This week saw the official launch of the Ballymena Business Improvement District’s (BID’s) five-year business plan, which will see over £1M invested directly into Ballymena town centre.
Almost 70 attendees, made up of local business owners, stakeholders, strategic partners and board members were welcomed by local businessman Stephen Reynolds who was re-elected Chairman of Ballymena BID at their AGM recently.
Guest speaker Simon Hamilton, CEO of Belfast Chamber, addressed a receptive, early morning audience at the breakfast event in Rococo Restaurant in the town.
Economic recovery, shared town and city centre learnings, alongside a cohesive strategy for business success for all local businesses, was on the agenda.
The five-year plan, which will double as part of a post-COVID economic recovery strategy, is aimed at getting “local investment in local issues by local business owners.” The overarching aim of the BID’s focus is to help re-establish Ballymena as Northern Ireland’s premier retail and hospitality destination of choice.
The BID board, most of whom operate a business in the town, encouraged fellow traders to engage as part of new sub-committees to assist with decision making on areas such as marketing and promotion, making Ballymena a safe, clean and welcoming destination, as well as providing business support for local businesses.
Andy Storey BID Vice Chair said: “Today is a hugely significant day as we officially kick-start our plans for making Ballymena the premier shopping, working and hospitality town in Northern Ireland and we encourage every business owner to engage and play a part in that success.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Ballymena Chamber of Commerce, Ballymena Retailers Against Crime (BRAC) and PSNI to help meet our targets and objectives.
Andy concluded: “By pooling our resources and combining our various skill sets we can make a bigger impact to assist with the recovery process and continued growth that is vital to the success of any local economy.”
Stephen Reynolds added, “Ballymena was the first BID to be established in Northern Ireland in 2015. It has been deemed a huge success and acquired an 80% YES vote in favour of a 2nd five-year term at the recent re-ballot.”
Emma McCrea BID Manager continued: “Today’s brilliant turnout at our launch event is testimony to the commitment of the local decision makers and business owners as we navigate our way out of the past 18 months.”
“This morning we unveiled an exciting calendar of events for the next year which will help Ballymena offer a more experiential offering for those visiting our many independent and big-name stores.”
Police in Mid and East Antrim have been working closely with Ballymena Business Improvement District (BID) to ensure our town centre is a safe and welcoming place.
Neighbourhood Inspector Beverlie Reid explained “The retail community plays an important role in our Borough and we are delighted to be working with BID to ensure retailers and customers feel safe.
“Retail crime can cost businesses thousands of pounds, impacting on sustainability and ultimately putting jobs at risk.
“The partnership between police and the business and retail sector helps us to collectively address challenges and resolve issues quickly. As well as providing a visible presence in the town centre we are able to offer advice and information through our Crime Prevention Officer on a range of issues from counterfeit money and scams to identifying, preventing and effectively tackling theft and distraction offences.
Inspector Reid concluded: “We want our Neighbourhood team to be present and approachable in our town centre and we value the support of BID in terms of building relationships and helping keep our community safe.”
For details of the Ballymena BID’s business plan visit www.ballymenameans.com.