Council sets up forum to lead Borough out of coronavirus

ANTRIM and Newtownabbey Borough Council has set out detailed plans to establish forums to strengthen two of the sectors most heavily impacted by COVID-19.

The Retail and Town Centre Re-opening Mobilisation Team and Tourism COVID-19 Recovery Team will focus on collaborative working between local businesses from across the Borough and the council in an effort to boost the local economy.

To date, council has supported local businesses through free mentoring and webinars on a range of topics including recovery planning, reopening with impact, financial management, critical financial analysis and selling online.

The recent launch of a free texting service, where businesses can text BUSINESS to 80039 for help and advice has been a great success and contributed to the overall business support available.

Taking it to the next stage, these new bodies will facilitate the immediate need for coordinating support to the retail and tourism sectors, focusing on recovery action plans whilst representing Borough-wide interests.

They will also assist those retail and tourism businesses seeking guidance and support on the safe reopening and scaling up of their businesses.

The Council is also working in collaboration with the Department for Communities toward joint initiatives.

These include central hand sanitisation stations and support for businesses to adopt to further improve health and safety for customers in response to COVID-19.

A key focus of any potential funds will be to drive footfall into the town centres.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman John Smyth welcomed both initiatives.

“Our retail and tourism businesses have been two of the most severely affected sectors by COVID-19 and I am glad Council is working with them on their road to recovery,” he said.

“Making Antrim and Newtownabbey a more prosperous place for its people is a key part of the Council’s ambition for the Borough, and these business communities are at the heart of our towns and villages.

“It is important that we facilitate and encourage all businesses to work together to bring the public spaces across Antrim and Newtownabbey back to recovery.”

For more information on the business support available visit the council website or Text BUSINESS to 80039.

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