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Rediscover MEA + shop safely to support local businesses


Lesley McCaughan, owner of Follow Coffee, Ballymena

Town centres in Mid and East Antrim are beginning to come alive again as lockdown eases, and if you’ve been out and about in the shops, restaurants and cafés, you might well have noticed our brand new #RediscoverMEA and #ShopLocal, #ShopSafe advertising billboards and digital displays.

Through our Town Centre Recovery Group task force, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, supported by the Department for Communities, has been working alongside our wonderful traders and a range of other stakeholders to make sure our borough is safe to visit and open for business.

We want shoppers and visitors to enjoy the unique welcome and hospitality that Mid and East Antrim is famous for – from Ballymena, to Larne and Carrickfergus, and everywhere else in between!

There really is so much to #Rediscover in our three main towns, and the new marketing campaign features unique straplines to reflect the distinct visitor experience offered by each –


• ‘We have it all, Ballymena’;

• ‘Larne, a hidden gem’; and

• ‘There’s more to us, Carrickfergus’. From craft coffee shops and warming local cafés to fine dining at top-class restaurants, our borough has something to offer everyone, and the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme has proven very popular with many people availing of the discount during the first half of this month.

Local retailers in the fashion, beauty and services sectors have also been running special offers for shoppers since reopening, and through initiatives including ‘Confidence Stickers’ and ‘Retail Safety Kits’, Council has been supporting businesses to help shoppers and staff stay safe as we move through what has been termed ‘the new normal’.

Mayor, Cllr Peter Johnston, praised the work of the business community and Council throughout the pandemic to date.

“The Covid-19 lockdown period served to remind us just how greatly our town centres in Mid and East Antrim are valued and how much every shop, business and hospitality establishment located within them – no matter how large or small – contributes to our local lifestyle and visitor offering.

“In recent weeks I have witnessed first-hand the endless hours of hard work that these businesses have invested – an indeed will continue to invest – in ensuring their premises are safe and comply fully with government guidelines around operating in our new normal.

“The various enhancements that have been made right across our borough will help reassure people that Mid and East Antrim is open for business and is a safe place to visit and enjoy. I hope as many people as possible can get out and #RediscoverMEA and all that we have to offer.”


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