COCOA Black in Peebles is one of 50 businesses across the Scottish Borders to benefit from the local authorities popular Shopfront Improvement Grant Scheme.

The scheme, which has now been running for three years, has allocated over �285,000 in total of grant aid to local traders. �100,000 has been allocated again this year and will be used to carry out a whole range of works next year from new signage, joinery work to repainting to brightening up our local town centres.

The initial project began as a pilot with �60,000 allocated in the first year in 2010/11. With such a strong initial response, the Council has agreed to continue the scheme annually since then.

SBC's Executive Member for Economic Development, Councillor Stuart Bell commented: "I am delighted so many of our local town centre businesses are taking advantage of this scheme.

"It not only provides grant aid to local retailers and town centre businesses and improves the visual appearance of our town centres but it also has an important secondary impact on the local economy.

"Many local traders, such as painters, joiners, stonemasons and sign manufacturers have gained vital additional work. Much of the spend has gone directly into our local economy.

"Our Borders towns each have a unique and distinct character and we are keen for them to be vibrant places where people want to shop and to socialise. It is great that this scheme has funded the refreshing of so many shop fronts across the area. I hope that as a result more people visit our towns to shop and to enjoy their attractions." For more information visit, call Julie Hogg on 01835 826527 or email