kingswood will provide a place for veterans to socialise, volunteer, and will highlight Kingswood High Street to a whole new social group. SSAFA is an organisation which supports veterans and their families when in need, and also links with other veteran charities across the country. Veterans can also learn new skills as they re-integrate back into civilian society.
Reptile Zone (Filton)
‘Jurassic Events’ will offer dinosaur themed experiences for events and occasions by purchasing high-end, dinosaur animatronics. Filton High Street will be one of only two locations in the UK to offer this kind of animatronics, so is likely attract regional and national interest for this type of offer.
A number of the successful applications will be subject to a conditional or phased payment offer for them to achieve the necessary priorities, such as the requirement to find a premise on the high street or licensing/planning requirements. Should these recipients not be successful in meeting the conditions of their grant offer, the money will be recycled, and a further offer made to applications that were not successful on this occasion.
For information about business grants visit Covid-19 local business grants | BETA – South Gloucestershire Council (southglos.gov.uk)