Innovative businesses celebrate achievements

North Somerset business people celebrating getting high street innovation grants.

North Somerset business people celebrating getting high street innovation grants. - Credit: Archant

INDEPENDENT shops and groups which received thousands of pounds in grants have celebrated their efforts to make North Somerset’s high streets ‘more attractive and interesting’.

Thirty businesses and community projects won funding designed to reinvigorate town centres and a celebration was recently held at the new indoor market in Clevedon’s Hill Road for all those who have put the cash to good use.

Independent firms were the main beneficiaries of the High Street Innovation Fund (HIF), which came off the back of Mary Portas’ high-profile review of the British shopping industry in 2011.

The money has gone on a wide range of enhancements and projects with six in Clevedon benefitting, including the Hill Road market set up in the former Seeley’s newsagent and a vintage and artisan emporium in Alexandra Road called 19.

In Portishead, the money went toward four projects including the creation of Venga Restaurant and Tapas Bar in High Street and Mandy’s Make Craft Café in Somerset Square.

In Nailsea, five projects benefitted including the community market and two shops set-up following a contest to win a shop in the town centre free of rent and rates for a year, called Ewe Knit 20 and Partysmartys.

Backwell’s Meeting Point, held weekly in the Parish Hall, also received funding as did the barber shop in Pill and Scoop and Spice in Yatton.

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Mrs Portas’ review called for a diverse range of businesses in high streets to tempt visitors back and the council was handed a six-figure sum to pass onto new businesses, existing companies and groups which presented a good plan.

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset Council deputy leader, said: “Many of these projects have helped to make the high street look a more attractive and interesting place to be and have breathed new life into certain areas of our towns.

“This £100,000 grant allocation has enabled projects to start up, expand, diversify and has supported events and initiatives that will offer vital support to neighbouring businesses.”