£2m fund to help Scotland's town centres recover from coronavirus

Scotland's town centres are to benefit from £2 million of funding to support their recovery as coronavirus measures are gradually lifted.

Economic activity in town centres like Kilmarnock, pictured, has been crippled by the coronavirus

The Towns and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) Resilience and Recovery Fund is open to local authorities as well as community and development trusts, chambers of commerce and town centre partnerships to address immediate concerns.

It will help finance emergency recovery projects including digital markets and virtual high streets, online local jobs and volunteering platforms, open for business guides and maps alongside physical distancing street markers and one way systems

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BIDs and towns organisations will be able to access at least £1.7 million of the Towns and BIDs Resilience & Recovery Fund directly through applying to Scotland’s Towns Partnership.

The remaining funding will be used for data analysis, communications and the development of a national media campaign.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “The coronavirus crisis is having an unprecedented impact on every high street and town centre as we take measures to supress and control the spread of the virus.

“As we carefully ease out of lockdown it is vital that we support our local communities to safely reopen our high streets and recover from the social and economic impacts of the pandemic. The steps we take to rebuild our economy and restore our town centres must be flexible and adaptable to allow them to respond quickly to any future changes.

“This funding will support the implementation of new measures for town centres, addressing immediate concerns and assisting in the recovery and renewal of local communities. This is also an opportunity to consider the future of our towns.'

The fund will be open for applications from towns organisations on Monday 15 June with further information available at www.scotlandstowns.org .

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