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Communities Minister announces further £150,000 for Business Improvement Districts


Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey confirmed today that she is allocating an additional £150,000 to Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) to assist them with their operational costs.


This latest announcement brings the total additional investment in BIDs throughout the pandemic to £450,000.

BIDs are developed, managed and paid for by the business sector. They bring local businesses and other stakeholders together with the aim of regenerating their areas and improving their local trading environment.


Minister Hargey said:


“These local partnerships continue to support local businesses, and will play a key role in the renewal and regeneration of our town and city centres as they recover from the impact of the pandemic.


“The ongoing lockdown restrictions have impacted heavily on the collection of levies. This additional funding will help ensure that BIDs can continue to play a key role in bringing local businesses and other stakeholders together to help regenerate their areas.”


Currently there are eight BIDs operating here, with three across Belfast City Centre (Belfast One, Cathedral Quarter and Linen Quarter) and others in Ballymena, Coleraine, Enniskillen, Newry and Strabane.


The funding will help with the operational costs of each BID up to the end of March 2021.


BIDs are a tried and tested mechanism for bringing local businesses and other stakeholders together with the aim of regenerating their areas and improving their local trading environment. They are developed, managed and paid for by the business sector by means of a compulsory BID levy which the non-domestic ratepayers within the proposed BID area must vote in favour of before the BID can be established.


The Department for Communities takes the lead in promoting and supporting the development of BIDs as a key component of its commitment to help strengthen the competitiveness of our towns and cities.


In July 2020, the Department paid £300,000 to BIDs to cover six months operational costs following a reduction in BID levies due to the first wave of the pandemic.


The additional support will be distributed to local Councils to be passed on to BIDs.


Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, said: “I welcome this announcement of crucial funding for our Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).

“Ballymena’s BID was the first to be established in Northern Ireland, and it now sits at the very heart of our local retail and wider business community.

“Ballymena BID and the tireless work its members do for the town has never been so important given the huge challenges and pressures our business sector is under due to Covid-19, and it will play a critical role in our recovery and the levelling out of our economy as we emerge from this crisis.”