City council launches £2m fund to help high streets recover

Sheffield City Council has launched a £2m Economic Recovery Fund to kick start projects to help high streets recover from COVID-19 restrictions.

The fund seeks ideas that will help businesses reopen safely, adapt and thrive as lockdown rules ease and encourage people back to local businesses when it is safe to do so.

The council will work directly with businesses, community leaders and its partners to encourage applications for funding, with a focus on creative and innovative ideas that will boost the local economy of each area.

Examples of projects that the funding could be used for includes:

  • Street closures for weekend markets or community events
  • Pavement cafes to provide extended outdoor seating
  • The creation of parklets and repurposing space for alfresco hospitality
  • Purchasing outdoor furniture and equipment
  • Commissioning artists to enliven the local street scene

The £2m will go towards a mix of small and large-scale projects. Applications for funding for small projects will be considered up to £50,000 and up to £200,000 for larger projects.

The money will be provided to support a local area rather than individual business and will be assessed by a steering group of councillors and business leaders.

Applications for smaller projects will be considered on a rolling basis, whilst larger proposals must be submitted by 30 April 2021.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment, said: “We’re well aware that businesses are going to be reopening over the next few months with a lot of uncertainty about what they will be facing and how quickly trade will start to increase again.

“We’ve launched the Recovery Fund to help alleviate these concerns and to encourage businesses, particularly in district centres, to use this opportunity to showcase what their high street has to offer and create a real buzz in their communities.

“We want people to feel proud and excited to support their local shops, pubs, and restaurants, and most of all, safe in doing so.”


Louisa Harrison-Walker, a member of the fund’s steering group, said: “I am really excited at the way this fund allows communities of businesses, local people and the council to come together.

“Local businesses are well placed to spark the ideas that will benefit their areas and this this fund provides a great incentive for collaboration.

“We know not all groups will have the means to manage everything entirely by themselves, so the council are offering support wherever possible as the purpose is to support innovative, fresh ideas to emerge.”


Emma Marshall, also a member of the steering group and operations director of 3squared, added: “I particularly look forward to seeing innovative ideas and partnerships built between the city’s creative sector and local high streets.

“As we come out of the pandemic, these relationships are what will stand us in good stead as businesses look to get back on their feet, particularly in the hardest hit sectors, and I know that this fund can help us start thinking not just about recovery, but also about the renewal of the economy and what that could look like.”

More information and details of how to apply can be found here: