The opportunity

We have developed a Rural Shopfront (Minor Works) Scheme funded through the COVID Recovery Small Settlements Regeneration Programme. 

It aims to support business owners and landlords of occupied business premises to carry out minor repairs and cosmetic improvements to their shop fronts with the purpose of creating a more pleasing environment and increasing civic pride.

As an extension of the Rural Shopfront Scheme it offers businesses situated within the following villages the opportunity to apply for a grant to improve their shop frontage: Aghalee, Annahilt, Ballinderry, Dromara, Drumbeg, Glenavy, Maghaberry, Milltown, and Moneyreagh.  

View the boundary maps for each of the eligible areas on this link.  Businesses that sit just outside these boundaries may also be considered.

Email Becky Colvin if you require further clarification: 

Please note: Royal Hillsborough and Moira have been excluded from this scheme after already being offered the opportunity to apply through the Heritage Shopfront Scheme which is being delivered as part of the overall programme.

Allocation of funding

Successful applicants will receive a grant of up to 80% - maximum £12,500 (ex VAT).

You must demonstrate your contribution of a minimum 20% of the overall costs (ex VAT) has been paid. 
Please note the grant funding will be for works only excluding VAT.

Professional and statutory fees are not funded through this scheme.

Award of the grant will be at our discretion.

Who can apply?

The Rural Shopfront Scheme is open to all freehold owners and lease-holders with at least three years remaining on their lease and tenants of premises with commercial shop-frontage facing the street within the eligible small settlements.

Tenants must have the building owners' prior approval.

Commercial premises include (but are not limited to): 

  • retail shops
  • hair and beauty salons
  • hospitality e.g. restaurants, cafes and food takeaways
  • financial and professional services e.g. banks, solicitors etc.
  • buildings that are being used for a community service

Who cannot apply?

In general, the following will not be eligible to apply for funding:

  • businesses which are situated within the village boundary of Royal Hillsborough or Moira as these businesses are eligible for the heritage shopfront scheme
  • sports clubs
  • public buildings
  • political organisations
  • multiples

What can be funded?

The Rural Shopfront (Minor Works) Scheme is available to eligible businesses wishing to undertake work that does not require any statutory permissions such as advertising consent or planning permission.

Funding is available for:

  • painting of shopfront 
  • removal of wires, unwanted shutters, awnings
  • new front door
  • new windows
  • cleaning and repair of gutters
  • replacement awning
  • installation of window boxes

If you are uncertain if the work you would like to undertake would be covered under the scheme, please contact Becky Colvin 

What cannot be funded?    

In general, the following will not be eligible for funding:

  • any costs or projects which are clearly another statutory agency’s responsibility or costs that can be claimed back from elsewhere e.g. VAT cannot be funded
  • costs incurred prior to a letter of offer from us (retrospective funding)
  • any professional fees or any costs incurred in obtaining quotes in preparation of applications
  • loan repayments
  • consultancy fees
  • costs towards ongoing running costs/ cash/flow (e.g. electricity, rent, rates, insurance etc.)
  • costs towards banking charges and / or repayment of debt.
  • costs which are not clearly linked to the project
  • costs that are assessed as poor value for money, or that are purchased not following council procurement guidelines
  • costs that are already covered by other funding or income sources
  • costs which are deemed excessive by our QS advisor
  • cash expenditure will not be eligible for refund from us
  • applications received after the closing date specified in the promotional literature
  • salary costs will not be funded
  • alcohol, gratuities, gifts and prizes will not be funded
  • purchase of stock for general trading purposes
  • costs relating to transportation/vehicles
  • council reserves the right to reject late applications