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Business cluster and community grant scheme

  • Business cluster and community grants

    Tranche three of our Business cluster and community grant scheme is open for applications. We provide a rolling programme of one-off capital grants to Belfast-based community groups, charities, social enterprises and business collaborations for environmental improvement schemes in their area. 

    Closing date

    The closing date for applications is 4pm on Monday 19 December 2022.

  • 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
    • 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.

    Groups that are not eligible to apply 

    If your group received a grant in tranche one or two of this grant scheme, you cannot apply to the current tranche.

  • 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 30 November 2023

    Where proposed capital works will use public space, you will need the relevant licences (for example a pavement café licence), permits or permissions (including land ownership). 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 or adapting spaces to enable creative and artistic activity
    • refreshing historic structures to add character and authenticity
    • community gardens
    • 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 or proposal after the project is finished
    • funds to build up a reserve or surplus, whether distributable or not
    • loan repayments
    • donations to general appeals

    The applicant is responsible for ongoing and future inspection, maintenance or repair of any items bought or works completed under this capital scheme.

  • Application form and guidance notes

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

  • Assessing business cluster and community grant applications

    We will begin assessment after we receive completed applications with the necessary supporting documents. We will allocate grants on a first come, first served basis, until the funding has been fully awarded. 

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