In the last issue I reported that Shahida Sarwar was on a quest to find a green grant to improve her refrigeration and to make some improvements to the 500sq ft Guide Post which she and her husband Safiq have run in Choppington, Northumberland, for the past 25 years.

Shahida was at the time waiting to hear back from her local council where she had gone on the basis that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. She now reports back: “The council put me through to the Arch Group, which deals with grants and so on. They told me there is nothing available at the moment, which is disappointing.”

Yes, it is, but it was what we both feared and expected.

I looked Arch up and read that it is an ‘arm’s length’ company set up by Northumberland County Council, delivering regeneration schemes and attracting inward investment to Northumberland.

It has an asset base value worth £50m of homes, commercial land and property. and is Northumberland’s largest private residential landlord with more than 700 properties which it plans to grow to 1,000 by 2015.

It is a pity that it can’t spare a few quid to help Shahida, but at least Northumberland has a mechanism in place should funds once again become available.

And I ask again - anybody had any luck with regeneration via their own council, either for their own business or for the area in general? It would be nice to report some good news on this.•