Council hits the High Street to welcome businesses back to towns

Michael Scott

Reporter:

Michael Scott

Email:

michael.scott@ulstergazette.co.uk

AS businesses and retailers once again open their doors to welcome customers back, councillors have been out and about across the borough’s urban centres visiting local businesses.

Lord Mayor, Councillor Kevin Savage, Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Kyle Savage and Chair of the Economic Development and Regeneration Committee, Councillor Brian Pope were carrying out the visits as part of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s We’ve Missed You campaign.

‘We’ve Missed You’ is a new initiative, which has been made possible through funding from the Department for Communities’ (DfC) Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme, and is aimed at promoting a strong support local message encouraging everyone to spend locally and show their love for local businesses at this crucially important time for many, after a long period of closure.

DfC Minister, Deirdre Hargey said: “The Department for Communities introduced the Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme to support the recovery of our towns and City Centres.

“Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has received £2,209,000 funding from the total £19.3m fund allocated across all Council areas. This is part of our ongoing commitment to the regeneration of our town and city centres post pandemic.

“We hope that initiatives such as this will encourage people back into our towns and city centres to shop locally and support our local businesses. This will ultimately contribute to the long term viability and prosperity of our towns and city centres.” 

Encouraging everyone to get behind their local business community, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Councillor Kevin Savage said, “It has been fantastic to see many of the borough’s businesses open their doors and welcome back customers once more, and I am delighted these steps to economic recovery are set to continue with the reopening of many more businesses including our indoor hospitality venues and tourism accommodation in the very near future.

“Having recently visited many businesses across the borough – and more planned in the weeks ahead - it is evident that they will need our support now, more than ever, as they begin to operate again in a continuously challenging world due to Covid-19.

“The resilience that many of these businesses have shown throughout this pandemic is a testimony to their commitment to this borough, and I have every confidence that they will continue to receive the support they need in the weeks and months ahead to get back on their feet.

“And while obstacles undoubtedly remain, these steps towards normality certainly bring a sense of hope that brighter days ahead.”

Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Kyle Savage was also keen to support local business, saying, “Our city, towns and villages have been quiet for a long time now, and our local businesses have suffered dramatically throughout this past year, particularly in key sectors such as contact services, hospitality and retail.

“As these sectors begin the gradual reopening process in the weeks ahead, I am encouraging everyone to support their local borough businesses by making a special effort to book an appointment or pay them a visit.

“ It is vitally important that we remember - local businesses provide local jobs, which support local families’ right across this borough.”

Chair of the Economic Development and Regeneration Committee, Councillor Brian Pope added: “It is so encouraging to see our local businesses once again welcome customers through their doors.

“The council has been actively working with local businesses to ensure that social distancing and hygiene practices have been implemented and all Covid-19 regulations are met, enabling a safe environment for customers and staff alike.

“With our ‘We’ve Missed You’ campaign we want to encourage shoppers to return to the experience of face-to-face hospitality and personalised customer service, and if shopping online is necessary, to use one of our many local businesses with an online presence. It is essential that we all play our by shopping and spending local.”

‘We’ve Missed You’ will feature a wide variety of promotional activities in the weeks and months ahead, as the council continues to encourage everyone to stay local and support our borough businesses to help them breathe life back into our city, towns and villages.

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