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Award for shopfront improvement scheme

Published on Monday, August 19, 2019

Image shows council staff, business owners, city mayor Peter Soulsby (right) and Cllr Kirk Master in Saffron Lane

A SCHEME that has helped to revamp shopfronts in the city has won an award from the Federation of Small Businesses.

Leicester City Council’s shopfront improvement scheme, which has seen shopfronts renovated and retail streets painted, won Best Small Business Friendly Initiative at an awards ceremony held recently (Fri 5 July) by the local Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

As part of the scheme, shops on Leicester’s Saffron Lane have had their shutters covered with printed vinyls featuring photographs that reflect the history of the Saffron Lane area. These include views of the Saffron Lane estate under construction, an image of the number 24 bus that used to run in the area, and a picture of a steam train at the old Saffron Lane crossing.

And in Welford Road, shops have been repainted in pastel colours, echoing an earlier successful similar scheme in Belgrave Road, where shops were painted in bright colours.

Judges were impressed by the scheme’s success in improving the appearance of local areas for businesses and the whole community.

FSB area leader and Leicestershire businesswoman Jenny Cross, of Cross Productions and Niche Magazine, said: “We were delighted to be able to highlight and share all of the good work being carried out by local authorities in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and to present these awards to those activities which the FSB judges felt were the most ‘small business-friendly’. This event is all about sharing ideas and best practice, for the good of our local small business community.”

City mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Shopfront improvement grants have long been one of the ways in which we support local small businesses. The shutter vinyls are a new idea and have proved very popular.

“By investing in our neighbourhoods in this way, we can help to boost the confidence of local communities, smarten up streets and demonstrate our commitment to local enterprise. I’d like to thank the FSB for recognising our work with this award.”

The scheme is a three-year regeneration programme that aims to support the growth of local businesses and improve the environment in retail areas. Funding comes from the city council’s retail area improvement scheme.

Other areas that have benefitted from the programme include Heyford Road, Wharf Street North, King Richard’s Road, Aylestone village, St Stephen’s Road, the Barley Croft centre, Church Gate and the area around Leicester market.

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