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Business cluster and Community Grant Scheme

  • Grants for local areas

    As part of the COVID-19 Revitalisation Programme, we are providing one-off capital grants to community groups, charities, social enterprises and business collaborations for environmental improvement schemes in their area. We are administering the grants to eligible groups in Belfast.

    Closing date for applications

    The closing date is 4pm on Monday 1 February 2021.

  • Capital grants for local environmental improvements

    Capital grants between £10,000 and £25,000 are available for environmental improvement schemes on Belfast’s arterial routes, in urban villages and local communities which:

    • support business operation and recovery
    • enhance physical spaces
    • increase civic participation and sense of ownership
    • encourage people to live, work, visit and invest in local areas
  • Groups eligible to apply for a grant

    Belfast-based community organisations, charities, social enterprises and business clusters can apply for a capital grant. A business cluster is five or more micro or small businesses collaborating to progress area-based improvement schemes. Individual businesses or traders are not eligible for a grant.

  • Applications from a business cluster

    If a business cluster applies, one organisation within the cluster must be named as the ‘Lead Applicant’ on the application form. The Lead Applicant and the other businesses in the cluster must sign a Lead Partner Agreement.

  • Application criteria

    Your application must:

    • clearly identify benefit for a specified area or cluster area of Belfast-based businesses - grants will not be given for single business use
    • benefit SME retail or hospitality businesses (including social enterprises and community-led groups
    • demonstrate an ability to complete the environmental improvement scheme before 31 March 2021
    • include any supporting documents such as licences, permits or permissions

    You must adhere to government coronavirus (COVID-19 regulations). Where proposed capital works will use public space, you will need the relevant licences (including a Pavement café Licence), permits or permissions. You are responsible for leading and conducting relevant stakeholder engagement, securing and supplying agreement from all directly affected stakeholders. This includes adjacent businesses or residents.

  • Eligible capital costs

    These costs are eligible for funding.

    Minor capital works

    • shop frontage enhancements
    • awnings

    Capital purchases

    • street furniture
    • inclement weather canopies (standalone)
    • outdoor heaters
    • outdoor furniture
    • street planters
    • hand-sanitisation stations
    • outdoor play equipment

    Medium-term capital investment

    • public realm works
    • meanwhile use of gap sites
    • creating/adapting spaces to enable creative and artistic activity
    • refreshing historic structures to add character and authenticity
    • parklets
    • lighting schemes
  • Ineligible capital costs

    These costs are not eligible for funding:

    • office space or administration costs
    • any costs which someone else is paying for, whether in cash or in kind
    • routine repairs and maintenance to buildings
    • general improvements to public areas unless essential to the project
    • maintenance equipment or office equipment which is not essential to the project
    • any transport that is necessary for the project
    • buying a leasehold that ends in less than five years
    • running costs for the building/proposal after the project is finished
    • funds to build up a reserve or surplus, whether distributable or not
    • loan repayments
    • donations to general appeals
  • Application form and guidance notes

    To ask for an application form and guidance notes, contact us by email:

    Successful applicants will receive grant funding on a first come, first served basis, until the funding is fully awarded. The closing date for applications is 4pm on Monday 1 February 2021.

  • COVID-19 Revitalisation Programme

    The Department for Communities funds the COVID-19 Revitalisation Programme.

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