GROUPS set up to boost three local centres have been awarded £1.28m cash from Bradford Council.

The Covid-19 grants have been awarded to the Business Improvement Districts for Bradford, Keighley and Ilkley, and will be used to help these areas recover from lockdown.

It’s expected the Additional Restrictions Grant funding will be spent on a range of programmes designed to support local businesses, drive footfall and improve the vibrancy of the city and local town centres.

The Bradford BID, which covers the city centre, will receive instalments of up to £603,000 with the Ilkley BID being offered up to £320,000 and the Keighley BID having a maximum of £362,000.

The allocations are based on proposals put forward by each BID and the programmes of support needed for the number of businesses in each area.

BIDs are funded through a levy paid by businesses in the area. The money funds a variety of schemes, from festivals and events to additional street cleaning.

It is part of a wider package of support for businesses that Bradford Council has put in place since the first lockdown in March last year.

So far, the council has delivered over £222 million in Covid-19 grants to businesses impacted by the government’s restrictions.

In July, the council and its partners lunched Summer Unlocked – a series of events designed to welcome people back to public spaces including city and town centres.

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Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We have been working very hard to do everything we can to help local firms, protect jobs and support economic growth.

“This latest initiative will allow the Business Improvement Districts to tailor support to best match local needs and we are investigating options for supporting firms in smaller towns and villages across the district.”

Bradford BID Manager, Jonny Noble said: “The offer of extra support for city centre businesses under the Government’s ARG scheme is very welcome and we are pleased to be working closely with the Council to try to use as much as possible of the proffered funding, in the timescale available, on schemes to help the recovery.

"Bradford businesses, like many others around the country, were hit hard by the pandemic and this will enable us to expand our levy-payer funded work to smarten up the city centre and bring in more customers and visitors to help it thrive again.”

Simon Blondel, Chair of the Keighley BID, said: “This funding will allow us to do some very targeted work to assist the Keighley town centre to grow back after what has been a very difficult time.”

Geraldine Thompson from Ilkley BID, said: “We are delighted to receive this grant which will help us support Ilkley businesses to recover from the adverse impacts of the pandemic and resulting restrictions.

"We are digitalising Ilkley town centre to provide a strong marketing platform for businesses and encouraging footfall through innovative augmented reality trails, and a public Wi-Fi network makes all this possible.”