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Businesses Benefit from Towns Fund Boost

The latest round of business funding from both the Shipley and Keighley Towns Funds saw two businesses benefit, with the creation of eight jobs.

The Capital Assistance to Business Growth Programme is part of the Government-funded Towns Fund and there is £4m available to support local businesses in both the Keighley and Shipley areas, with approximately £2m allocated to each. Grants are allocated by Towns Fund boards for each town, made up of private sector representatives, with support from Bradford Council.

The Old Post Office on Main Street in Haworth was awarded £8,900 towards its refurbishment and fit-out as a cafe, including commercial kitchen equipment and furniture, which will support eight new jobs.

The premises are of historic importance due to their connection with the Bronte sisters, who used to post their manuscripts to London from there.

Owner, Charlie Cowling, said: "Accessing the grant funding was a real game-changer, enabling us to invest in the latest commercial technology which will improve efficiency and be fit for purpose.

“Being able to purchase items during the renovation process has enabled the project to be completed much sooner than originally planned. We will be open before Easter this year and look forward to welcoming locals and visitors alike into this historic building in the heart of Haworth.”

Liz Barker, Acting Chair of Keighley Towns Fund, said: “We are delighted to have made such a significant difference to this incredible local business and such an important local building. The funding will have an impact for years to come and the successful growth of our business community will help drive social and economic change for the whole area.”

Renovation works at The Old Post Office have included the complete removal, repair and re-laying of the roof, reinstating Victorian chimney pots, reinstating heritage-style railings to the front, the replacement of windows with wooden sliding sash windows, reinstating a Victorian style shop front, removal of a lean-to at the rear and the installation of a Sugg lantern on the front corner of the façade.

Shipley craft bindery business R Grech Bindery, of Wharf Street, was recently awarded £1,900. The specialist business binds editions of books for private presses and sole publishers, as well as editions for larger publishers. Alongside this they offer tuition in the craft of book binding, either one to one or small groups.

Money from the Shipley Towns Fund has enabled the business to buy a new machine to make the preparation process for the leather of the covers more efficient.

Chair of Shipley Towns Fund, Adam Clerkin, said: “Shipley has a thriving business community and it is fantastic to see businesses benefit from the support. These grants are providing businesses with a catalyst to invest and grow and they are still available. I urge local businesses planning capital investment to contact the team to see how they can help.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, added: “Grants ranging from £1,500 to £315,000 are still available for businesses within – or looking to move to - the Keighley and Shipley Towns Fund Areas, and other businesses are invited to apply.

“The funding is available for start-ups, small, medium-sized and large businesses and can be used to either expand, increase productivity, create a new business, safeguard existing jobs and create new ones.”

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