A £25,000 grant scheme that funded renovations and improvements to shop fronts in Burnham-On-Sea town centre has helped sixteen businesses get a fresh new look.

The Burnham Businesses Frontage Improvement Grant scheme, operated by the Town Council’s Town Centre Manager, pictured, has been completed this month.

Grants of up to £5,000 were offered to independent retail, commercial properties and owners of vacant retail units, funded from a combined work package amounting to £440,000 from Tesco to offset the expansion of its Burnham store, plus cash from the Town Council and Sedgemoor District Council.

The grant scheme saw 41 businesses requesting information packs, 17 applying for grants and 16 being granted.

High Street opticians David Bull Optometrists was among the recipients. Onwer David Bull says the grant made a big difference to make the premises more attractive. “This has already led to many positive and complimentary comments from both existing clients and those who have been attracted by our shop window displays,” he said.

Tiffany Lin of recently-launched Calm Coffee Bar in the High Street added: “The grant has been extremely beneficial to Calm Coffee Bar’s start-up process. It has allowed me to complete all the things I wanted to pre-launch such as interior and exterior design work rather than waiting as the business grew. It has really helped kick start the business the way I envisioned.”

“The grant gave me extra flexibility with my cash flow, freeing up capital so that I could direct more funds to the major and minor design work, branding and furnishings. This greatly helped me to set-up Calm Coffee Bar as I had planned a gourmet coffee bar for people to enjoy high quality coffee, and healthy food offerings.”

Burnham’s Mayor Cllr Michael Clarke, who chaired the council committee that approved the funding, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “It’s good to see this grant scheme benefitting these businesses and tidying up the town for holidaymakers and residents alike.”

Businesses who benefitted in this opening round of funding were: Ritz Cinema, Victoria Street; Ritz Social Club, Victoria Street; Toycupboard, Pier Street; Calm Gourmet Café, High Street; 25 High Street; Kyffins, Victoria Street; Central Hair Studios, Abingdon Street; Enhance, High Street; Inspirations, High Street; David Bull, High Street; Seafoods, High Street; Chatterbox, Victoria Street; 34 High Street; Old Lifeboat Building, Victoria Street; Town and Country, Victoria Street; and Poples Electrical, Victoria Street.

Town Centre Manager Bev Milner Simonds told the latest Town Projects Committee meeting that she’s seeking further external funds to continue the scheme because many more businesses have come forward looking for support.

A spokesman from Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Trade added: “We’ve supported this scheme from its very inception over two years ago and are very pleased to see Burnham’s shops and businesses benefitting while at the same time smartening up our town centre for the benefit of all.”