Aberdeenshire Town Centres Phoenix Fund
This scheme has been fully subscribed and has now closed to new enquiries and applications.
The Town Centres Phoenix Fund was a one-off grant that was made available to eligible town centres across Aberdeenshire with a fundamental principle to support the town centre businesses (collectively) to ‘re-launch’ their town centres, encourage footfall and boost economic activity following the COVID-19 lockdown period. The Phoenix Fund is unique to Aberdeenshire Council.
A grant of £10,000 was awarded to each of the following 13 main towns centres in Aberdeenshire:
A grant of £5,000 was awarded to projects in the following 13 smaller town centres in Aberdeenshire (one grant per town) and the funds are guaranteed if projects meet the minimum qualifying criteria:
The guidance notes (pdf 302KB) are extensive and include information on call for proposals, criteria, what can the grant money be used for, exclusions, payment arrangements, measures of success, timings and correspondence.
When the scheme deadline date passed, all of the towns with the exception of one, smaller town, chose to apply. One other town also initially submitted an expression of interest but subsequently retracted it. Therefore, 25 towns will benefit from the Phoenix Fund.
Economic Development Aberdeenshire intends to highlight some of the work that is being undertaken.
Portlethen is one of the 25 collaborative business and community led projects that have applied to the Aberdeenshire Town Centres Phoenix Fund. The fund is to help the region bounce back from the economic impact of COVID-19.
Portlethen Town Association, assisted by input from the Portlethen and District Community Council and the Green Business Association are at the initial stages of production of a retail and community website to promote the town. The ‘ourportlethen’ plans to include all the retailers and home-based businesses within the town, with the aim of safely increasing business by encouraging footfall in the shops, takeaways and public houses when the time is right. Local information on available groups and town history, along with a newly devised logo, are also in the planning.
The community feel will be extended by the installation of 6-8 signposts providing directions to local retail centres and eating venues. Planters are being considered as part of the Portlethen Edible Trails. The aim of the ‘Porty Info’ initiative is to encourage a ‘shop local’ attitude in Portlethen. The project is soon to enter the next phase of contacting retailers and encouraging home-based businesses to come onboard so they can start building the website.
Th council intentionally chose to keep the criteria for the Phoenix Fund flexible, allowing business leaders to decide how best to use these funds in their local area.
The Only Way is Turriff’ has benefitted from Aberdeenshire Council’s bespoke Phoenix Fund. The campaign, including a stay safe and shop local element, has been further developed by a design and marketing student, taken on with part of the designated funding, to promote the businesses in the rural Aberdeenshire town.
The logo for ‘The Only Way is Turriff’ has been used on a new online Facebook and Instagram page and will help to generate more followers for the existing Turriff Business Association presence.
Prior to Christmas 2020, visuals were created to give shoppers an idea on what the Turriff High Street has to offer. A short television advertisement was also devised and aired over a four-week period during November and December of 2020. The logo was printed and added as a visual reminder to all shop-based sanitiser units. Safe guidance signage was developed and located at various points around Turriff.
A leaflet to showcase the available facilities in Turriff has been printed and will be circulated. The financial support allowed the committee to source and cost a digital information screen and the relevant planning permissions are being investigated for future installation.
On hold due to the current Scottish Government restrictions, ‘The Only Way is Turriff’ will be ready to rise once again, as guidance permits.