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Antrim and Newtownabbey

Freedom Of The Borough For Local Superbike Champion, Jonathan Rea

World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea returns home to Northern Ireland to a heroÕs welcome this evening. Family and fans where at Sixmile Leisure Centre in Ballyclare to greet the 3 time world champion. Jonathan is pictured with Councillor Paul Hamill is the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey. Credit: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has recently announced plans to award Jonathan Rea, the Freedom of the Borough of Antrim and Newtownabbey for his services to sport. The Ballyclare-born, superbike triple world champion, will be the first person to be awarded Freedom of the Borough since the two legacy Councils merged.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Hamill commented, “Freedom of the Borough is the most prestigious award that Council can bestow on its citizens and an appropriate award for a young man who is one of the leading lights of motorsport in the world. Jonathan has put Northern Ireland, his Borough and hometown of Ballyclare firmly on the world stage and I wish him all the best for the rest of his season, which I am sure will be another one of success.”

The ceremony will take place later in the year and will be announced via the Council’s Facebook and Twitter.

Antrim and Newtownabbey

Last Call for Rural Business Development Grant Applications!

Are you a small business in a rural area of the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough that would benefit from a grant of up to £4,999? Then make sure you apply for the Rural Business Development Grant Scheme!

Applications are currently being accepted by the Council on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) through the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme (TRPSI) with a deadline of 12pm on Friday 30 July.  
 
The grant of up to £4,999, at a 50% grant rate is applicable to capital items such as equipment, machinery, computers and an e-commerce website. To be eligible to apply, the business must have less than 10 full-time equivalent employees and not have benefitted from the grant previously. 
 
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb commented: “There isn’t long left before the application process closes, so I would encourage the small rural businesses of the Borough to apply now. With just under £5k available to these businesses, this can be a great helping hand to those that are recovering from the impacts of the pandemic, as well as the opportunity to grow and develop their business. On behalf of the Council, I would like to thank DAERA for the £62k funding made available for these grants as well as absorbing the staff costs.”  
 
Applications close at 12pm on 30 July 2021. For more information including eligibility criteria or to apply visit www.antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/ruralbusinessgrants or text Business Rural to 80039. 

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Antrim and Newtownabbey

Plans Approved to Secure the Future of Steeple House

Works are set to begin at one of Antrim’s most historic sites to refurbish Steeple House to its former glory. A Grade B+ listed building, Steeple House sits within a 17 acre parkland site which also includes the Antrim Round Tower, a scheduled monument which served as a bell-tower and place of refuge from raiders and is one of only two complete towers remaining in Northern Ireland.  

Once the location of a former medieval monastery, Steeple House was built in 1827 by the Fawcett family and later became the headquarters for Antrim Borough Council. A fire in July 2019 caused extensive damage to the listed building including the loss of its roof.   

Vice-Chairman of the Council’s Planning Committee, Alderman Fraser Agnew MBE said: “I am delighted that the plans approved by the Committee this evening will secure this important part of our local heritage. The plans ensure that Steeple House will be restored to its pre-fire condition, respecting the character, architecture and historic interest of the building. The planning proposal also received support and was commended by the Historic Environment Division, the Department responsible for listed buildings in Northern Ireland.”  

In addition to the refurbishment of Steeple House, there are plans by the Council for the wider park including new interpretive signage and pathways to promote greater access to the site, showcasing the Round Tower as a unique feature. Plans are also being developed by a third party to develop a section of the site as a healthcare facility. 

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