RETAIL and leisure businesses in Central Milton Keynes are preparing bids for a share of a new recovery grant made available by the area’s Business Improvement District.
The BID Recovery Fund created by MyMiltonKeynes BID is available from April 1 for businesses that have paid the BID levy for the 2020-21 financial year and which have been unable to trade during the lockdowns.
BID chief executive Melanie Beck said: “I am immensely proud of how so many businesses in Central Milton Keynes have adapted to the challenges of the past year and have been acutely aware of the many that have not been able to be as flexible as others. It is those businesses that we now really need to support.
“We are really pleased to have created this recovery fund, which will support our leisure and retail BID members who have been impacted the most during the coronavirus pandemic.”
To apply for a BID Recovery Fund grant and for more information, visit www.mymiltonkeynes.co.uk/recoveryfund.
Retailers have welcomed the recovery funding. Kevin Duffy, centre director at centre:mk, said: “The creation of MyMiltonKeynes’ BID Recovery Fund is inspired and it is great to see the BID going above and beyond to find new ways to offer support to those retailers and leisure businesses most affected by Covid.
“We urge any of our occupiers, based within centre:mk, who are eligible for this new grant to apply.”
Since March last year, MyMiltonKeynes BID has increased its support for the businesses and wider community in the city. It provided community support in the early stages of the pandemic, delivering food parcels to shielded residents and PPE to the NHS, and has been working with key organisations to support businesses to reset, restart and recover.
The BID organised a drive-in cinema at Hallowe’en and Christmas, has encouraged increased visitor footfall for takeaway and click and collect services in Central Milton Keynes and raised more than £13,000 for MK Food Bank.
BID staff have volunteered at the food bank and at NHS vaccination centres in Milton Keynes.
It has also organised landscapers to keep Central Milton Keynes clean, MyMiltonKeynes’ police officers have provided increased safety and advice to employees and visitors and the BID has delivered regular maintenance to keep public spaces tidy.
MyMiltonKeynes BID is nearing the end of its first five-year term and is preparing for a ballot of businesses based in MK9 to decide whether to support another five years for the BID. Ahead of the vote, the BID has appointed full service marketing agency Interdirect to raise awareness of its achievements so far.
Ms Beck said: “Business Improvement Districts are an important part of any town, city and placemaking, helping to add value and create vibrancy and excitement, with improvements to the public realm and the addition of events and activities.
“MyMiltonKeynes goes to reballot every five years and, after a hugely successful first term, we are keen to ensure that levy payers and the local business community have a clear understanding of the positive impact the BID has had.”
Interdirect’s PR and social media account director Anne Walsh said: “Interdirect has long supported local businesses, organisations and charities to give them a voice in the city and promote their important work.
“We are proud of the vast achievements that we have seen from Melanie and MyMiltonKeynes since working with the BID, particularly the support they have provided to the business and local community over the past 12 months.”