ANTRIM and Newtownabbey Borough Council is set to offer financial incentives to firms in a bit to encourage them to set up premises and employ local people
The scheme is part of a wider raft of plans to create new jobs, new places to work and new skills to boost economic recovery in local towns and villages.
With decades of under-investment, the departure of many businesses and jobs from places like Antrim town centre, and the ongoing effects of the pandemic, the council is hoping that a range of new measures could help stop the rot.
Creating jobs is a central focus, and the council says it has introduced a new policy to support businesses coming to, or expanding within the borough with a financial incentive.
This support will be targeted at important sectors such as advanced manufacturing and engineering, transport and logistics, construction and materials handling and food and drink manufacturing.
The council has also unveiled a new plan to support social and community enterprises in providing modern, accessible, fit for purpose workspaces.
This will involve re-using vacant units, and bringing forward plans for key developments this will attract people into town centres to work as well as shop, visit and socialise.
The council says it will support this by building skills and capacity of local residents to take advantage of these economic opportunities.
Funding will be provided to seven groups to assist with this.
Helping long-term unemployed people is the focus of Workforce Online - Path to Employment; Network Personnel - Job Match; and Enterprise NI – Exploring Enterprise schemes.
Now Group – Verve Project; and USEL – Stride Project are designed to support those with a disability towards employment.
GEMS NI Limited - Co-Ment Project and The Prince’s Trust do important work in developing young people, and NEETs.
Welcoming the new plans, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Jim Montgomery said: “These measures and funding will help boost our local economy, attract jobs, revitalise town centres, and build skills with young people and vulnerable groups.
“COVID19’s economic impact is severe, and I’m proud that the Council is leading the effort to building back prosperity.”
The Antrim Guardian has already revealed that plans are afoot to regenerate Antrim town centre, with new schemes earmarked for Ulster Bar Corner, Market Square and the Castle Mall area.