£2m fund launches with an invitation to collaborate

25th March 2021

Sheffield Council have launched a £2m Economic Recovery Fund to kick start projects that will help high streets recover from the impact of the restrictions on trading imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Recovery Fund seeks ideas that will help businesses reopen safely, adapt and thrive as lockdown rules ease and encourage people back to local businesses when it is safe to do so. Many local high streets and shopping districts have been severely impacted by the challenges of Covid-19 and the new one-off scheme will provide funding for a range of projects developed in collaboration with local areas, which will be designed to meet the needs of communities across Sheffield.

The Council will work directly with businesses, community leaders and its partners to encourage applications for funding, with a focus on creative and innovative ideas that will boost the local economy of each area. Examples of projects that the funding could be used for includes:

  • Street closures for weekend markets or community events
  • Pavement cafes to provide extended outdoor seating
  • The creation of parklets and repurposing space for alfresco hospitality
  • Purchasing outdoor furniture and equipment 
  • Commissioning artists to enliven the local street scene

The £2m fund will include a mix of small and large-scale projects. Applications for funding for small projects will be considered up to £50,000 and up to £200,000 for larger projects. The funding will be provided to support a local area rather than individual business and will be assessed by a steering group of councillors and business leaders.  Applications for smaller projects will be considered on a rolling basis, whilst larger proposals must be submitted by 30th April 2021.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment at Sheffield City Council, said:

“We’re well aware that businesses are going to be reopening over the next few months with a lot of uncertainty about what they will be facing and how quickly trade will start to increase again. We’ve launched the Recovery Fund to help alleviate these concerns and to encourage businesses, particularly in district centres, to use this opportunity to showcase what their high street has to offer and create a real buzz in their communities. We want people to feel proud and excited to support their local shops, pubs, and restaurants, and most of all, safe in doing so.

“Businesses know their local communities and are best placed to come up with initiatives together that will bring back customers in a way that makes them feel comfortable to do so. Reopening the economy on this scale is something that we haven’t seen before in our lifetimes, so we wanted to put this fund in place to make this an opportunity to do something different. I’m really looking forward to working with businesses and community groups to hear their ideas and to see the great initiatives that are put in place.”

Louisa Harrison-Walker (CEO of Benchmark, Director Sheffield Chamber of Commerce), a member of the Fund’s Steering Group said:

“I am really excited at the way this fund allows communities of businesses, local people and the council to come together.  Local businesses are well placed to spark the ideas that will benefit their areas and this this fund provides a great incentive for collaboration.  We know not all groups will have the means to manage everything entirely by themselves, so the council are offering support wherever possible as the purpose is to support innovative, fresh ideas to emerge.  

“We have all come a long way in the past year and, through the Business Recovery Group, we have changed the way we work together as private and public sectors.  We have a plan to help the economy recover from the devastating impacts of Covid-19 and we have seen delivery since day 1 that continues to evolve now.  We all hope to see this more dynamic relationship continue and this fund is testament to that.  There is a real opportunity to create a lasting legacy by changing the way we work together, and by empowering collaboration and encouraging new ways for people to make a difference where they live.  I can’t wait to see what comes forward.”

Emma Marshall, a member of the Fund’s Steering Group and Operations Director of 3squared, said:

“I am really pleased that the council are collaborating with local business people in this way.  We might have very different ways of working, but it’s by coming together we can build the relationships across the city that can improve decision making from the very local right up to city-wide strategy.  It’s exciting to see how open the council are for the business community to use this fund in a creative way.  I particularly look forward to seeing innovative ideas and partnerships built between the city’s creative sector and local high streets.  As we come out of the pandemic, these relationships are what will stand us in good stead as businesses look to get back on their feet, particularly in the hardest hit sectors, and I know that this fund can help us start thinking not just about recovery, but also about the renewal of the economy and what that could look like.”       

More information and details of how to apply can be found here: www.sheffield.gov.uk/recoveryfund.

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