Since our last newsletter issued in March, who would have thought we would now be in the midst of a global pandemic with businesses and retailers throughout the country facing unprecedented challenges. Nevertheless, the Ballymena BID have regrouped and are adjusting to the ‘new normal’. It is with this in mind that I thought it would be good to update you on what is happening with the BID and its renewal work, which has been clearly impacted.
Firstly, I wanted to let you know that the Government have amended the BID Regulations so that those BIDs, of which Ballymena is one, going to ballot in the coming months can do so now up to 31March 2021. This means that we can concentrate on letting you attend to the more immediate priorities of your business and for us to help support you in the coming months. Having taken soundings from local businesses, large and small, it was however felt important we have a plan in place as we move slowly into the critical rebuilding and recovery phase.
It is vital we do this for some key reasons:
- We will need to promote and market Ballymena as a place to shop and visit along side supporting individual businesses through the recovery.
- We believe that there is likely to be stimulus funding from Government and possibly other agencies either later this, or early next year, particularly in relation to retail, tourism and hospitality. To access and maximise this we will require a new plan and a robust working partnership.
- People are using local shops more than ever for essential shopping and leisure/exercise activities at this time rather than going to larger locations or travelling further. The local offer is also likely to be opened first during the phased recovery. It is therefore important that we are in a position to engage and retain this market.
- Our competitive towns and cities, whether will not have gone away and will be fighting hard for a share of this business during the recovery. Below a number of businesses describe how they are coping with the current situation and their thoughts on the coming months. Overleaf we have set out the new timetable, an opportunity for you to let us know what is happening for you at the moment and what will help you most when lockdown is eased in the coming months. We encourage you to keep following the prevailing advice on isolation and social distancing but hope to welcome you back again soon.