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East Midlands Chamber News

Businesses receive £1,000 helping hand to set up in empty shops and boost streets


Four new businesses have opened in Ilkeston and Long Eaton with a helping hand from a scheme to revive empty shops.


The Golden Hello Scheme gives grants of £1,000 - an initial £500 plus £500 after ten weeks of trading - to owners of businesses moving into empty retail premises in the two towns plus Sandiacre and Sawley.


It is managed by enterprise agency Erewash Partnership on behalf of Erewash Borough Council.


Gemma Worthington opened her business, Barefeet Wellbeing Lounge, in Ilkeston to help people with therapy sessions locally.


"The grant was a massive help towards preparing and kitting out the premises," she said.


Richard Chamberlain took over a closed eatery in Mundy Street and reopened it as The Humble Rutland Cafe.


He said the Golden Hello initially helped with decoration and fitting out the premises, and the second instalment will go towards a new till.


"The scheme is great for new businesses, particularly when starting because of lack of cash flow."


Nicola Taylor opened Tallulah & Delilah in a former herbalist’s on Derby Road, Long Eaton.


Her grant paid for a logo and signage and marketing including branded stationery. "The money was really helpful," she said. "What it paid for made a massive difference in attracting customers."


Nearby, in Midland Street, Martin Laver opened travel agency  All About Tours, in what used to be a photo studio that has been empty for four years.


Most of the initial grant has gone on signage and window decorating. “The Golden Hello is an excellent scheme to encourage new businesses and use empty shops,” said Martin.


Councillor Mike Powell, council lead member for regeneration and planning, said: "I am delighted that this successful, innovative scheme is still attracting applicants after several years. New businesses create jobs and also improve the street scene."


Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at the Chamber, said: “Helping new businesses open in empty shops makes a lot of sense. 


“Empty shops send out the wrong message about a town. They can quickly make a place look rundown and untidy. They attract undesirable elements and can quickly become targets for vandals. Once vandalised, they discourage shoppers from the area, which reduces footfall to neighbouring businesses, accelerating a spiral of decline.


“A small investment in the form of a ‘golden hello’ transforms an empty shop into an occupied shop, a rundown area into one seen as thriving and successful, which encourages footfall, creates jobs and localised wealth and accelerates growth.”