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Business support

Published on 20 March 2020

Business support


Carlisle City Council High Street Business Grants now live.


Carlisle City Council High Street Business Growth Grant

Following the success of the Business Growth Grant scheme, Carlisle City Council has approved a new round of grant funding to support small to medium sized enterprises (SME) looking to occupy vacant properties within the defined high streets which now include Brampton and Longtown.

The High Street Growth Grant is an extension of the previous City Centre Business Growth Grant scheme and is funded through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The fund aims to support SME businesses in Carlisle through these challenging times as it is recognised that businesses will need the confidence and support to invest in the high streets, this grant will support businesses in their start up or expansions whilst contributing to vitality of the City’s high streets.

This grant fund will provide up to a maximum of £8,000 for businesses occupying a vacant premises within the defined high streets boundaries located in the policy. 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.



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 the eligible areas
  • An SME/microbusiness re-locating to one of the eligible areas from outside the district or opening a new branch in Carlisle district.
  • Existing SME/Microbusiness currently trading in the eligible area, demonstrating growth, expanding to a larger premise.

Criteria for the premise - In order to qualify for this grant, businesses must demonstrate that the property they are looking to trade form 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 for a minimum of a 2-year lease.
  • Must be brought into use by the applicant business.

The grant may be used for capital expenditure of up to £5,000 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.
  • The provision/purchase of equipment essential for the operation of the business.

The grant may also be used for revenue expenditure of up to £3,000 relating to:

  • Marketing and promotion.
  • Employee training and development.
  • Market research and growing customer bases.
  • Contribution to overhead costs, for example, rent, utilities and business rates.
  • Revenue funding to cover rent will be capped at 20% of annual rental costs, to a maximum of £3,000.

To apply for the grant, please complete an expression of interest form and return this to us at [email protected] or by post to High Street Business Growth Grant Team, Carlisle City Council, Civic Centre, Carlisle, CA3 8QG. Upon assessment of the expression of interest form, businesses taken forward will be asked to complete a full application form and will be required to provide evidence to support their claim.

This grant will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Please read our policy in full before applying.

Download the High Street Business Growth Grant Expression of Interest Form (PDF).

Download the High Street Business Growth Grant Expression of Interest Form (Word Doc).

Download the High Street Business Growth Grant Policy (PDF).

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


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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