TEN small businesses have been chosen to receive a share of £20,000 to boost their eco plans.

First York has unveiled the winners of its York £20,000 Go Greener Fund, which was set up support sustainable business plans.

The Blue House Bookshop, and the Blueberry Academy, a social enterprise which helps people with learning disabilities and difficulties gain work and life skills, are among the successful candidates.

The fund aims to help small businesses in retail, leisure, hospitality, health & beauty and other consumer services encourage eco-friendly high street spending and boost customer-led sustainable growth.

Applicants had until June 5 to make the case for how they would use the money.

First York ran the competition, with support from the Federation of Small Businesses in York & North Yorkshire and the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub.

Judges Ian Humphreys, managing director of First York, FSB development manager Carolyn Frank and Sue Jefferson, chair of the business board at York & North Yorkshire LEP, reviewed 29 applications.

The other winners are Angela Bare, Elisa Day Bridal, Fabrication Crafts, Forage Bar, Lodge Cottage Farm Shop, Plush Café, York Gin, and York Podiatry.

All entrants will be offered advice on sustainability from the Growth Hub.

Ian said: “The fund has uncovered many imaginative ideas and a real purpose among small businesses in York to develop their sustainability.

"All these plans will encourage customers to consider environmental choices when shopping and enjoying leisure time in the city and its communities.

"We intend to provide the funding in the next month so business can get started as soon as possible and continue efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of York.”

Carolyn said: “I hope that customers and other small businesses will be inspired by the winners’ projects to take their own steps to greater sustainability. With the costs of doing businesses rising, cash for investment in sustainability is often scarce, but this shows that by seeking support and thinking creatively, cost savings and increased sales can be achieved from sustainability.

"The long-term effects of small changes can transform businesses.

“The funding from First York has enabled these ten businesses to make a difference and to shine a spotlight on sustainability support from FSB and the Growth Hub, as well as our region’s net zero ambitions.”

Sue added: “It was a delight to see so many businesses on the sustainability journey, bringing forward multiple benefits with an exciting pipeline of ideas.

“The business community in York and surrounding area is clearly leading the way to meet consumer demand and be an inspiring showcase for others."

Videos of the top ten will go to a people’s vote in July with the winner being invited to feature in a film about sustainability.