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Belfast City

£690K Awarded to Help Business Clusters and Community Groups

More than 30 projects to reimagine and revamp city spaces have received the green light, thanks to funding provided by the Department for Communities’ Covid-19 Recovery: Revitalisation Programme.

Belfast City Council has awarded over £690,000 to 32 business clusters and community groups across the city as part of its efforts to support recovery in the post Covid journey.

A diverse range of environmental improvement schemes including parklets, shop front and environmental improvements will now be possible – and the projects are expected to deliver long-term benefits for the city centre, local communities and local areas. 

Councillor David Brooks, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us all to rethink how we use our city’s spaces and places and given us a renewed impetus to make our city more vibrant, diverse, and inclusive. We knew that our businesses and community groups would come up with innovative proposals to help increase footfall and boost spend in local businesses and we’re very much looking forward to seeing these projects come to fruition, because they’ll help our communities and our city recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

Covid-19 Recovery : Revitalisation

The Covid-19 Recovery: Revitalisation Programme Business Cluster and Community Grant Scheme gave groups and partnerships across Belfast the opportunity to apply for capital grants worth £10,000 – £25,000 to enhance their local areas and to help businesses and community groups to reopen safely.

A number of parklets will be created, converting areas of land to encourage people to socialise safely in pleasant surroundings. Business clusters will carry out shopfront improvements and environmental enhancements to improve the appearance of their businesses and outside space; and environmental projects will include improvements to a community farm, community gardens, sensory gardens, upgrading of an outdoor art installation and a mural project that will encourage communities to enjoy the outdoors using inclusive, shared spaces.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “This investment is a further example of the support my Department has provided so that practical measures can be put in place to support our cities, towns and communities as they recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic. In addition to my Department’s business as usual programmes, I have also sought to support Councils, businesses, community groups, and ultimately our people through the pandemic via the Covid-19 Recovery: Revitalisation Programme. This has enabled support for a wide range of schemes including physical interventions and streetscape improvements, signage and dressing, access and connectivity, sustainable and active travel measures, and additional street cleansing and neighbourhood safety.” 

The investment is part of a wider programme of revitalisation that will be delivered in partnership with the Department for Communities.

Belfast City

NIEA Sign Ambitious Prosperity Agreement with Belfast Harbour

Pictured at the RSPB’s ‘Window on Wildlife’, Belfast, are (from left-right) David Dobbin, Chairman, Belfast Harbour, Joe O’Neill, Chief Executive, Belfast Harbour and Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA. Photo Credit: William Cherry PressEye

Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA has signed a wide-ranging and ambitious three year Prosperity Agreement between Belfast Harbour and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

The agreement will see the Harbour commit to reducing CO2 emissions, reducing waste, improving air and water quality and enhancing both terrestrial and marine biodiversity.

Speaking about the 11th Prosperity Agreement signed by the NIEA, the Minister said: “This is a very ambitious agreement which is an excellent example of Green Growth in action where business can grow and prosper while creating tangible environmental improvements including reducing carbon, waste and water usage.

“The agreement will see Belfast Harbour aim for a net zero target by 2030, improve biodiversity, improve air and water quality, reduce waste and aim for zero waste to landfill. This Prosperity Agreement will also see a benefit to the marine environment and I am delighted that my officials in DAERA will work even more closely with the Harbour to enhance the marine and terrestrial habitats on their 2,000 acre site.

“Belfast Harbour will invest in environmentally friendly and renewable technologies, develop its own energy, air and sustainable procurement strategies and encourage its staff, tenants and port clients to adopt more sustainable transport and resource usage practices.”

Pictured at the RSPB’s ‘Window on Wildlife’, Belfast, are (from left-right) David Dobbin, Chairman, Belfast Harbour, Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA, Joe O’Neill, Chief Executive, Belfast Harbour and Gregory Woulahan, RSPB.
Photo Credit: William Cherry PressEye

David Dobbin, Chairman Belfast Harbour said: “Belfast Harbour’s commitment to building a truly sustainable, clean, green Port is core to our Trust Port purpose. As we operate, maintain and improve our Port and Harbour Estate, our ambition is to achieve net zero carbon emissions from our operations by 2030, to reduce pollution, and to protect and enhance our natural environment and marine diversity. 

“Work to deliver this is already well underway, as we introduce electric vehicles, develop our use of renewable energy, instigate studies to better understand our marine diversity and embed sustainable development across our 2,000 acre Harbour Estate.

“We are delighted to partner with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency as we accelerate and deliver our sustainability goals. We recognise that through coalition and partnership, together we can achieve so much more. By putting people, place and the environment at the heart of our sustainable business model, Belfast Harbour is developing a clean, green port, where people and planet thrive.”

Joanne Sherwood, RSPB NI Director, added: “There has never been a more important time to invest in the protection and restoration of nature. The pandemic has served as a reminder that our economy and the health of society are dependent on a flourishing natural world: decisions taken now will have a major impact for many years to come so we welcome this commitment from Belfast Harbour.”

The Minister concluded: “It is very fitting that we are signing this agreement at the RSPB Belfast’s Window on Wildlife. This is symbolic, and demonstrates Belfast Harbour’s commitment to placing the environment and sustainability at the centre of their business and I am pleased that my Department will be working in an even closer partnership with them.

“Many businesses are already thinking green – they are already doing the right thing and reaping the benefits. We want to work with progressive organisations like Belfast Harbour who are committed to sustainable growth while enhancing the environment.”

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Belfast City

Children Asked to Share Ideas for Lord Mayor’s Time Capsule

Young people can send their suggestions to the Lord Mayor’s Office via email rsvp@belfastcity.gov.uk or share their ideas on Council’s social media channels using the hashtag #BelfastTimeCapsule

Schoolchildren from across Belfast are being invited to share their ideas on what should be included in a time capsule which will be sealed by the city’s Lord Mayor, to be opened in 100 years.

The project is part of Belfast City Council’s Decade of Centenaries programme and aims to provide a snapshot of life in 2021 for generations to come.

Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey has himself chosen a number of items to include in the time capsule, including a NI women’s football shirt and  a special medallion to mark the centenary of the formation of Northern Ireland.

“This year marks a hugely significant milestone in Northern Ireland’s history, marking 100 years since the first Northern Ireland Parliament was opened,” said Alderman McCoubrey.

“While this milestone will mean different things for different people, Council’s Decade of Centenaries programme aims to provide a space to reflect on key historical moments and events from 1912-1922 that shaped Northern Ireland and Ireland.

“And as we look ahead to the next 100 years and wonder what life might be like then, I thought creating a time capsule would be an interesting way of capturing a little piece of history and preserving it for generations to come, so that they might have an insight into life in the city in 2021

“I’m hoping that young people will provide some inspiration as to what should be included; all suggestions are welcome but we would like it to be something that is particularly relevant to 2021 and the times we are living through.”

Making History

As a huge supporter of the Northern Ireland football team, Alderman McCoubrey said including the women’s team’s football shirt was an easy decision.

“The achievements of the NI women’s football team in  making history and reaching the Euros is something we can all be very proud of,” said Alderman McCoubrey.

“I hope that when this time capsule is opened in 2121 this achievement will be seen as having been something of a turning point for women in sport, and that it is seen to inspire more young women and girls to get involved in competitive sport.”

Belfast City Council was awarded funding from the Shared History Fund, which The National Lottery Heritage Fund is delivering on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office, to deliver a number of projects to mark Northern Ireland’s centenary year, including the Lord Mayor’s time capsule project.

Young people can send their suggestions to the Lord Mayor’s Office via email rsvp@belfastcity.gov.uk or share their ideas on Council’s social media channels using the hashtag #BelfastTimeCapsule

The deadline for suggestions is 4pm on Wednesday 19 May.  All suggestions received will be considered by the Lord Mayor for inclusion in the time capsule which will be stored at City Hall until it is opened in 2121.

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