Dublin City Council South Central Area office is now inviting applications under the Shopfront Improvement Scheme 2020. The scheme, which piloted on Thomas Street in 2015, has grown in subsequent years to support projects in areas such as Kilmainham, Inchicore and Rialto. As a result, the scheme this year is applicable to business premises in South West Inner City running from Patrick Street-Clanbrassil Street in the east to Inchicore village in the west.
The scheme offers grant assistance to commercial premises to assist with refurbishing or renewing their shopfronts. It also supports certain upper floor works within the Thomas Street & Environs Architectural Conservation Area.
Last year the scheme supported over 20 projects and spurred almost €170,000 of investment.
Applications are now invited and the closing date for applicants is strictly 30th April 2020. Awards are made subject to available funds.
Qualifying works include:
Details of the Scheme and Application Form are included below. Further details on the scheme are available from firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (01) 222 5180 or 083 1949009.
Click here for a Description of the Scheme and details of how to apply. Please read the Description of the Scheme carefully.
Click here to download an Application Form.
The Irish language agency Foras na Gaeilge also offers small grants to businesses to encourage small and medium-sized commercial enterprises to promote Irish in their businesses through signage, packaging, websites and printed marketing material. All criteria and details of the scheme are given in the downloadable form below. This scheme can be combined with the Shopfront Improvement Scheme.
Scale & Proportions
Shopfronts that respect the scale and proportions of their building are often the most effective. Large fascia displays (sign areas) that stretch across the full building should be avoided. The depth of fascia should be proportional to the building and should avoid covering first floor windows.
On older buildings, traditional materials such as timber and stone usually work best and are most appropriate and often prove the most durable and easy to maintain. Using a simple and limited palette of materials is most effective. The use of highly reflective or glossy materials such as plastic, acrylic or laminate should be avoided.
Architectural Features and Details
Small features and detailing are often what people notice and enjoy. Make the most of the features on a traditional shopfront and repair and replace where you can.
Security is an obvious concern for businesses but the heavily shutters frontages often present a forbidding first impression to visitors and offer opportunities to taggers and graffiti artists. Where shutters are desired, open-mesh grilles, removable shutters or internally-mounted mesh grills are preferable as they allow window displays to be seen out of hours. Rollers look best where they are concealed within the fascia. Painted shutters look better than bare steel grills.
Careful choice of colour is extremely important as colour very much tempers how we view our surrounding environment. Avoid strong lurid colours across the entire shopfront; while these colours may highlight your premises, the cumulative effect on the street is off-putting. which can often diminish the original goal which is to attract.
Work with the other materials of the building: for example brick buildings respond better to muted tones while stronger primary colours work better with stone-fronted buildings. A smart shopfront will look its best if windows and upper floor features are also well maintained and painted.
Signage and Lettering
Shop signs are important for businesses as they attract custom and identify the retailer. However, excessive signage generally clutters a building and the cumulative effect on a street can be detrimental. Keep shops signs simple and smart. Individually mounted or painted lettering in attractive scripts should be used on fascia signs. Projecting signs should be restricted to fascia level and ’less is more’ should be the maxim here. A shop should advertise its brand rather than that of another company. And please include the building number.
Wiring and utilities often accumulate over time on premises and a simple exercise in cleaning away redundant fixtures would greatly improve the appearance of buildings. However there are lots of small efforts each can make to create a more attractive street—to everyone’s benefit …. a couple of pots by the door, a bench, or some window boxes at first floor level.