First Bus has launched two funds that are supporting small businesses in York and Bradford.

The funds build on a campaign begun by First Bus last year to support the high street and encourage more bus use.

The York Go Greener Fund was launched by First York on 9 May and will run until 31 May. A second fund opened in Bradford by First West Yorkshire on 23 May will run until 14 June. Both make £2,000 available up to 10 successful applicants in each city.

The money will support plans by independent businesses to build better environmental practices and help customers make eco-friendly shopping choices in their respective cities.

The York Go Greener Fund is supported by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in North Yorkshire, and the York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub. FSB Development Manager Carolyn Frank and Chair of the Business Board at York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership will decide successful entries in a panel with First York Managing Director Ian Humphreys, and the winner will feature in a film about the region’s “sustainable achievements and businesses” being made by the York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub, featuring leading figures on climate change.

First West Yorkshire
Paul Matthews and Victoria Robertshaw in Bradford. Photograph by Richard Walker/ImageNorth

In Bradford, First West Yorkshire is being supported by Green Street, which helps small retailers become more sustainable. A people’s vote will determine the winner of a fully funded sustainability review of their business, with expert advice paid for by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Entries will be assessed by a panel which includes First West Yorkshire Managing Director Paul Matthews, Green Street’s Founder Victoria Robertshaw, and Programme Lead Vincent McCabe.

Mr Humphreys and Mr Matthews say: “Thriving, successful independent small businesses on the streets of the city and our outlying communities will always be essential to Bradford’s prosperity. We know one of the challenges for them and others of all sizes, is how to achieve growth at the same time as helping to reduce the carbon footprint of operations and customers to meet regional and national environmental targets.

“Sustainability in products and services is increasingly valued by customers and we want to help small business owners by giving them a financial boost to build on what they’re doing and put new plans into action.

“We are really pleased that Green Street and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have joined us in launching the Bradford Go-Greener Fund. Their guidance in creating a simple application to understand and identify strong business ideas on sustainability has been invaluable.

“We would encourage York and Bradford’s small business owners to get thinking how the Fund could help them and submit an entry quickly. There is not long to get applications in as we want to be able to make the awards in June so they can get started as soon as possible.”