Dublin City Council’s South Central Area Office has supported 26 projects under this year’s Shopfront Improvement Scheme, spurring an overall investment by businesses of €200,000 on shopfronts across the south west city area. The scheme applies to neighbourhoods such as The Liberties, Dolphin’s Barn, Kilmainham and Inchicore and is now in its 7th year.
Among the projects supported this year were revamps of shopfronts in Inchicore village and along Clanbrassil Street, new looks for community services in The Liberties, the reinstatement of handsome shopfront proportions to a premises on The Coombe, and the conservation of historic railings to St Audoen’s Church on High Street.
“We’ll consider any projects that support the overall improvement of the public realm and enhancement of streetscapes in these urban villages”, says Stephen Coyne, who coordinates the programme for Dublin City Council. “In the last couple of years we’ve supported a number of community groups in the area who have been upgrading their premises, and we’ve also expanded the catchment area of the scheme so that local neighbourhood businesses can take part”.
The Shopfront Improvement Scheme offers small grants that cover up to 50% of the cost of works to a maximum limit. The scheme supports repainting and repair of shopfronts, installation of new shopfronts, certain work to upper floors such as painting and repairing traditional sash windows, and works to green, declutter and generally tidy up fronts. It supports best practice approaches to shopfronts and encourage owners to use traditional materials such as timber and opt for better quality finishes such as signwriting.
“We have also supported a number of conservation-led projects over the years, particularly with churches, adding value to the work done by our colleagues in the conservation office. Last year, we supported the refurbishment of the beautiful windows of St Catherine’s Church on Thomas Street, and this year we’re helping out nearby St Audoen’s Church as they restore their ornate railings”.
However, primarily, the scheme is targeted at commercial premises. “As businesses looks to get back to some normality and reopen after what has been a very difficult 18 months, small measures like the shopfront scheme can have a big impact and provide a helping hand to recovery”.
The projects continue.