Grants given out in a BID to boost town businesses


LOCAL events and markets have been allocated thousands of pounds worth of grants this year, in a campaign by the RTW Business Improvement District (BID) to increase visitor numbers in town year-round.

Following the May 1 deadline for the event and market grants, assessments and decisions were made quickly this year to allow spring events to access funds in time, BID CEO Alex Green told the Times.

The Tunbridge Wells Literary Festival took place the week before last, and Jazz on the Pantiles began its summer run on May 5.

Successful grant recipients heard back from BID on May 9, and received 75 per cent of the allocated funds straight away, he explained.

The final 25 per cent will be paid out after submission of the paperwork evaluating the impact for the town of the event or market, added Mr Green.

The £32,000 events budget saw grants of £5,000 awarded to the Literary Festival, TW Fringe and Local and Live. Unfest received £3,500; the Spa Valley Railway £2,500; The Big Reveal £2,000; Jazz on the Pantiles £2,000 and the Tunbridge Wells Mela £1,950.

Denny Fest, Brittens Music Events and the Poetry Festival all received £500.

There was also a market support budget totalling £12,000, with the Farmers’ Markets receiving £2,500, while the Antiques Fair, Food Festival, Pantiles Street Markets and Christmas Market each received £2,000.

All grants were match-funded, meaning there had to be a core contribution by an investor or investors, and organisers were required to demonstrate how their project would support local businesses and increase visitors to the town.

A longer timetable next year will see organisers applying in January or February and receiving a decision on their event in the middle to end of March, allowing planning for spring and summer projects and events, added Mr Green.

BID is still accepting applications for a further £12,000 budget for attractions, worth £500 to £3,000 each.

This new grant category will allow existing and potential cultural and tourist attractions to invest in upgrades and increase the town’s ‘cultural offer’.

The closing date for these grants is June 5, after which the RTW Board Grants panel will review applications.

For more details on the scheme and to apply, contact directly or visit

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