THURROCK Council is helping to renovate shop fronts in four areas affected by empty premises in recent years.
The Thurrock shop front improvement scheme provides grants to businesses in Aveley, Socketts Heath, Stanford-le-Hope and South Ockendon.
Businesses in those areas can apply for a grant of up to £3,000 towards the external renovation or improvement of ground floor and upper floor shops.
Ultimate Choice Bathrooms on Kings Street, Stanford-le-Hope recently used a grant to renew its shop front.
Owner Trevor Hollisey said: “The scheme has helped us improve our shop front. It looks much better now. It really does make a difference to the parade. It just makes it a nicer place to visit.”
The scheme is funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government as part of a plan to increase visitors to town centres and make them both more attractive and profitable.
Councillor Andy Smith, portfolio holder for regeneration said: “This fund offers something to our high street businesses. Often they are the heart and soul of their community and have a long history on their high street.
“They face huge competition from Lakeside and receive very little government support. We should do more to support them.”
Further details on the scheme, including eligibility, can be found at www.thurrock.gov.uk/shop-front-improvement.