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Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

Council ‘Serves Up’ Grant Funding for Local Portadown Café

With grant funding over £8,000 from council’s Covid-19 Revitalisation and Recovery Grant Scheme, Portadown café Unch has been able to purchase new furniture and equipment to help maintain a Covid secure environment for their staff and customers as well as increase their capacity and introduce a new operating model.

Portadown sandwich and coffee house, Unch, gets a boost of over £8,000 funding from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council’s Covid-19 Revitalisation and Recovery Grant Scheme.

Led by ABC Council, in conjunction with the Department for Communities and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, the grant scheme launched last summer and offered local businesses the opportunity to apply for financial assistance of up to £20,000 to address some of the operational challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Securing the grant in October 2020, the Portadown eatery purchased new tables, chairs, an outdoor awning and café barriers as well as sanitiser stations, a laptop and printer – not only helping the business maintain a Covid secure environment for employees and customers but also enhancing their capacity to serve customers and introduce a new suitable operating model.

With their new laptop and printer, Unch has developed a new online ordering system, including contactless ordering and payment for food and drink; their new furniture has enabled them to utilise both indoor and outdoor space, increasing their capacity to cater for customers in a Covid safe, comfortable and welcoming environment.

“I am delighted to see the tangible benefits council’s Covid-19 Revitalisation and Recovery Grant Scheme is making to the borough’s business community,” commented Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr.

He continued: “Adding real value to Unch, the introduction of these new Covid secure measures and equipment goes a long way in helping the business adjust and adapt to the needs of their customers while continuing to operate within the current guidelines – ultimately supporting their long term survival and growth.”

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said:

“My Department introduced the Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme to support the recovery of our towns and city centres post pandemic. Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has received over £2.2 million through this programme.

“I am delighted to see that these grants are supporting local businesses, helping to breathe life back into our towns and city centres and ultimately keep them safe, alive and prosperous.”

Based on the Portadown high street and at the Carn Industrial Estate, Unch offers a range of sandwiches and drinks, accommodating both sit and take away options.

Joanne Gillespie from Unch said:

“The health and wellbeing of our staff and customers is paramount to us at Unch. Having received the funding through council’s Covid-19 Revitalisation and Recovery Grant Scheme we’ve been able to continue trading and working in a safe and welcoming environment.”

Receiving 1,000 applications, the Covid-19 Revitalisation and Recovery Grant Scheme has invested over £1.1 million into local rural and urban businesses to date – awarding 125 grants to help fund projects and equipment to support safe trading and social distancing requirements.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

New Business Start-Up Grant Scheme Launched

Pictured at the launch of the new Business Start-Up Grant Scheme (L-R) Councillor Declan McAlinden, Chair of Economic Development and Regeneration Committee; Dermot Hicks, representing the partnering enterprise agencies; Alderman Glenn Barr, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon; and Nicola Wilson, Head of ABC Council Economic Development department.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council launches new Business Start-Up Grant Scheme to support local budding entrepreneurs.

Led by ABC Council in partnership with Armagh Business Centre, Banbridge Enterprise Centre and Craigavon Industrial Development Organisation, the new Scheme will offer a limited number of cash grants of up to £500 to assist with the development of new businesses across the borough.

Now accepting applications, the Scheme is open to new start-ups based in the borough who have joined the Go For It Programme since 1 July 2021, completed their business plan by 30 September 2021 and will begin trading within six months of finishing the Programme, demonstrating the greatest potential for growth.

Speaking at the launch of the Business Start-Up Grant Scheme, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr said:

“With an abundance of skilled, ambitious and hardworking people, our borough has long been praised as a strong entrepreneurial region. As a council, we recognise the important role entrepreneurs play in ensuring inclusive recovery and growth across our local economy, which is why we are committed to continuing our support within this key business sector.

“We hope this Scheme will help support the creation and sustainability of new business start-ups within the borough; and I would encourage anyone that is eligible to speak to their local enterprise agency to find out more.”  

Helping eligible entrepreneurs fund some of the expenses associated with the start-up process, the grant aid can be used to cover everything from rent, rates, new equipment and stock to training memberships, courses and the fit out of business premises. 

Speaking on behalf of the partnering enterprise agencies, Dermot Hicks said:

“We are delighted to be able to offer this support to emerging businesses in the borough and we hope that it will encourage more people to pursue their passion of starting their own business.”

To find out more about the Programme, eligibility and assessment process, get in touch with your local enterprise agency:

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Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

Council Makes ‘Summer of Play’ Pledge

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council gets behind the ‘Summer of Play’ campaign to help give children the space, time and freedom to play this summer as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

From fun-filled summer schemes, £1 swims, wide-ranging sports sessions to energetic dance clubs, imaginative play programmes and more taking place right across council leisure centres, community centres, parks and open spaces, the borough’s youngest residents are all set to have a summer to remember!

But, wait there’s more! As ABC Council cannot celebrate this year’s National Play Day in the usual way, it will instead be rolling out an exciting new programme, ‘It’s Good to Chalk’ during its summer schemes, play programmes and Love Parks Week initiatives this July and August.

With boxes of wonderfully colourful chalk, children on these programmes can let their imaginations run wild and create everything from beautiful pavement drawings to original outdoor games and activities. What’s more, the programme will encourage the children to talk about their creations, helping them explore and express their thoughts and feelings.

Deputy Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Jackie Donnelly said:

“The pandemic has posed a challenging and uncertain time for many, not least the borough’s children and young people – with many having to spend large periods of time indoors, inactive and isolated from friends.

“Now as Covid-19 restrictions ease, we are delighted to pledge our support to the ‘Summer of Play’ campaign, which champions the importance of children having the time and safe space they need to reconnect and play with each other, and to enjoy a wide range of playful activities, so they can start to recover.

“With so many exciting events, programmes and initiatives happening across our borough, we hope our youngest residents will have the freedom to have endless fun with their friends!”

ABC Council is also encouraging local families to try ‘It’s Good to Chalk’ at home this summer. So, why not grab some chalk and bring all the colours of the rainbow to your own driveway – don’t worry it’ll wash off. 

As we would love to see your creations, please send any pictures of your chalk-filled fun to our Play Development Officer, Joan Noade on:

If you would like to find out more about the ‘Summer of Play’ campaign, get tips and advice on all things play, and more visit:

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