Council backing as Falkirk Delivers prepares to go to ballot
Falkirk councillors have given their support to the Falkirk Delivers team as they aim to renew the town centre's status as a Business Improvement District (BID).
The council has the power to veto the process - but members of Falkirk Council's executive agreed that Elaine Grant and her team had given vital support to town centre businesses during the most difficult of times.
Incredibly, Elaine started her new job just one week before lockdown - but she has done "a fantastic job, with the support of the board", said council leader Cecil Meiklejohn.
Working with Jacqui McArthur from Falkirk Council's economic development department, the team "used a lot of shoe leather" to get round businesses and help them apply for grants that would see them through the crisis.
Other initiatives included a delivery service for small businesses - which securing an estimated £100,000 of sales, delivering 3500 parcels - and a gift card scheme that encouraged people to shop local.
Members of the executive heard that the BID team helped businesses respond to fast-changing government guidance.
They supported more than 200 businesses with grant applications and provided much needed PPE and social distancing signage, with the street ambassador and handyman playing a crucial role in helping businesses.
As part of the Town Centre Covid Group, the organisation also helped introduce new safe outdoor trading spaces and establish communication between the group and business owners.
In more normal times, Falkirk Delivers encourages visitors and tries to improve the environment for them, through initiatives such as providing taxi marshalls and Safebase, a drop-in centre for anyone who needs assistance at night.
During the pandemic, the Safebase volunteers helped deliver more than 3000 prescriptions locally and co-ordinated the delivery of more than 10,000 meals to local foodbanks.
Now that the council has formally agreed not to use its power of veto, the BID levy members must agree to undertake a ballot.
Falkirk town centre businesses will then vote to decide if they agree to the renewal of the BID.
There are approximately 662 commercial properties in the BID area who will pay levies that generate around £171,415 per year.
The ballot result will be announced on September 3.