You may have noticed plenty of work happening around Antrim town over the past few years but there are more plans in place for the future. These plans will be implemented by Antrim Town Team and the newly appointed Chair, Michael Johnson and Vice Chair, Leslie Harte.
Michael is a local business man from Pizza Time and is looking forward to his year at the helm of the Town Team: “We have agreed our action plan for the year ahead which includes town centre ambassadors to help promote the town when large events are happening nearby. Footfall is declining nationwide as the popularity for the internet grows and we recognise that. In addition to bricks and mortar, we need to get an online presence so that our retailers are well equipped for the digital age. We will be rolling out business support mentoring on social media for those businesses who don’t have a presence or those that just need some help.”
Leslie is from Simpson’s Newsagents and is looking forward to his new challenge as Vice Chair: “The Antrim Town Team will continue to promote the town centre as a strong independent shopping destination with over 120 businesses, as that is our strength and unique selling point of the Town. Due to its popularity, keep an eye out for the return of the little book of vouchers and of course the annual business awards, to end the year.”
When you are out and about in the town make sure you take advantage of the free public Wi-Fi service and log onto the Antrim Town Team Facebook page, to keep up to date with offers and information about the town.
For more information on the Town Team projects, T. 028 9446 3113 ext. 31344
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.
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.