$150,000 in funding available to activate local business precincts

07 May 2022

Businesses, not-for-profits and community groups are encouraged to apply for a share of $150,000 in funding for projects which activate or beautify the Hamilton, Wallsend and New Lambton business precincts as part of City of Newcastle's Special Business Rate (SBR) program.

Initiatives ranging from the Big Picture Festival, which saw murals painted throughout the city, through to free cultural performances in Gregson Park, have recently been funded through the program, with REMPLAN modelling showing an economic impact of $5.8 million for the $1.6 million invested in the program last year.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said this round of funding would allow for projects which drive visitation and economic activity in the city's suburban business precincts.

“City of Newcastle has received some truly innovative and unique proposals through recent SBR funding rounds, including Shakespeare in Civic Park and temporary 3D chalk art trails through the city, so we're looking forward to seeing what comes through for our suburban precincts," Cr Clausen said.

"Hamilton, Wallsend and New Lambton all have unique offerings as local business centres, and events, activations and beautification projects funded through the SBR program will give people another reason to visit.

"The funding available through the SBR program will see direct benefit to businesses by attracting visitation and making our local centres even better places to eat, drink and shop."

Key categories of funding in 2022 include: industry and business development; place activation and events; beautification and infrastructure development; and promotion, with up to $50,000 available in each suburban precinct.

Councillor Carol Duncan said over the past few years COVID-19 had created the toughest trading conditions suburban businesses had ever experienced.

“The advocacy of our BIAs in engaging with business owners to activate their precincts is vital in creating thriving business communities to help mitigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19,” Cr Duncan said.

"We're seeing the benefits of the BIA model across Newcastle, including in Hamilton where there are a host of new businesses popping up and even a new providore market establishing in James Street Plaza from this Saturday.

"We look forward to receiving a range of creative project ideas in the next round of SBR funding to positively benefit our local business precincts in Wallsend, New Lambton and Hamilton."

Applications for the New Lambton, Wallsend and Hamilton funding close on 20 May 2022.

More information about the Special Business Rate program and funding opportunities can be found at newcastle.nsw.gov.au/special-business-rates.

Projects previously supported by suburban SBR funding include:

· Hamilton 150th Anniversary Celebrations (Curious Legends)
A mini cultural festival was held in Hamilton's Gregson Park, in December to coincide with the 150th year anniversary of the suburb of Hamilton. Local artists, musicians, light installations and puppeteers activated the park. The community were also invited to participate in free workshops at Hudson Street Hum prior to the event to get involved with performances.

· Hamilton Hive Interactive Mural (UP&UP inspirations)
This project led to the design and painting of a mural on the exterior wall of the Community Hive building on Beaumont Street, Hamilton. The mural makes the space more vibrant and welcoming and encourages people to visit the Hamilton precinct which increases foot traffic for businesses.

· Walk With Us (Paul Maher)
This project is replacing a number of existing mosaics with safe, level, slip-resistant installations suitable for high foot traffic areas. The mosaics will beautify the Beaumont Street footpath, honour the suburb’s social and entrepreneurial history, encourage engagement with local businesses, and celebrate our shared cultural heritage and history.

· Hamilton Garden Tile Mural
Local ceramic artist, Ali Sobel-Read, in collaboration with the Kent Hotel, will create a unique artwork for local residents and visitors alike on a wall owned by The Kent on Cleary Street.