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Council urges Ballymena businesses to get behind new BID to boost economic recovery

Stephen Reynolds, Chair of Ballymena BID and Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Peter Johnston pictured last year

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim is reminding businesses to take part in the ongoing ballot process to determine the future of the Ballymena Business Improvement District (BID). Now in its fifth year, Ballymena BID is chaired by well-known, local businessman, Stephen Reynolds, and supported by Council as well as a collective of local businesses. It was established to encourage growth, development and continued investment into the town centre. Already it’s been instrumental in helping to build and maintain a clean, safe, accessible and welcoming experience for local shoppers and visitors alike.

BID has launched a new five-year plan, which will generate in excess of £1m, as part of a post-COVID, economic recovery strategy for Ballymena town centre.

The Board are keen to ensure they get the support of the town’s business owners to secure the funding, and Mayor, Councillor Peter Johnston is reminding local businesses to have their say:

“Council has always been a firm supporter of BID and now we need the businesses to vote to make sure it still exists to help rollout support across the town.

“If the BID is successful then Ballymena will see over £1m in funding to help roll out plans to boost economic recovery. We’ve seen the impact the BID has had in good times for businesses, but especially now as we grow and recover from the devastating impact of Covid-19, it’s needed more than ever.”

Alderman Audrey Wales MBE represents Council on the BID Board:

“A lot of the ballots have been posted to business premises so make sure you check there and place your vote. We need local businesses to work together to help forge a new and vibrant path for the town centres as we recover together in a new world post Covid.

“For a successful Yes vote, 25% of businesses must vote and 50% of eligible businesses must be in favour of the Ballymena BID Renewal Business Plan. So support from the local business community is paramount to the survival of this important initiative.” Stephen Reynolds, Chair of Ballymena BID, and proprietor of the award-winning Front Page Bar explained:

“I am encouraging everyone to get their postal vote completed and returned as early as possible and vote YES. The past five years have allowed us as a board, most of whom operate a business in the town, to work closely with other local business owners to decide what our town needs most.

“We operate at local level, using our combined local knowledge and experience to continue to formulate the best way forward for Ballymena. I feel strongly that the BID business model will be fundamental to the success of our town centre recovery strategy.

“In recent years, prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, statistics demonstrated a 6.9 per cent increase in footfall for Ballymena, bucking the national trend. We plan to build on that and have outlined our strategy in our Ballymena BID Business Plan document for 2021-2026.”

The Ballymena BID was the very first BID district established in Northern Ireland in 2015. There are now over 300 Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) throughout the UK. It is a tried and tested business model.

For further information about the Ballymena BID please contact Emma McCrea – Interim Manager, Ballymena BID

Download BID business plan here: Download your Ballot Paper here:

Please note your ballot paper re-issue will be posted on March 23rd, please then contact Emma to arrange a collection time or she will arrange to have a courier sent to ensure it arrives in advance of March 30th.


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