Oban business group bids for fresh round of funding

Andy Spence, chief executive of BID4Oban

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Bid4Oban is submitting an application for further funding to help with the impact of the coronavirus.

Chief executive Andy Spence confirmed the 500-strong organisation will be in the running for the second round of a fund being made available to help Scotland’s Business Improvement Districts.

The Scottish Government has made a further £700,000 available nationwide to support Scotland’s 40 or so BIDs over the next six months.

It is the second round of funding under the government’s Covid-19 Business Improvement Districts Resilience Fund, with applications now open.

The latest financial support is on top of a first round of £1 million of grant funding in March to support BIDs across Scotland.

The money has been used to help BIDs and businesses with a range of initiatives to help local economies bounce back from the pandemic.

Aileen Campbell, Scotland’s communities secretary, said: ‘This next part of Scottish Government funding will build on that success to enable BIDs to continue their collaborative work to provide focussed support to businesses and the wider community. This will all contribute to local economic recovery during this difficult time.’

The aim is to develop ‘innovative ways of trading’ through all phases of the route map out of lockdown, whilst also supporting initiatives to help the most vulnerable.

The potential cash injection comes at a crucial time for BIDs across Scotland.

They levy members during the autumn and businesses have seen income significantly hit during lockdown.

The Scottish Government said the money would allow BIDs to continue working with their members.

Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership and programme director of Scotland’s Improvement Districts, said Scotland’s BIDs are playing a ‘critical role’ in helping communities fight back.

‘The innovation and creativity they have shown and support they have given their businesses is proving vital in helping the local economies in our towns and cities moving, supporting the communities around them. This second wave of funding will allow that important work to continue and develop at pace,’ he said.