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£2m high street investment fund relaunched

A colourful seating area with new planters and bunting

The £2m Economic Recovery Fund is back and now accepting more applications from local businesses and community leaders to help improve local high streets and encourage residents to spend their time there.

The Economic Recovery Fund is a grant fund supporting local projects that meet the needs of the business community – such as events, marketing, promotion, physical improvements, creating new business and trader forms – or anything else applicants feel will benefit their high street.

The Fund was first launched in 2021 and has been brought back again this year following the project’s success.

Applicants have a choice of two funding pots to apply for:

  1. The District Centre Fund - for projects focused around one or several specific high street areas. This fund offers grants of up to £200,000 for a large project or up to £50,000 for a small one. 
  2. The Flexible Fund - for projects that may be city-wide, focused on lots of high street areas, or a whole sector. It is aimed at bringing forward new and innovative ideas that benefit local businesses. This fund offers grants of up to £50,000.

Applicants can request support with their application from an Application Development Worker. They will support prospective applicants to convene a project team, develop ideas and write and submit an application. It is hoped the assistance of the Application Development Worker will ensure businesses in the city’s more deprived neighbourhoods, who may face additional barriers to putting forward an application, have a fair chance to attract funding.

Cllr Martin Smith, Chair of the Economic Policy and Skills Committee and Economic Recovery Fund Steering Group, said:

“After the success of the Economic Recovery Fund’s first round, we’re delighted to open the Fund back up to new teams and help them bring new life into their neighbourhoods or sectors. If you are interested in applying please contact the Economic Recovery Team as soon as possible. They will help you to develop your project, work out a budget and support you through the application process”.

Applications will close on 30 April, and the team expects to let applicants know if they’ve been successful at the start of June, with funded projects beginning in the summer.

Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to contact the Economic Recovery Fund team for an early conversation about their ideas. The team can be reached on 0114 224 5000 or at

Further information can also be found on the Council’s website. 

Hear from Loz Barker, about how the Council's Economic Recovery Fund helped get Pollen Market off the ground.

Notes to editors

The Economic Recovery Fund was first conceived as a one-off fund to help local business communities recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. There were 82 applications for the first round, with 26 projects successful in winning funding. More detail on this and the application process for the first fund can be found on the Council’s website.

Projects funded in the first round of the ERF have been delivering interventions with real economic benefits across the city since Spring 2021. These range from community events to high street improvement, new planting and shop front renovations. You can see more detail on what the teams have delivered on the Welcome to Sheffield website.

An independent evaluation of ERF1 showed that high streets more than ‘doubled the money invested’ for every £1 spentThe report found that projects had wide reaching benefits and outcomes, including:

  • Visibly improved district centres
  • Communities across Sheffield supported and new partnerships built
  • Empowered community and business groups
  • Successful budget control achieved

To be eligible for ERF2, applications will be expected to demonstrate the following:

  • The project team is a collaboration that includes businesses and their views
  • How businesses in your target area will benefit from the project
  • You can name the lead organisation that will receive and manage the funding
  • Why you need ERF funding to make your project happen

Successful applicants from the first round of the ERF will be able to apply again, although recipients of large grants (up to £200,000) will not be able to apply for the District Fund.