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Business support

Published on 20 March 2020

Business support


Carlisle City Council Business Growth Grants now live.


Carlisle City Council Business Growth Grants

Following the success of the Business Growth Grant pilot scheme, Carlisle City Council has approved a new round of grant funding to support Small-and Medium Enterprises (SME) looking to occupy vacant properties within the City Centre.

The City Centre Business Growth Grant aims to support SME businesses in Carlisle through these challenging times and it is recognised that businesses will need the confidence to invest in the City Centre, this grant will help support businesses in their start up whilst contributing to City Centre vitality.

This grant fund will provide up to £2,500 (£5,000 for particularly strong cases) for businesses occupying vacant space in Carlisle City Centre. The award of the grant is subject to an appraisal process. This is a discretionary grant, and the decision to award a grant is entirely at the Council’s discretion.

The grant may be used for capital expenditure relating to:

  • Physical improvements to the premise, including improvements to the frontage of the building and signage - subject to the relevant planning permission being secured.
  • To provide equipment essential for the operation of the business.


Criteria for businesses - in order to qualify for this grant, businesses must fall into one of the following categories:  

  • A new start-up beginning trading in Carlisle City Centre.
  • An SME/microbusiness re-locating to Carlisle city centre from outside the district or opening a new branch in Carlisle.
  • Existing SME/Microbusiness currently trading in Carlisle City Centre, demonstrating growth, expanding to a larger premise or significantly diversifying their business model to run more sustainably.

Criteria for the premise - In order to qualify for this grant, businesses must demonstrate that the property they are looking to trade from meets all of the following criteria:

  • Must be vacant or have vacant ground floor space in it which the applicant business will occupy. This includes businesses who have begun renovating a vacant space but have not started trading.
  • Must be held by the applicant by a minimum of a 2-year lease.
  • Must be brought into use by the applicant business.
  • Must be in the area of Carlisle City Centre.

To apply for the grant, please complete an Expression of Interest form (EOI) and return to us at [email protected], by post to City Centre Business Growth Grant Team, Carlisle City Council, Civic Centre, Carlisle, CA3 8QG with all the relevant documents required (These are listed in the policy and EOI form). If your Expression of Interest (EOI) is accepted, we will get in contact with you to complete a full application. This grant will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.

Please read our policy in full before applying.

Documents to download:

These documents may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email [email protected] Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use

Carlisle City Council is exploring opportunities to expand the scheme to further high streets in the district of Carlisle. This expansion is subject to further funding being secured through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. More information will be shared on this in due course.


Government guidance 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to businesses:

For guidance and support visit this website.

Stay up to date with GOV.UK

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Funding support

For funding opportunities visit 

We are providing local businesses with free access to its local business support and grant portal provided by Open4Business. This is tailored for the Carlisle area and includes local, regional and national schemes. Business can also search for funding relevant to their size and sector. To use the portal, you will first need to register with Open4Business. Visit the portal here.

The government’s ‘support finder’ tool helps businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic. The link is here.


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