Five Ebrington businesses have been able to make the next step in the Covid-19 recovery process after receiving a combined £25,000 in grants.
The Stables Inn, Walled City Brewery, Enterprise North West, Urban 3D and Atelier, who are all based within the Ebrington site, applied as a collaborative group for the grant as part of Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Covid Recovery and Revitalisation Scheme which is funded by the Department for Communities, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the Department for Infrastructure.
Through the grant, the Stables Inn installed a supplementary toilet area to provide the best possible hygiene conditions for helping reduce the potential spread of Covid-19, and the Walled City Brewery purchased a set of two commercial branded parasols for the outside front of their building, allowing them to maintain 70%+ of their normal clientele and provide shelter from the elements during inclement weather.
Enterprise North West used their grant to purchase two pods which allow clients and companies more flexibility, and for workers to exit their office and work independently in another area of the building with social distancing implemented.
Urban 3D installed an exterior paved meeting area for safe and Covid compliant open-air meetings and a lunch area for office staff, while Atelier installed a similar patio area and outdoor furniture for staff and customers to relax.
Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey said, “As businesses begin to open up again, I am delighted that the funding provided through my Department has been able to make a significant contribution to meeting the challenges we face. As can be seen by the collaboration between local and central government and local businesses, we are all working together to improve the lives of our communities.”
In a joint statement from the five businesses involved, Stephen Doherty (The Stables Inn), James Huey (Walled City Brewery), Carrie McCafferty (Enterprise North West), Paul Doherty (Urban 3D), and Ronan Stewart (Atelier) said that the grant has gone a long way in promoting Covid-19 safety within their respective businesses, and in bringing the public back to Ebrington.
“This has been a challenging year across all sectors and navigating the recovery journey and the next steps has been something each of us have had to plan for.
“Receiving such substantial financial support took a lot of weight off our shoulders in terms of that process, and greatly assisted in speeding things up when making our respective businesses safer and more welcoming for both customers and staff through the installation of toilets, pods, and outdoor furniture and facilities.”
Jodie McAuley, The Executive Office’s Co-ordinator for the Collaborative Project, said,
“As a collaborative group we feel this assistance will go a long way in increasing footfall on Ebrington. Our aim with the grant has been to instil confidence and give reassurance to customers and visitors to the site that all necessary measures have been put in place to comply with Covid-19 regulations and that it will be a welcoming space.
“We’d like to thank the Department for Communities, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and Department for Infrastructure for this funding supplied through the Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme, and our thanks to Derry City and Strabane District Council for assisting us in using this funding practically and efficiently.”
Kevin O’Connor, Council’s Head of Business, said: “It’s fantastic to see this grant being put to use by the collaborative businesses within Ebrington, which is a key site in the economic development of the city.
“As with so many businesses across our Council area, these five businesses have faced significant revenue losses and have had to furlough staff which, naturally, is not an easy thing for any business to do.
“They’ve all also incurred additional expenses, like many other businesses, in terms of Covid-19 safety measures such as signage, personal protective equipment and additional cleansing.
Mr O’Connor added: “Hospitality businesses like the Walled City Brewery and The Stables Inn are key to the growth of the Ebrington site and this funding has allowed both to offer a Covid-19 safe outdoor area which meets all customer needs.
“Enterprise North West’s business model is based on clients being able to use their office space, so this grant funding has allowed them to provide extra assurances to those clients and in turn to steadily increase revenues.
“Atelier and Urban 3D have both faced the extremely difficult task of opening their new Ebrington premises during the pandemic. That has presented understandable challenges for both, but with this business grant they can now take another positive step forward. “As a Council we are very pleased to work with all of the businesses in encouraging and supporting their recovery.”
Murphy Announces Business Rates Revaluation
Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has today announced a revaluation of all 74,750 non-domestic properties, delivering on his commitment for more frequent revaluations here.
Known as ‘Reval2023’, this process will result in a new non-domestic Valuation List being used to calculate business rate bills from April 2023.
Announcing the revaluation, Minister Murphy said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the economy resulting in changes between business sectors and this will feed through to changes to the rental values of many properties.
“Although the last revaluation was just over a year ago in 2020, I have asked Land & Property Services to bring forward another revaluation in the shortest possible time.
“Reval2023 will maintain fairness and ensure businesses are paying rates which take account of the impact of the pandemic.”
Commenting on support provided to businesses, Minister Murphy added: “Since April 2020, I have provided over £500 million of additional business rates support, with many businesses paying no rates at all over two years. The Executive has also provided significant financial support to businesses in the form of grants.
“As we look ahead to economic recovery and given the large scale of a revaluation it is important this work gets underway now.”
Business rates are charged on most non-domestic premises including shops, offices, warehouses, factories, hotels and pubs as well as utilities such as gas, water, electricity and wind farms.
Land & Property Services will begin collecting property information from business ratepayers later this year. This important information will form a database of new rental values as at 1 October 2021, instead of the current 2018 values, and will be used in assessing new rateable values for every property.
Town and City Centre Investment Helping Thousands of Businesses in Their Recovery
A £19.3million funding programme to support town and city centres recover from the impact of Covid-19 has helped thousands of businesses across councils, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has said.
Launched in August 2020, initial funding for the Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme was for measures such as shop frontage and awnings/canopies; outdoor furniture; heaters and queueing systems. More recently the funding support longer term initiatives such as the creation of cycle paths and pedestrian walkways to encourage car-free shopping, small environmental improvements and the use of open space and vacant premises to provide safe facilities.
Total funding for the scheme was made up of £12million from the Department for Communities, £5million from the Department for Infrastructure and £2.3million from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
Speaking after visiting business in Enniskillen who availed of the funding Minister Hargey said: “The Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme is an excellent example of collaborative working and was created to help and support our urban and rural businesses deal with the impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic. In total the funding has supported over 3,000 businesses across the north which has helped them to reopen safely. The funding has also been used to encourage people back into our towns and city centres to spend time, to support our local businesses and ultimately to help keep our town and city centres alive and prosperous.
“It has delivered funding of £1.29million to Fermanagh & Omagh District Council to support a range of projects including grants to support businesses across the entire Council area as they prepared a pathway out of lockdown by assisting them to provide a safer shopping experience for all their customers. I was pleased to see at first hand today how some of this support has been received by businesses in Enniskillen.”
Cllr. Chris McCaffrey (Vice Chairperson) Fermanagh & Omagh District Council added: “Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is committed to working in partnership to improve the lives of all the people of the district and this approach has delivered tangible benefits making the district an attractive place to live, work and visit.
The Council has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the Department for Communities over a number of years and it is a partnership we look forward to continuing to develop into the future for the benefit of our businesses and the wider community.
The £1.2million funding through the Covid-19 Business Recovery and Revitalisation Grant Aid Scheme has been used to support businesses to respond to the impacts of the Covid-19 health pandemic, to encourage people to support local to aid economic recovery and to deliver schemes which will promote and revitalise our town centres.
The Council will continue to work with the Department for Communities and other partners to provide assistance to local businesses and aid the recovery of the district into the future.”