Support offered to help Banff and Macduff businesses and organisations work together

A new £15,000 fund has been set up to allow local businesses and groups to work on collaborative projects which contribute to local town centre regeneration efforts – just in time for Christmas.

The Enterprising Challenge Fund is made available as part of the Banff and Macduff Regeneration Plans supporting the two towns.

The scheme builds on the Retail Plus support offered in 2014-2015 and recent feedback from businesses.

Different levels of support are available for innovative projects offering benefit to the two towns which demonstrate businesses and groups coming together.

To qualify, businesses and organisations must be working in collaboration, with at least one business per project, and proposals have to meet one or more of the following criteria:

Showing an increase to town centre footfall; demonstrating creativity and innovation; promoting the use of a vacant space (internally or externally with permissions); and improving town centre vibrancy.

There are three levels of grant award:

• £1,000 or 50% for an application involving three businesses
• £1,500 or 50% for an application involving six businesses
• £2,000 or 50% for an application involving eight or more businesses.

Two workshops will take place with The Retailer on November 6 which will encourage businesses and organisations to think creatively about the types of projects they could put forward to the scheme.

The Retailer director, Gordon Bell, specialises in developing, strengthening and encouraging businesses of all kinds.

Applications must be in by November 27 at 12pm to allow projects to take place before Christmas if needed. All projects must be completed by April 6, 2018.

Chairman of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee, Cllr Andy Kille, said: "We should not underestimate the importance of supporting and encouraging innovation from the communities in Banff and Macduff.

“By developing collaborative projects between businesses and community organisations we strengthen our towns and bring people together, so I’m pleased to see this fund coming forward in support of that.”

Project Officer Naomi Mason added: “Through the regeneration work we have done so far and listening to feedback from the community, we know there is a desire for support for local people to do more for their town.

“Hopefully this fund will do exactly that and I’m looking forward to seeing what businesses and community groups come up with, and seeing those projects add to what these towns already have to offer in the coming months.”

Interested businesses and groups can contact Project Officer Naomi Mason for more information on (01467) 539201 or email: naomi.mason@aberdeenshire.gov.uk