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[19 FEB 99] BUSINESS NEWS
Grants For Environmental Improvements

Businesses in Coventry are set to be invited to apply for 100,000 of environmental improvements as part of a unique scheme.

Groundwork Coventry, an environmental and regeneration trust, is pioneering the project funded by European money to improve five firms in the Foleshill part of the city.

The successful companies will receive up to 19,000 worth of improvements for around 5,000 – a figure they should be able to recoup in savings as a direct result of the work.

Groundwork programme manager Marisa Gunn, who has masterminded the project, said the scheme was a golden opportunity for companies to improve their workplace and make financial savings.

She said:

"All companies have to be prepared to commit at the start is 50. For that they will get an assessment of how they could make environmental improvements and savings. It is really a two-day health-check on their premises carried out by Coventry’s Environmental Advice team, who have been our partners in the scheme.

"The firms will be given a drawing detailing the improvements and a budget plan. That service alone would normally cost 1,200."

Ten companies will be chosen by a panel made up of representatives of Groundwork, The Chamber, the Foleshill Regeneration Board and the Foleshill Economic Regeneration Action Group which will then reduce the list to a final five.

The successful firms will then have to pay the remainder of the money for a detailed internal environmental review carried out on their premises, a site survey by landscape architects and an action plan, before the relevant work is carried out.

Gunn added:

"The environmental remit is very broad. Internally it could provide more efficient lighting or a waste compactor, while outside it could be security fencing, painting, surfacing and landscaping.

"The idea is that the scheme will work on two levels. Firstly the companies involved will be able to make savings through improved efficiency that will recoup their investment.

"Secondly, they will be improving their surroundings and making their premises more attractive for customers and employees.

"First impressions can be very important when attracting clients and this level of investment is considerable.

"Ideally we are looking for small to medium companies who would not otherwise be able to make this level of improvement.

"The changes will set them on the path to achieving ISO 14001 which is a recognised environmental standard and a useful marketing point.

"We are confident that firms will take up the offer. It will be doing them and their surrounding communities only good. We are now asking for interested companies to apply and the whole scheme, including all works, will be completed by the end of 2001.

"The grant is coming from the European Regional Development Fund through Coventry City Council, which is expected to give its full backing to the scheme next week. This will be a real opportunity for firms to bring new funds into the city for the benefit of them and the community."

Councillor John McNicholas, who is a member of Groundwork Coventry’s board of directors and chairs the City Council’s Environment and Transport Policy Team said:

"This will be a mould-breaking partnership between the City Council and Groundwork to help local businesses improve their efficiency, reduce waste and, at the same time, help create a more attractive environment for everyone."

Any company interested in applying for the improvements should contact Marisa Gunn on 01203 554454.
    

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CWN / Environment / Organisations / Groundwork Coventry / 19 Feb 99

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