Published: July 20th, 2018
Businesses across The Marches looking to revamp their buildings to facilitategrowth are being urged to take advantage of a grant scheme supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as soon as possible in order to complete their build projects before the scheme’s conclusion in June 2019.
The Marches Building Investment Grant (MBIG) was launched in 2017 with support from the European Regional Development Fund. It allows businesses across The Marches to apply for grants of up to £100,000 to facilitate extensions, renovations or reconfigurations that will support business growth and create jobs. To date, the scheme has awarded businesses across the region £750,000 but with all projects needing to be completed with the next twelve months, Programme Manager Caroline Cattle is urging any business owner who is yet to progress their application to avoid further delay. She says:
"The tangible difference that this scheme can make to businesses across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin has already been proven. Manufacturing sites have been extended; showrooms have been reconfigured; and warehouses have been transformed.Importantly, new jobs have been created with many more safeguarded for the region. It was always our aim that this scheme should create 130 new jobs and we’re already half-way to that figure. However, the terms of the scheme are such that all supported building work must be completed by June 2019. That makes now the ideal time to get an application in so that all the necessary paperwork, planning and construction can be realised in good time."
The Marches Building Investment Grant (MBIG) awards up to 45% of the total project costs (to a maximum £100,000) with funds intended to cover costs directly associated with the conversion or alteration of a building. The money cannot be used towards the cost of purchasing the property, equipment, or ‘excessive’ landscaping, nor can applications be made retrospectively.
Andrew Watkins is a Director at Madley-based AW Trailers and received £58,000 towards an extension that has allowed his business which manufactures agricultural, commercial and industrial trailers to keep up with market demand. He comments:
"We were keen to remain in our existing facilities and simply expand them and receiving the Marches Building Investment Grant has made that possible. We’ve already created three new jobs and anticipate that we’ll confirm a further two in the near future."
Colin Derbyshire is a Director at Oswestry-based manufacturer, CV Rollers. Having received a grant worth £97,000, he’s been able to create five new jobs much more quickly than originally anticipated. He comments:
"Simply, without this funding, we wouldn’t have been able to contemplate such a rapid expansion and it’s likely that we’d have been looking at gradual growth over two to three years, as opposed to the six months that we achieved this in."
Caroline Cattle concludes:
"Businesses across The Marches still stand to benefit from a significant funding pot, but they do need to act quickly to take advantage of this in order to meet the terms of the scheme and ensure that any private-sector match funding is also in place.
"The difference that the funding has already made to the businesses that have been in receipt of grants is clear. Without it, jobs simply wouldn’t have yet been created and, in some cases, existing jobs may have been lost.
"We welcome applications from both owner-occupiers and from tenants of commercial premises and are happy to answer any queries that potential applicants may have."
The conversion or refurbishment of residential property is exempt from the scheme and buildings which will be used for agricultural, horticultural, retail or hospitality purposes cannot apply either.
Herefordshire Council is the accountable body for the scheme. Full details of eligibility can be found by contacting either Caroline Cattle (Programme Manager) or Alison Rogers (Finance Officer) on [email protected] or by calling the Marches Growth Hub team on 0345 6000 727.