A confectioner based in Andover has received a sweet surprise after getting a cash boost for its Chantry Centre stall.

Joanne Tierney, the woman behind Sweet Ideas, was given a £250 Independent Retailer Grant from Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) after establishing a high street presence in the Andover BID Shared Shop.

She said: “The shared shop is a great option for me to launch Sweet Ideas onto the High Street as it keeps the overhead costs lower. It is a great boost to be awarded the Independent Retailer Grant from Test Valley Borough Council to help get up and running.”

The shared unit was first announced back in November, occupying a unit opposite from the Toy Arena in the Chantry Centre. Work has been underway since then to make the space ready for its grand opening.

Six businesses have signed up so far, including Wessex Spirits, The Andover Tap, CJM Eyewear, Junction Road Curiosities, Eitri Forge and Sweet Ideas.

Before May, Joanne would have been eligible for a £1,200 grant in addition to the rent-free space in the shared shop. However, following a vote by the TVBC cabinet, the council is now able to offer lower cash grants provided equivalent support is made. Those in the BID shop are now eligible for just £250 after three months of occupancy.

Joanne received this money after setting up her sweet business in 2015. Initially operating at children’s parties, fairs, wedding buffets and car boot sales, she decided to make the move into bricks and mortar.

The grant has been used to invest in new stalls and display units for her wide range of sweets, as well as extending into biscuits packaged in boxes from the TV show Friends.

She was given the money by St Mary’s Ward member Councillor Iris Anderson, who said: “I wish Joanne all the best with her confectionary business. The grant scheme is a great opportunity for new local businesses and the shared shop offers an affordable way to set up a shop front presence on the High Street.”