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Businesses supported to give vacant buildings new lease of life

Businesses supported to give vacant buildings new lease of life

Funding available to businesses, charities and social enterprises to encourage use of Bristol’s vacant commercial property.

15 March 2022

Up to £10,000 of grant funding is available to businesses and organisations to bring vacant buildings in the city centre or on Bristol’s high streets back into permanent or temporary use.

New or expanding small or micro-sized businesses, charities, community and voluntary organisations or social enterprises are all eligible to apply for the funding.

The vacant commercial property grant scheme intends to reduce the number of vacant commercial units in Bristol whilst supporting local businesses to open new premises and trade with confidence.

Since 3 February, the council has allocated over £100,000 from the £1.3 million grant fund available, directly supporting businesses in the retail, hospitality, creative and digital, hair and beauty, health and fitness, property and education sectors.

To help manage the grant programme and support businesses through the application process Bristol City Council now have a dedicated grant advisor. The council welcomes applications from people of all levels of ability.

To apply, the business or organisation must be looking to lease or rent a currently vacant commercial premises in the city centre or on one of Bristol’s 46 high streets.

Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for Finance, Governance and Performance, said: “We are committed to the recovery of the city centre and Bristol’s high streets. To support small businesses, we have allocated £1.3 million to fill vacant premises, helping to diversify our high streets, employ local people, encourage people to shop locally and make Bristol a better place for all of our residents.”

The size of the grant awarded is dependent on the length of lease or rental agreement. Applicants are expected to match any award granted by at least 20 per cent.

The grant can be used to cover a wide range of activity from building works, improvements and modifications to new equipment, shop fittings and display units.

Applicants will need to demonstrate how their business will benefit the high street and Bristol citizens, by adding diversity to the area, employing local people or people from under-represented groups, adopting the real Living Wage, improving disabled access and facilities, and demonstrating a clear commitment to sustainability.

Further information and guidance on how to apply are available on the council’s Vacant Commercial Property Grant webpage. You can also register to join a free webinar to find out more and discuss the scheme.

If you have any questions about the guidance or need help or support to complete the application form please email Grant Advisor, Crover James: crover.james@bristol.gov.uk

The vacant commercial property grant scheme forms part of the wider City Centre and High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, which has received funding from the West of England Combined Authority’s Love our High Street project.

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