Dover District Council Scoops Top Award for Business Support

FSB Award

DDC has been recognised by the Federation of Small Businesses for its business support grants programme

Dover District Council (DDC) has been recognised for its work to support small businesses, taking the award for ‘Best Programme of Business Support in the Southeast’ at the inaugural Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Local Government Awards.

DDC took part in a pilot project which saw it retain 100% of Business Rates and used the income to introduce a business grant scheme to support small businesses. The Council introduced two town centre grants for empty properties and shop front renovations to support ongoing efforts to support town centres, and a green energy grant for businesses located anywhere in the district.

The scheme offered businesses with less than 50 employees 50% of costs up to £10,000.

A simple online application process along with site visits and practical advice from Council officers helped to build relationships, better understand what local businesses needed, and encouraged networking between new and existing businesses.

To date, DDC has awarded 66 grants, helping to bring 22 empty properties back into use, renovating 31 shop fronts, and helping 13 small business introduce more sustainable and carbon-free measures.

Cllr Chris Vinson, DDC cabinet member for finance, said: “Our business grant schemes have seen dozens of high street premises renovated or brought back into use. And our green energy grants have led to the installation of renewable energy systems, improved insulation and energy saving measures in many business premises too. All part of delivering on our commitment to cut the Council's emissions to net zero and support our wider district to do the same.

“And this has been achieved on top of the delivery of more than £40million in government support to keep businesses going through the COVID pandemic. It's been a busy couple of years!”

Case studies

Solar powered ice-cream

New solar panels installed at Solley’s Ice Cream in Deal with help from a £10,000 green energy grant from DDC mean that the business has enough power to run all its freezers from the sun. Thanks to the grant Solley’s create enough solar energy to power the business and sell spare capacity back to the National Grid, halving the business' electricity bill in the process!

Managing Director of Solley’s Kentish Ice Cream, Keith Morrison, said: “The financial help from DDC has made a huge difference to the affordability of the solar technology, and helped us to reduce our business impact upon the environment both now and in the future. We now have Kent’s first Solar powered ice cream, and we owe a huge thank you to the council for their support in making these savings.”

Feeling peckish for business expansion

A successful rotisserie chicken business from Deal, Peckish, opened a new shop in Worthington Street, Dover in October 2021 with help from a £10,000 empty property grant from DDC.

Peckish owner, Neil Maynard, said: “We were delighted to receive a grant from DDC, enabling us to invest in Dover town centre and offer career development opportunities to local people. As with all our stores, we look to employ locally, and this grant went a long way to helping us with that aim.”

A beautiful new investment

Sisters Sacha and Leanne Eastwell were the very first recipients of a DDC’s town centre business grant, opening a new beauty salon, Urban Calm, in Bench Street, Dover. Sacha and Leanne chose the premises in Bench Street due to its proximity to the nearby St James’ retail and leisure development.

Sacha Eastwell of Urban Calm said: “Receiving the grant allowed us to expand the new salon, with more facilities for local beauticians or apprentices to come and join our team. We were grateful for the grant funding which helped us to grow our businesses and to create a professional workspace for others.”

Note to editors:

Recipients of Dover District Council’s business grant scheme.


Urban Calm, Love Brunch, Dickens Corner, Lava Lounge, Elephant & Hind, Europa Fish & Chip Shop, Blakes of Dover, Rhino & Bull’s, Sam Rois, Ivy Rose, Iristylers, Nick Rawbone, Dowle Vehicle Enhancement Specialists, Dover Dentures, OGI Properties, Warren Hairdressers, EIC Money Yours, Stanley’s Bar & Coffee Lounge, Cactus Kiss/Sew Useful, Pizza Shack, Riverside Charity Shop, Pekish, Action Carpets, Dover International, Mr Apollos.


Joanne Harmer Gallery, Margherita’s, Filberts Foods, Barkened, Hope & Lane, Your Shop, Two’s Company, Algar Farm Shop, Hair Gallery, Ward & Corrigan, Merchant of Relish, Taylor-Jones & Son, Arno & co, Mileage, The Bar, Pop Up Café, Frog & Scott, Will & Yates, Cin Cin, Quirky Giftz, Solley’s Farm, Jenkins & Sons Fishmongers, Retro Cookshop.


The Old Pharmacy, Collections, Waiting Room, Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Trust, The Grain Store, My Happy Place Café.

Aylesham & Snowdown Welfare Bowls Club.

Posted on 26 October 2022

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