Sheffield Council launches fund to help businesses to recover from pandemic
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The 2021 Economic Recovery Fund helped support or initiate 15 projects around the city, including setting up eight new business forums, a meeting of Sheffield City Council’s economic development and skills policy committee heard.
Eight projects got up to £50,000 in aid and seven got up to £200,000. Areas to benefit from the bigger pots of money included Broomhill, Walkley, Firth Park and Hillsborough.
The money was spent on helping local shopping centres to be more attractive to shoppers by feeling more welcoming, brighter and safer.
Projects funded included ‘parklet’ mini green spaces in Walkley and Abbeydale Road, a family-friendly seating area in Firth Park and improvements to Hillsborough shopping centre including new hanging baskets, graffiti clean-ups and the first Christmas lights for 25 years.
The estimated social return on the funding was at least £1.99 for every £1 spent, the committee was told.
The money for the second round of the £2 million fund comes from the council’s community infrastructure levy – charges made to developers when they get planning permission to help pay for improvements that benefit communities.
The new fund will pay for three projects costing up to £200,000 and 12 worth up to £50,000.
Areas that got funding for large projects in the first round would not be eligible for another big pot of money but could apply for the smaller amounts. This could support new ideas or follow on from the first project.
An independent assessment of the first round by Kada Research showed that the feedback was very positive. A lot of support from council staff was available to groups drawing up their plans and delivering them and that is continuing.
Cllr Paul Turpin, who chaired last year’s regeneration fund steering committee, said: “I thought the whole project was really excellent and really revolutionary for Sheffield City Council.
“It really respected the expertise of local people and really capitalised on the creativity and innovation of our local businesses. Putting collaboration at the heart of everything was just really good.”