Press release -
Get ready to rediscover the High Streets of MEA
As the country gets ready to navigate its way out of lockdown, excitement is building in town centres across Mid and East Antrim.
It’s not just a new perspective on life many of us have after the past year of lockdowns, not seeing family, friends, celebrating weddings and remembering those we’ve lost – but a renewed energy to appreciate the small things like coffees, rummaging in charity shops, exploring outdoor markets and those all-important haircuts.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is fully supporting those businesses who are welcoming back customers and are here to make sure we all do it safely, to make sure we can keep them open.
Shoppers and pub-goers alike will see welcoming signage across the town centres and Covid-safe initiatives are being rolled out to help businesses reopen safely.
As well as Council’s Covid Confidence packs, available on its website, which is a handy “how to” for businesses, hand sanitising stations and friendly reminders are dotted along the centres to help crowds stay safe.
A number of further business support grants are also up for grabs to help bolster ones already launched throughout the pandemic. Council staff will be engaging with local businesses over the next few weeks to find out what further support is needed to help boost business and encourage footfall to the town centres. A number of business support schemes are continuing to roll out online covering topics for retail, start-ups and digital workshops.
The Town Centre Re-Purposing Grant scheme runs from 30 April – 30 June 2021 and offers up to £30k in investments to revitalise vacant properties.
An exciting new project to develop “Parklets” is in the pipeline with the idea being to bring businesses with limited indoor space, right onto the streets they’re located on with hedging, parasols and greenery areas allowing an array of opportunities that the owner’s may never have had.
Not only will this allow for full business diversification, boosting hospitality offerings, but bring some greenery to our urban areas throughout Mid and East Antrim.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Peter Johnston said: “We have come so far, and as restrictions ease, footfall is already up in towns across the borough. The last twelve months have been incredibly challenging for our local businesses but we are starting to see signs that better times are coming.
“As we look ahead to the reopening of all our businesses in line with the Northern Ireland Executive's Pathway out of Restrictions, it is important that we give our support to them, while also mindful that all the necessary safety measures have been put in place to protect the health and wellbeing of our entire community.
“With these latest grant schemes we want to enable the regeneration of our town centres as we continue our journey towards societal and economic recovery. Council’s vision is that by focusing on regeneration initiatives such as this, we will ultimately help boost footfall in our town centres to secure and grow an array of businesses futures for generations.
“Our Environmental Health and Town Centre Development Teams are on hand to support our businesses right now, so I would encourage anyone who wishes to gain this important Covid Confidence mark for their premises to get in touch.”
The Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme is to support towns and city centres in their recovery, with funding provided by The Departments for Communities, Infrastructure and Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
The funding is supporting a number of borough-wide initiatives, including four tranches of grant funding totalling to date £443,933 to 281 independent traders across Mid and East Antrim, enabling them to implement measures to make their businesses more ‘Covid-secure’.
For more information on Council’s Covid confidence scheme visit: www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/covid-confidence-scheme