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Business / Rural shop grant scheme given green light

A NEW grant funding scheme for local shops in Shetland has been approved by councillors.

Shetland Islands Council (SIC) will use a portion of the UK Government’s new Shared Prosperity Fund allocation for the scheme to support the development and sustainability of rural shops by improving their facilities and amenities.

It will offer capital grants of up to £10,000. Applicants will be able to apply to the scheme more than once, but they would not receive cumulative grant support greater than £10,000. The minimum grant awarded would be £1,000.

However, the maximum level of cash available to shops will be determined by their location; under the plans Lerwick premises are not eligible, and Scalloway and Brae shops will be able to attract a grant of up to 25 per cent of the project’s costs.

Shops in all other locations in Shetland will be able to receive up to half of the project costs.

The indicative funding for the scheme is £46,676 in 2023/24 and £135,199 for 2024/25.

Priority will be given to projects which improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon consumption and contribute to Shetland’s net zero ambitions.

The proposal was supported by members of the SIC’s policy and resources committee on Monday, having already been given the green light by the development committee last week.

Shetland West member Liz Peterson said she had already heard of one local shop which is planning a heating upgrade.

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