LESS than two years after the launch of the Activation Community Engagement (ACE) Fund, proposals from Grimsby businesses and organisations continue to embrace a local vision for regeneration.
The fund, accessible from November 2021 to March 2026, offers small and medium-sized businesses, including social, charitable, or community-based groups, the opportunity to apply for grants to support the establishment of alternative activities in the town centre area.
The ACE Fund was developed through consultation with local people and organisations and was allocated £850k from the £20.9m Greater Grimsby Towns Fund, a pioneering initiative signed in 2018. The core aim of ACE is to support the invigoration of waterfront and town areas, providing a broad range of pastimes and activities to be enjoyed by all.
Central Grimsby-based businesses and groups making bids must have a projects delivering outcomes falling into one of six priority areas, including more diverse uses of the town centre, reconnecting to the waterfront areas, development opportunities, health and wellbeing activities, and employment opportunities.
Projects at Curious Cat, in Bethlehem Street, and Racks Sports Bar and Grill, in Osborne Street, both in the heart of the town, are just two projects successfully receiving ACE funding to put their plans into place to deliver business growth.
The Curious Cat’s owner Lewis Parry, who applied for a grant to purchase of two shuffle boards at the venue, said:
“We wanted to bring something new to Grimsby – shuffle boards are becoming increasingly popular in hotels and bars operated by major chains, and we wanted to be the first in Grimsby. The grant from the Activation Fund helped us to do this.”
Racks Sports Bar and Grill has been converted into an entirely new leisure venue, offering visitors access to a pool hall and bar, sports bar and grill, and a retail unit for cue sports and accessories. £25,000 from the ACE fund has helped support this investment by the private business.
Business owner Jane Milson commented: “We’ve taken a vacant building in the town and through the work we’ve done, converted it into an attractive property, with a healthy footfall. We wanted to provide a sociable activity for our local community in a safe environment.”
The ACE Fund supports the wider Grimsby town centre regeneration project, seeing the substantial refurbishment of key areas, including St James’ Square, Riverhead Square, and Garth Lane.
Cllr Philip Jackson, council leader and portfolio holder for economy, net zero, skills, and housing, said: “The ACE Fund is a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to think of creative ways they can diversify, generating traffic into town.
“Making the centre more vibrant, appealing and interesting will attract more footfall and provide a springboard for private investment and growth.”
For full details or to apply for the fund, visit: www.nelincs.gov.uk/business-and-investment/town-deal.