Over 200 businesses in Swansea have applied for the Welsh Government’s £5.3 million Transforming Towns fund to support traders respond to the pandemic.
In July Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government Hannah Blythyn announced capital funding from the £90 million Transforming Towns programme, will be used to fund adaptions in town centres to facilitate trading and public safety in response to Coronavirus.
From outdoor seating, shelter and heating for cafes/pubs and outdoor waiting areas for salons and social distancing signage and adaptions to providing lighting and power for outdoor markets. Demand for the fund has been at an all-time high with businesses needing to adapt to current circumstances and new ways of operating to ensure customer and staff safety and drive footfall.
One business in Swansea which has benefited from the Fund is Nomad Bar & Kitchen, an independent business offering unique food and drinks from small-scale, high-quality producers not usually found on the high street. The Business was awarded funding towards the purchase of a wooden awning, 8 wooden picnic benches, 6 patio heaters and 2 pop up gazebos to allow them continue trading whilst meeting new regulations.
Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn said:
It is fantastic to see such high interest in the £5.3 million fund to support traders and business I announced in July to support the safe reopening of town centres and to allow businesses to continue to trade in a safe environment despite these challenges. Swansea local authority alone has received over 200 expressions of interest and been heartened by the positive feedback from local independent businesses who have expressed relief at the assistance.
The pandemic has reinforced and reignited our commitment to town centres in Wales. Whilst some of the changes we have seen have been positive, such as a shift towards shopping local and a rise in the popularity of outdoor markets, businesses have overcome new challenges since the start of the pandemic.
We will continue to build upon our Transforming Towns agenda to build sustainable town centres for the future where businesses can thrive.
Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters said:
Coronavirus has placed incredible challenges and pressures on businesses across Wales, not least those in our smaller town centre high streets. However one effect of the pandemic is that we have seen more people spending money on their local high streets and supporting our many locally owned businesses.
We are working hard to help town centres and high streets through these turbulent and challenging times through a range of Welsh Government business support and I am pleased that our Transforming Towns fund is helping so many shops, pubs and restaurants and other businesses in Swansea to adapt to the challenges of Covid-19 and ensure the safety and comfort of their customers.
These businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and we will keep working hard to support them and our many town centres through this difficult time so they can bounce back stronger than ever.
The Director of Nomad Bar & Kitchen said:
The grant has offered us an invaluable lifeline, being able to invest in our outdoor space has helped us remain open during this period of increased social distancing measures, without it, we would not be able to trade at the levels needed to sustain our business long term.
Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said:
We’ve worked flat-out to distribute funds to businesses eligible for grant payments such as this.
It’s been an incredible effort by our officers who delivered this assistance around our area. We know it’s had a positive effect on the local economy.
We continue to work alongside partners such as the Welsh Government and businesses - and we’ll be here for Swansea throughout the pandemic.