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How a grant can help expand your business

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Grants can be a vital ingredient for projects on the cusp of viability. When Sangita and Rick Tryner were seeking to open their second café-delicatessen, they identified a sensational building in a great location, with the tiny drawback of needing serious repairs. 

Located in Leicester city centre, the Grade II-listed former Victorian bank had been vacant for a decade and had dry rot and water damage. The lantern glass roof needed reglazing. Fortunately, Leicester City Council bridged the gap with a £200,000 grant, part of a £1.1 million heritage fund. 

City mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This is a smashing building. I am thrilled with the plans, which will see it reopened as a place for people to enjoy.”

In June the café, called Delilah, opened its doors, and the couple showed the people of Leicester the scale of the transformation. The location is now a premium-quality hangout and gourmet retailer, lifting the feel of the St Martin’s area. “It’s been a hard slog,” says Sangita. “We multiplied the grant by four with our own money.” 

She says applying for a grant can be a tough affair. “It’s about perseverance. There are grants out there, but you need the right people to buy into it. The mayor has been a big advocate.” 

The key to winning the cash was showing what Delilah would do for the local community. Now the deli is open and thriving, it’s clear that, although the project was hard work and stressful, the results are definitely worth it.