Conservatives in Downend have welcomed the latest funding support initiative led by the Council during a visit to a new local business on the High Street.
The new café, bar and lounge Mokka, which is set to open next week, received a £5,000 grant as part of the Help us Thrive initiative to purchase outdoor seating for their customers to eat and drink outside.
The £400,000 grant scheme, brought forward by the Council’s Conservative Administration, has enabled further support to each of South Gloucestershire’s eight high streets (Kingswood, Staple Hill, Thornbury, Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Downend, Filton and Hanham) by funding projects aimed at diversifying the high street and introducing new technologies to help the high street evolve and embrace new ways of working.
The one-off grants are also designed to support the growth of existing employment opportunities, support local communities helping themselves and encourage social inclusion whilst supporting a range of community initiatives and independent and small businesses.
The Help us Thrive grant also comes alongside a new Conservative-led £120,000 investment through the Administration’s Recovery and Rise budget approved earlier this year to provide further support to High Streets in Downend, Filton and Chipping Sodbury, with the Council having recently called on residents to put forward their ideas for how to make use of it through a public consultation.
Despite being a new business in the community, one that would help the local economy to bounce back and draw people to local High Streets, Mokka had found itself ineligible for financial support and government grant schemes because it was yet to open, but through the Conservative-led scheme, was able to access funding that will help progress its opening.
Welcoming the news, local Conservative Cllrs Ben Burton, James Griffiths and Liz Brennan paid a visit to Mokka and met with owners Mitch and Mike Hoare to find out more about the opening plans and how they have managed the changing environment as a new start-up during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cllrs Ben Burton, James Griffiths and Liz Brennan, who represent the Frenchay and Downend Ward, said: “It was fantastic to be able to visit Mokka and see how Mitch, Mike and their team are getting ready for the grand opening, providing a great new social venue on our High Street. We can’t wait to see the doors open.
“It’s great to see how they are making use of the Help to Thrive fund, an initiative we are proud to back, which has helped so many businesses and organisations vital to our High Streets and communities across South Gloucestershire continue to take positive steps forward through the pandemic.”
Mokka owners Mitch and Mike Hoare said: “We were delighted that our Help Us Thrive bid was approved by South Gloucestershire Council, it will go a long way to helping us create a relaxing and enjoyable environment for customers in Downend. It was great to welcome Liz, James and Ben to Mokka and talk to them about our plans for opening as well as what we feel could be done to help improve Downend High Street. We look forward to having them back soon!”