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Best Practice: FSB Award for Leicester City shopfront improvement scheme

A scheme that has helped to revamp shopfronts in the city has won an FSB ‘small business friendly’ award.

Leicester City Council’s shopfront improvement scheme, which has seen shopfronts renovated and retail streets painted, won ‘Best Small Business Friendly Initiative’ at the recent Leicestershire and Rutland FSB Local Authority ‘Small Business Friendly Awards’. 

As part of the scheme, shops on Leicester’s Saffron Lane have had their shutters covered with printed vinyls featuring photographs that reflect the history of the Saffron Lane area. These include views of the Saffron Lane estate under construction, an image of the number 24 bus that used to run in the area, and a picture of a steam train at the old Saffron Lane crossing.

And in Welford Road, shops have been repainted in pastel colours, echoing an earlier successful similar scheme in Belgrave Road, where shops were painted in bright colours.

LC shutters 2


LC retail improvement 1

Judges were impressed by the scheme’s success in improving the appearance of local areas for businesses and the whole community.

Jenny Cross, Area Leader and Leicester-based business owner, said: “The Judges were impressed with the creativity, innovation and quality of this project, and by how the benefits will be felt by other businesses and people in the local community. In challenging times for high streets, this project makes a direct and unmissable impact and manages to highlight our local heritage at the same time too. 

City mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Shopfront improvement grants have long been one of the ways in which we support local small businesses. The shutter vinyls are a new idea and have proved very popular.

“By investing in our neighbourhoods in this way, we can help to boost the confidence of local communities, smarten up streets and demonstrate our commitment to local enterprise. I’d like to thank the FSB for recognising our work with this award.”

The scheme is a three-year regeneration programme that aims to support the growth of local businesses and improve the environment in retail areas. Funding comes from the city council’s retail area improvement scheme.

Other areas in Leicester that have benefitted from the programme include Heyford Road, Wharf Street North, King Richard’s Road, Aylestone village, St Stephen’s Road, the Barley Croft centre, Church Gate and the area around Leicester market.

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