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Support for business

Tram artist impression constitution streetSupporting local business throughout the works

Our aim is to maintain the vibrancy, desirability and accessibility of the streets affected by the Trams to Newhaven Project

The Council and the project’s contractors have committed over £2.4m of funding to support local business via a series of measures intended to maintain the accessibility, vibrancy and desirability of the affected streets. The primary aim is to provide support to the diverse range of independent businesses along the route.

Recognising that the tram works have the potential to affect business as usual in the local area, the Council previously invited feedback from the local business community on a set of measures. These measures have now been developed following feedback from local traders, members of the public and interest groups. An outline of the measures we are putting in place going forward, along with more details on how these will work, can be found below.

Support measures in detail

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Logistics hubs

Three logistics hubs at strategic locations serving Leith Walk and Constitution Street. This means that goods coming into or out of a business, where loading cannot be accommodated, will only need to be transported by you or our team over short distances.

Logistics officers

  • help businesses get goods into and out of their premises, where access is difficult and will also provide best in class customer service
  • have been trained in manual handling, lifting and moving heavy loads and are fully insured to carry out their work

Businesses should book slots in advance, where this is practical to do so.

Residents can also speak to the logistic officers about bulky items they are having delivered such as sofas and fridge freezers.

On-street customer service staff

Our logistics officers have been trained, in collboration with Edinburgh Trams, to provide best in class customer service and advice.

Each of our team members will become local champions for the area in which they work, getting to know local businesses and business owners, local facilities and residents.

We offer help with accessing services to those with limited mobility or disabilities.

Provide directions to assist people in finding displaced bus stops, taxi ranks, bike parking and other relocated transport options affected by the works

Business support service

Our Business Development Manager can help:

  • businesses build on their business case and plan for the years ahead, through the works and beyond.
  • recommend free business development courses in areas such as branding and social media marketing
  • signpost businesses to other support routes and funding for things that are related to improving how businesses operate and provide support and assistance in making applications to these schemes.

Register your interest in complimentary business support through our partnership with the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.

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Open for business campaign

Local on-street and in-store marketing making use of site hoardings, street art, and a wide variety of other media to make sure the message is loud and clear

Promotion on digital channels.

Local discounts funded by the Council

We are working with deal site itison where customers can purchase vouchers online to spend in local stores at a discounted rate. The discount is funded by the Council.

Remittance for deal site vouchers redeemed in store will be made to the businesses by the Council.

Businessses will receive 100% of the voucher's value.

If you are a business taking part in the discount scheme download our digital itison toolkit to help promote voucher redemption via your own online channels.  

Keeping the local area clean and attractive

Full-time street cleaner to keep the streets clean and clear of litter and dog fouling.

A scheme to enliven the street that will include a collection of small and larger murals on street furniture based along the route. Find out more about the street art mural scheme. 

Temporary parking areas

We have created temporary waiting areas for visitors / customers of businesses on Leith Walk that can be used for up to 90 minutes. 

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Business Continuity Fund

  • November 2019 on Constitution Street
  • June 2020 on Leith Walk

The Trams to Newhaven Business Continuity Fund has been established to provide a means of support for businesses that suffer short-term cash flow issues during the construction of the project. This will give those businesses affected access to funds that will help to alleviate any short-term pressures on business operations. The criteria for accessing this fund is set out below.

To be considered for financial support from the business continuity fund, a business must:

  • be situated on a street affected by the tram works (or on a side street whose only access is from an affected street or in the immediate vicinity of the works)
  • have been operational for at least 6 months prior to construction start date at this location;
  • have had Trams works outside their door for more than 3 months;
  • derive the majority of its revenue from customer footfall; and
  • be an independent retailer with no more than 4 branches

COVID-19 Update

The business continuity fund has been established to support businesses experiencing hardship as a result of the Trams to Newhaven construction works. The COVID 19 pandemic has had an impact on businesses in the area and it is important we are able to distinguish what between the two.

Using benchmarking figures that are available, the latest figures show that retail sales minus online sales across the UK have fallen by 12% over a six month period. Please note we continue to regularly review figures to ensure our benchmarking reflects what is happening to retail.

To allow us to process applications, businesses’ will need to provide us with full details of their financial situation. To do this, we will need to understand the impact on profits over a minimum of a three-month period and be able to compare this year on year. To do this, we will require the following details:   

  1. What monies the business is paying out to keep operational – this will include items such as rent, utilities, staff payments, etc. Businesses must declare any support you have received from the UK and Scottish Government as part of the COVID 19 pandemic (eg; furlough scheme, business support grants, etc)
  2. What income the business generated over the same time period.
  3. How this compares to the same time period last year
  4. Any changes to how the business operates (eg: reduced hours, reduced staffing, reduced offering, etc)

We will then deduct the impact of COVID 19 to determine hardship as a result of construction.

What qualifies for funding?

  • Rent payments
  • Staff overheads e.g. wages
  • General operational costs e.g. utility bills
  • Business rates
  • Other costs agreed as essential at the discretion of the Council

Level of Financial Contribution

To ensure that the fund operates in an effective way and works for the largest number of businesses as possible, there are some limits on the level of financial contribution that each individual business can qualify for:

  • Maximum number of single payments to each affected business over the construction period:3
  • Maximum amount paid out in any single payment £3000
  • Maximum fund available to any qualifying business over the construction period £6000
  • There will be a minimum waiting time of three months between the processing of each application.

Apply for support

Download our Business Continuity Fund application form, fill in the details plus any attachments then email this to 

You must provide evidence of financial difficulties via bank statements and accounts as requested. These are detailed on the application form.

Please note the following:

  • A payment from the Business Continuity Fund will be classed as a grant. A grant awarded on a valid application does not need to paid back.
  • Information provided will be verified against other information sources held by us. This will assist application processing, fraud prevention and for auditing purposes.
  • Applications may be subject to delay if incomplete or incorrect details given.
  • A business bank account is required for the monies to be paid into.
  • If successful, monies will be paid within four weeks on completion of a full application and once all information and evidence has been verified. 
  • If a payment is made on the basis of false or inaccurate information, it may result in arrangements being made to recover the award, and legal proceedings being initiated.
  • Any grant awarded must be declared for tax purposes or if applying for any other forms of support in the future.

Applications must be made within three months of the end of construction directly outside the applying business.

Community fund

A fund to support local arts groups, community groups, artists and festivals.

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