Sheffield Council has a pot of £2m which was originally going to be spent on looking at how district shopping centres could be improved.
But the economic and social impacts of Covid have hit so badly, the money will now be used for a more general recovery fund.
At least 75 per cent of the funding will still support district centres and the council has several ideas.
The money could support outdoor public space created by temporary transport measures, such as at Pinstone Street and Kelham Island.
It could pay for shared outdoor seating for cafes, bars and restaurants or bring empty units back into use for start-ups.
The fund could also help people find employment or re-train and provide hot desks and other facilities in libraries.
He said: “Like any city, Sheffield is more than just a city centre. We have a number of high profile district shopping centres that also need support.
“The pandemic has brought really challenges for many. We are still living with local restrictions but now is the time to be imaginative and to develop project ideas that will get our shopping centres up and running again soon.”
In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.