All About Tours Martin LaverWEBFour new businesses have opened in Ilkeston and Long Eaton with a helping hand from a scheme to revive empty shops.

The Golden Hello Scheme gives grants of £1,000 - an initial £500 plus £500 after ten weeks of trading - to owners of businesses moving into empty retail premises in the two towns plus Sandiacre and Sawley. It is managed by enterprise agency Erewash Partnership on behalf of Erewash Borough Council.

Gemma Worthington opened her business, Barefeet Wellbeing Lounge, in Ilkeston to help people with therapy sessions locally. Gemma, who suffers from fibromyalgia, said: "I have been interested in alternative therapies for a while because of my condition, but there was nothing in the area that offered a variety of therapies under one roof."

Her lounge offers Reiki, reflexology, hypnotherapy, colour therapy, sports massage, Indian head massage and holistic massage, using trained therapists who work different days. "The grant was a massive help towards preparing and kitting out the premises," she said.

Also in Ilkeston, Richard Chamberlain took over a closed eatery in Mundy Street and re-opened it as The Humble Rutland Cafe, which serves breakfasts, pies and takeaways. He said the Golden Hello initially helped with decoration and fitting out the premises, and the second instalment will go towards a new till. "

He said: "The scheme is great for new businesses, particularly when starting because of lack of cash flow."

Nicola Taylor said the scheme helped her achieve her ambition of opening a shop. She opened Tallulah & Delilah - nicknames for her daughters - in a former herbalist’s on Derby Road, Long Eaton, opposite the town hall. It specialises in dresses from the 1940s. Her grant paid for a logo and signage and marketing including branded stationery.

She said: ""The money was really helpful. What it paid for made a massive difference in attracting customers."

Nearby, in Midland Street, Martin Laver has opened travel agency All About Tours, in what used to be a photo studio but has been empty for four years. Martin is from the Laver family that ran coach holidays for many years. Two years ago Martin set up a new independent business, using his experience of the industry specialising in coach tours, mainly in the UK. It employs four people. Most of the initial grant has gone on signage and window decorating.

Councillor Mike Powell, Lead Member for Regeneration and Planning, said: "I am delighted that this successful, innovative scheme is still attracting applicants after several years. New businesses create jobs and also improve the street scene."

Contact Erewash Partnership for further information, or visit