MORE than 20 empty shops in Wirral’s recession-hit high streets are being brought back into use.
Applicants who successfully won grants from Wirral’s Empty Shops Fund are now opening up their businesses and community projects to the public.
Wirral Council has invested more than £100,000 in the past year in a bid to breathe new life into shopping areas.
The borough was one of the areas to receive money from the government’s High Street Innovation Fund.
Among the successful applications was the Rathbone Studio, a pottery studio and workshop occupying a site in Argyle Street, Birkenhead, which was once be home to the famous Della Robbia pottery.
Another successful application was lodged by St Mary’s Church, in Eastham, in conjunction with Eastham Community Forum, which is turning an empty unit in Clifton Avenue into a community hub.
The Reverend Beth Glover, from St Mary’s Church, said: “It will also provide a new kitchen with facilities for a community bread-making facility, an after-school computer club, a place for residents to meet and a food bank.”
Cllr Pat Hackett, Wirral Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and planning strategy, said: “There were some fantastic bids and it is clear these small grants to help them with set-up and refurbishment costs are helping to make a difference in our shopping areas.
“It will also re-energise previously vacant premises to help restore a sense of place, identity, ownership and civic pride back into these areas.”