TOWN centres in Renfrewshire have been handed a £50,000 boost to help them recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund will be used by council chiefs to help businesses in Johnstone, Linwood, Renfrew, Erskine, Bridge of Weir, Houston and Bishopton stage marketing campaigns to encourage people to ‘shop local,’ as well as paying for equipment for outdoor trading.

Cash will also be available for supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hand sanitiser, face masks, gloves, stickers and posters.

The windfall comes from the Towns and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) Resilience and Recovery Fund, financed by the Scottish Government and administered by Scotland’s Towns Partnership.

It will be spent on town centres outside of Paisley, as the Paisley First BID has already received separate funding for a similar scheme to support businesses there.

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson told The Gazette: “We are keen to do all we can to support our local businesses through the impact of Covid, so we welcome this funding and thank the Scottish Government and Scotland’s Towns Partnership for their support.

“It will be used to provide PPE packs to businesses in town, village and local centres, which will help make sure customers and staff feel safe and confident visiting our businesses, while helping minimise any chance for the virus to spread.

“In addition, barriers for use by cafés to set out outdoor space on pavements will be available on request.

“This supports the work we are already doing to encourage residents to support our businesses by spending local and complements the Renfrewshire Coronavirus Business Support Fund, which provides a £1.3million package of loans and grants to help businesses affected by coronavirus, including support to adapt premises for social distancing.”

Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said town centre traders are showing remarkable resilience and innovation in how they are responding to the consequences of Covid-19.

“From rapidly accelerating their online offerings to moving quickly to put safeguards in place to ensure staff can work safely and customers shop responsibly, their work is playing an important part in the nation’s recovery from the pandemic,” he added.

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