Friday, 22 August 2014
Town centre retail boost is South Ayrshire Council’s latest AMBITION!
The retail trade in South Ayrshire’s town centres is set to benefit from a new package of support, thanks to South Ayrshire Council’s flagship £1.5 million AMBITION programme.
AMBITION for Town Centres was launched this week by Council Leader, Councillor Bill McIntosh, and is the latest development within the AMBITION programme, which is designed to support businesses and generate economic growth throughout the area.
[Pictured: Councillor McIntosh is joined by Councillor Bill Grant, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure; local Troon Councillors Peter Convery, Nan McFarlane and Philip Saxton; Council Chief Executive Eileen Howat and Town Centres Officer, Marie McNulty to launch AMBITION for Town Centres in Troon.]
The programme – which was launched in September last year – will see the Council invest £1.5 million over three years to support job creation and economic growth in South Ayrshire.
The overall aims of AMBITION are to create jobs, keep jobs, help businesses start-up, help businesses grow, increase the number of social enterprises and, ultimately, help improve the local economy in South Ayrshire in a lasting and meaningful way.
AMBITION for Town Centres is based around four main routes of support:
• Shop Front Improvement Grant – to improve the appearance of the ground floor frontages of commercial premises both occupied and vacant. A maximum grant of £500 can be awarded.
• Retail Business Development Grant – for projects that demonstrate an increase in footfall to the local area, sales outwith Ayrshire and the generation of additional employment opportunities. A maximum grant of £2,000 can be awarded.
• Town Centre Collective Grant – used to support the development of co-operative groups which can create enhanced economic impact through collective working within the retail sector. Projects must demonstrate – through collaboration – how the group will access new customers and markets, add vibrancy to the area, increase their reach and grow revenues. A maximum grant of £10,000 can be awarded.
• And – coming soon – brand new retail incubation spaces which will provide retail start-ups with the ideal location to develop and grow, offering everything from virtual support to shop accommodation. These incubator units are modelled on successful similar units in Ayr, Girvan and Maybole and will offer a supportive environment for retailers, with direct access to hands-on specialist support and mentoring.
Councillor McIntosh said: “The AMBITION programme is a key part of our proactive and determined efforts to drive business and maximise commercial opportunities in South Ayrshire and, crucially, to make a real difference for our residents, businesses and visitors.
“AMBITION for Town Centres is designed to deliver a comprehensive package of retail support, including mentoring, advice and financial support in our five main town centres of Ayr, Girvan, Maybole, Prestwick and Troon.
“Our town centres were hit hard by both the global downturn and the impact of changes in the way people shop, spend money and set expectations for their town centres. Our programme recognises this and sets out to lay the foundations for a bold and sustainable approach to creating jobs, reducing unemployment and making sure our town centres are attractive, vibrant and geared up to welcome visitors and shoppers alike.
“It’s about doing something different to achieve the best possible outcomes for you, our town centres and our communities, which can not only change lives – it can make lives.”
Councillor McIntosh concluded: “Whether it’s your first steps as a retailer or you’re getting ready to branch out and expand, our AMBITION for Town Centres will be able to assist, helping even the smallest fledgling retailer to spread their wings!”
For further information about AMBITION for Town Centres – or for any other aspect of the AMBITION programme – call 01292 616265 or visit www.ambitionprogramme.co.uk
South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.