Five Golden Hello grants welcome new businesses to boost town centre!
PEOPLE whose livelihoods were threatened with the closure of parts of the Co-op department store in Ilkeston have been given a fresh start by a scheme that supports new and growing businesses in Erewash.
The Golden Hello grant, run by enterprise agency Erewash Partnership on behalf of Erewash Borough Council, gives money to help businesses move into empty retail premises in Ilkeston and Long Eaton town centres.
Five business owners have recently been awarded grants in Ilkeston. Each has received £500 as a start-up incentive and will receive a similar amount after 10 weeks of trading.
Opening The Heart's Cafe in South Street is a dream come true for Sharon Morley after working at Cloughie's restaurant in the Co-op as a catering assistant. She has taken over the former Whirls cafe which had been empty since October when the owner retired.
While Sharon prepares home-made food, the front of house is run by friend Rosa Muxlow, who also worked at the Co-op, selling handbags.
Sharon spent her grant on new furnishings, advertising, and a coffee machine.
“I have dreamt for 25 years to run my own cafe,” she said. “When I was made redundant I thought it's now or never to follow my dream. And now I've done it! The Golden Hello scheme allows people who are starting business to buy extras that they might otherwise not be able to afford.”
Traditional cobbler Graham Andrews has opened Graham's Shoe Repairs and Key Cutting, in a former flower shop, also on South Street.
He has been trading for 17 years, the last 12 of them as a concession on the Co-op's ground floor. With the uncertainty over the premises he looked elsewhere and has moved next to the food hall – 30 seconds away.
“It's an ideal spot for me and I'm fortunate it was empty,” he said. “I hope to keep my old customers and get new ones from passing trade.”
Graham spent his grant on advertising and signage. “The Golden Hello is a brilliant scheme to help small businesses, particularly in these difficult times,” he said.
FAB Skin and Beauty in lower Bath Street, which was recently opened by the Mayor, improved the shop interior with the grant. The business also became a member of the Partnership to benefit from on-going support. Owner Francesca March said “The grant has had a real positive effect on my business and has helped revitalise lower Bath Street.”
The Wallpaper Shop in Station Road, opened by Lorraine Lee, used the grant to buy a sign, and Hayden Penny owner of the The Ilkeston Tack Shop in Bath Street paid for advertising and a sign.
Councillor Geoff Smith, council cabinet lead member for planning and regeneration, said: “It is good that empty premises are being brought back to life and to see some entrepreneurial spirit. It’s fantastic that we are also able to support people who have left the Co-op.”
Erewash Partnership project manager Paul Calladine said “Grants are still available so I would encourage any business thinking of taking empty units to contact the Partnership.”
For more information about the Golden Hello scheme call 0115 944 3944