BUSINESSES are being given the chance to bid for cash grants to improve their premises.

Traders in Farnworth town centre will be able to apply for sums of up to £2,000 in an attempt to boost the economic prospects of the area.

The money will come from the Farnworth Town Centre Improvement Grant Funding Scheme – a £20,000 pot available for ‘long lasting improvements to an applicant’s business property.

Funding will be assessed by a panel of council officer and awarded on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, provided the terms and conditions of the grant funding requirements are met.

The majority of town centre businesses will be eligible to apply for the cash, but there are some exceptions.

Bids will not be accepted from businesses already set to benefit from planned improvement works by their landlord, public houses or betting shops.

Also excluded from the scheme are betting shops, cash exchange shops, pawnbrokers and sex shops.

Business were invited to make apply for the cash at the recent Farnworth Area Forum Meeting.

Ward councillor Jean Gillies urged traders who could make proper use of the money to come forward.

She said: “We’ve got businesses struggling and that’s the why we have put that £20,000 to one side so some businesses can apply for £2,000.

“It’s not something they have to pay back, it’s for the sustainability of their business.

“If some of these shops which look a bit dilapidated start looking a bit better, people might start going into them more.

“That’s why we’re saying if people want to invest we are going to put money into their business to help them look better. It will be a start for those individuals and small businesses.”

Cllr Gillies also gave reassurance that there would be proper oversight to ensure the money was only spent on business improvements and not on paying bills or other purposes.

She said: “There’s a whole process, due diligence will be followed to make sure that the people who want the grants are going to use the money for the right reasons and right investment.”

For more information, to register interest or request an application form email or call 01204 336222/6131.