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Latest BIDs funding round opens

The latest round of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) funding is now open, with communities across the country able to bid for up to £50,000 to help their town centres become more attractive for business.

There are now over 300 BIDs across the country, with the programme proving to be a hit with towns looking to revive ailing town centres since it was introduced in 2003.

BIDs were first established in Canada and the US in the 1960s and now exist across the globe, including in South Africa, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP said: ‘BIDS have a proven track record of upgrading commercial areas to enable business owners and entrepreneurs in our town centres and high streets to thrive.

‘Whether through promoting longer opening hours, more security for shops or pedestrianised shopping districts, BIDs are a go-to vehicle through which you can reimagine your high street or town centre.’

One of the most successful examples of a BID was in Altrincham. Their BID was awarded £40,000 in 2016 and supported Altrincham town leaders to take forward an ambitious plan to transform their historic market hall into a food and culture hub at the centre of the town.

The town successfully turned around a shop vacancy rate of 30%, which was one of the highest shop vacancy rates in the UK.

Last year Altrincham won the prize for England’s best high street at the 2018 Great British High Street Awards. The town was recognised for its ‘ongoing events throughout the year to drive footfall to the local high street’.

British BIDs, a BIDs sector body, hold the contract of managing and operating the fund until September 2020.

Professor Christopher Turner, British BIDs chief executive said: ‘Business Improvement Districts have been shown to be hugely successful in regenerating town centres.

‘Thus far 29 loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 have been allocated through the British BIDsapplication process, and BIDs have been able to use this loan funding to develop their proposals and support the ballot process.’

Expressions of interest in the Loan Fund should be sent by March 8 with completed applications sent by May 10.

For more information on how to apply click here.

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