By Kevin Ward, manager, Newport Now

THE Newport Now BID continues to help its members in the city centre improve the appearance of their shop fronts.

The BID launched its Shopfront Improvement Grant in 2017 and the scheme has been particularly popular with smaller, independent businesses.

Grants of up to £800 excluding VAT (£1,000 including VAT) are available.

The grant covers up to 75 per cent of the total cost of improvement work. For example, if the total cost of the work was £1,500 including VAT, you could apply for the full £1,000 grant. If the total cost of the work was £1,000 including VAT, you could apply for a maximum of £750.

The scheme is open to all Newport Now members paying the BID levy and the aim is to help local businesses to upgrade the frontage of their shops or offices, thereby creating a more attractive environment for shoppers and visitors to the city centre.

There is a budget of £25,000 available for the scheme and grants are awarded on a first come, first served basis.

The application process is very simple but there are terms and conditions with which applicants must comply.

For instance, businesses must get at least two quotes for the work and provide the BID with ‘before and after’ photographs for publicity. The BID also advises businesses to check whether planning permission is needed before any work is started.

Grants have already been awarded to businesses including Georgiou Hair Design and Drunk Monkey Tattoos on Commercial Street, Goldilocks Hair Salon on Baneswell Road, and Kymin Financial Servicesd on Bridge Street.

The grant scheme is a great way for BID members to improve the look of their premises without having to break the bank.

Better-looking shop fronts are good news for the city centre, and we hope as many BID members as possible will take advantage of this scheme.

For application forms, please contact Kevin Ward at the Newport Now office at or call him on 07824 472543.