WYRE Forest business owners say they have been given the chance to get on their feet, thanks to two district councilbacked schemes.

About 10 firms across Kidderminster, Stourport and Bewdley are benefiting from retail rate relief and refurbishment grants to help take their ventures forward and there is still plenty of money to be claimed.

The grant offers up to £4,000 for the refurbishment of empty buildings and the relief programme offers up to 100 per cent business rate relief for a year.

The schemes were introduced last year by Wyre Forest District Council as part of a £1 million town centres boost.

Council leader, Conservative John Campion, described the schemes as a “first step” in regenerating the area and added: “We are delighted with the results so far and encourage more applications.”

Paul Haymes, owner of Haymes Butcher, York Street, Stourport, said his successful application for rate relief would “make a significant difference to whether or not I will last”.

“I doubt very much we would be trading without this help so it is a real lift up to get you going that first 12 months,” he added.

The grants helped Barbara Miller move her Bewdley business The Melting Pot into Load Street last year.

She said: “The schemes are brilliant and give you a chance to get on your feet.”

Aliye Mullen, who runs Aliye Mullen Photography, said Wyre Forest town centres manager Peter Michael helped her apply for the grants when she was looking to rent a studio in Comberton Hill, Kidderminster, last November.

She aims to start photography workshops and provide a gallery space for local artists.

Independent councillor Helen Dyke, district council town centre champion, said her town team was “actively working” on helping managers who “have to consider urgently what they can do to help trade now”.

Your chance to apply

THERE is still plenty of money left in the pot for Wyre Forest business owners who need help getting off the ground.

Those who want to apply for Wyre Forest District Council’s rate relief or empty shop refurbishment grant schemes should contact town centres manager Peter Michael.

There is no deadline for applying for either initiative but both have been allocated a specific amount of money, which will eventually run out.

Mr Michael said: “It is easy to apply and I will help people fill out the forms to make it as easy as possible.”

To contact Mr Michael, call 01562 732534, email peter.michael@wyreforestdc.gov.uk or visit wyreforestdc.gov.uk