RETAILERS in Hayes are being offered free advice on how to improve the look of their shops to boost business.

Hillingdon Council, in partnership with retail consultants, International Visual, will be offering in-store training, and sharing their expertise on visual merchandising and driving sales in four-week courses.

Once implemented, the impact of the programme will then be monitored over six months.

Participating businesses may also be eligible for a grant of up to £4,800 to spruce up their store, after Hillingdon Council successfully bid for cash from the Mayor of London's Outer London Fund, a £50 million money pot to boost prosperity in fringe boroughs.

The project will also support local firms in giving apprentices from Uxbridge College the chance to gain work experience.

It is being piloted in Hayes, with similar projects in Ruislip Manor and Northwood to follow, as part of the borough's commitment to regenerating town centres.

Two hundred businesses in the areas are set to benefit.

Councillor Douglas Mills, cabinet member for improvement, partnerships and community safety, said: "Initiatives like these will give traders a helping hand to maximise their potential while offering residents an enticing environment in which to shop.

"Hillingdon Council is committed to helping local businesses through these tough economic times."

If you are interested or for more information, go to  or call 01895 250 461.