More money is being made available to help Scotland’s Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) support their communities in their recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
The Scottish Government has released a further £700,000 to support them over the next six months through a second round of the Covid-19 Business Improvement Districts Resilience Fund, applications to which open today (Monday, September 14).
This latest financial support, administered through Scotland’s Improvement Districts, is on top of a first round of £1 million of grant funding released to support BIDs in March.
This money has been used to help BIDs and surrounding businesses with a range of initiatives to help local economies bounce back from the pandemic, including community resilience measures, e-commerce platforms, and schemes to ensure social distancing and hygiene measures are in place, in line with Scottish Government guidelines.
Scotland’s Communities Secretary, Aileen Campbell, said: “I am pleased that the £1 million Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) Resilience Fund and the first part of the £2 million Towns and BIDs Resilience & Recovery Fund are already helping drive recovery of businesses, towns and communities. This is through renewal projects including digital markets and virtual high streets, online local jobs and volunteering platforms, open for business guides and maps, and communication campaigns around the Love Local campaign message.
“This next part of this Scottish Government funding will build on that success to enable BIDs to continue their collaborative work to provide focussed support to local businesses and the wider community. This will all contribute to local economic recovery during this difficult time.”
Only BIDs can apply for grants from this fund, which will allow them to support local economic recovery in any way they can. This support will help bolster the income now being gathered through levy collection.
The money will allow BIDs to continue working with their members to develop innovative ways of trading to meet the needs of their communities and customers through all phases of the route map out of lockdown, while also supporting initiatives to help the most vulnerable.
There are nearly 40 active BIDs in Scotland, which provide a mechanism for local businesses to work together with other public and private sector partners to improve local economies and communities.
Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership and Programme Director of Scotland’s Improvement Districts, said: “Scotland’s BIDs are playing a critical role in helping our communities fight back from the consequences of Covid-19. The innovation and creativity they have shown and support they have given their businesses is proving vital in helping the local economies in our towns and cities moving, supporting the communities around them. This second wave of funding will allow that important work to continue and develop at pace.”
To apply to the fund, improvement districts can access the application form and guidance note at https://improvementdistricts.scot/resources-and-materials/.
The second round of the BIDs Resilience Fund is part of the £2m Towns and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) Resilience and Recovery Fund, which has already seen £1m-worth of grants distributed to almost 200 towns across Scotland to help community groups and councils with local town centre responses to Covid-19. It also includes support for the Scotland Loves Local campaign, a major multimedia promotion championing the message for shoppers to think local first.
Business Improvement Districts are collaborative business improvement projects whereby local businesses vote to establish a company to deliver joint economic and business development initiatives from a shared fund. Local businesses agree to pay an additional levy on top of their business rates to pay for projects that will improve the local economy and business outcomes for businesses and communities alike.