The Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership is reminding businesses that time is running out to take advantage of the grants available to transform redundant and underutilised buildings.
Those interested in accessing funding must apply as soon as possible for the Redundant Building Grant scheme, which is funded by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, before the deadline of the end of January 2015. All building projects also need to be complete by June 2015
To be eligible for a grant, buildings must either be unused for at least 3 months or unusable in their current state. The building must be used for business purposes once the works are complete and any application should result in a minimum of two newly created safeguarded jobs within two years of completion.
Grants are limited to a maximum of 45% of the total eligible costs of the project – the minimum grant is £3,000 and the maximum grant worth £100,000. The grants are not available for conversion to or refurbishment of residential property, or buildings that will be used for agricultural or horticultural purposes.
Many businesses have already benefitted from the scheme including Indy Ltd, which specialises in mobility equipment and has a head office in Evesham and a satellite branch in Redditch.
Owner, David Badham, was looking to expand the business and open a third outlet in Worcester city centre. After consideration, Mr Badham chose to move into a Grade II listed, 18th century four storey building on Broad Street, which had been closed for some time after Skipton Building Society vacated it. Mr Badham’s accountant suggested the refurbishment could qualify for a grant through the Redundant Building Grant scheme.
After contacting Worcestershire.Business.Central, Mr Badham received expert advice, footfall figures for Broad Street, Pump Street and High Street, as well as help with the application itself, which was successful and Indy Ltd was awarded £8,667 towards the refurbishment.
“It’s essential for our business that customers can come and see, try and compare the equipment, so these satellite branches are vital,” said Mr Badham.
“WBC were excellent and made the whole process very smooth – I’m very grateful for all their help.
“The grant was really useful; it gave us a comfort zone, a buffer, and allowed us to make sure the refurbishment was done properly. Everything has gone to plan and allowed us to open as fast as possible.”
Peter Pawsey, Executive Chair at Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Worcestershire’s businesses to reinvigorate redundant or underutilised buildings around the County and is especially important for those who are looking for growth in the County.
“The fund will close soon, at the end of January, and I would therefore encourage local businesses to apply for a grant as soon as possible”.
Cllr Simon Geraghty, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure at Worcestershire County Council, added: “The scheme provides the opportunity to develop derelict buildings, supporting businesses to grow but also the local area providing further jobs to develop and restore the buildings.
“Many businesses have already benefitted from the scheme, such as Indy Ltd, and I would urge anyone considering accessing this grant to visit the website or contact Worcestershire.Business.Central. at the earliest opportunity to find out more.”
Further information is available at www.business-central.co.uk/rbg