A newly installed parklet outside Juliano’s, Ballymena.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has installed four bespoke outdoor seating areas across the Borough, funded through the Department for Communities as part of its Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme.
Designed and installed by award winning Meristem Design, the semi-permanent outdoor seating can be found at Broadway in Larne, Castle Street in Carrickfergus, Springwell Square in Ballymena with Julianos Café in Ballymena receiving the first parklet of the Borough.
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said:
“I am delighted to see the positive change being delivered through the Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme, which my Department introduced to assist our towns and city centres in their recovery.
“These outdoor seating areas are examples of how simple measures can breathe new life in to our shared spaces and add vibrancy to our town centres.
“Coming into the summer months, the seating areas will provide a place for people to meet outdoors, socialise with friends and family and support local businesses as they recover from the pandemic and navigate the cost of living crisis.”
Front row: Kathryn Campbell DFC Regional Development Office, Councillor Robin Stewart, Lynda Hill LRG Second Row: Mark Dobbin Vice Chair of Larne Traders Forum, Eamon McMullan Capital Regeneration Manager, Andy King LRG.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Noel Williams, said:
“As a Council we are committed to providing designated facilities that encourage citizens across the borough to get outside and realise the benefits of fresh air and exercise for both their mental and physical wellbeing.
“These bespoke seating areas and parklet are fully-accessible and provide an ‘oasis of calm’ in our town centres for citizens of all ages to enjoy the environment around them, whether enjoying a quiet moment in their busy day or enjoying the company of others.”
One of Council’s primary objectives in creating these new spaces is to revitalise the Borough’s town centres and make them more attractive to citizens and visitors, with the aim to increase footfall and stimulate increased economic activity following the negative impacts of Covid-19 on its town centres.
“We want to encourage people back into Mid and East Antrim’s town centres to spend time, to support our local businesses and ultimately to help keep our towns alive and prosperous,” the Mayor continued.
Additional elements of Council’s Capital Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Scheme include a Small Business Grants Scheme, a Town Centre Re-Purposing Grant, three Pop up Shops, the Shop MEA App, a series of Street Art, the provision of outdoor furniture to hospitality businesses, the installation of three living walls and town centre animation activities.