Communities Minister announces £300,000 to support businesses

Date published: 19 June 2020

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has confirmed she is allocating £300,000 to Business Improvement Districts (BIDS).

The funding will ensure that the eight BIDs operating here (3 across Belfast City Centre, with one each in Ballymena, Enniskillen, Strabane, Coleraine and Newry) can continue to play a key role in bringing local businesses and other stakeholders together to help regenerate their areas and to improve their local trading environment. 

BIDs are developed, managed and paid for by the business sector by means of a compulsory BID levy. 

Minister Ní Chuilín said:

“These local partnerships have a proven track record of success in supporting local businesses, providing strong leadership, and driving forward the renewal and regeneration of our town and city centres.  Their role will be even more important in the weeks and months ahead. 

“I recognise that the ability of some businesses to pay their compulsory BID levy will be severely hampered by the challenging environment they have faced.

“This funding will help with the operational costs of each BID so they can carry on their vital work of supporting their businesses as we move into the critical recovery phase from the current crisis.”

The announcement follows Minister Hargey recently writing to Councils to explore how the Department can further assist town and city centres in their recovery.  This included offering use of Departmental owned assets and public spaces where this will be helpful to businesses and to outline the Minister’s intention to develop a Capital COVID-19 Recovery Revitalisation Scheme to fund works that will aid in the recovery of towns and cities. 

Notes to editors: 


  1. BIDs have been in place here since 2015 providing strong support to businesses and town and city centres. There are currently 8 BIDs in operation, 3 in Belfast (Belfast One, Cathedral Quarter and Linen Quarter) and one each in Newry, Ballymena, Strabane, Coleraine and Enniskillen.
  2. The support fund will be distributed to local Councils to be passed on to BIDs, and will help with their operational costs.
  3. A Business Improvement District (BID) is a mechanism that has been recognised as being successful in bringing local businesses and other stakeholders together with the aim of regenerating their areas and improving their local trading environment.  BIDs are developed, managed and paid for by the business sector by means of a compulsory BID levy which the non-domestic ratepayers within the proposed BID area must vote in favour of before the BID can be established.
  4. The Department for Communities takes the lead in promoting and supporting the development of BIDs as a key component of its commitment to help strengthen the competitiveness of our towns and cities.
  5. In March, the Department for Communities took steps to amend the legislation to allow a BID to extend their BID arrangements until 31 March 2021 thus delaying any BID ballots due this year. This will allow businesses space to focus on coping with the economic shock and getting back operational, before being asked to decide whether to participate in BID arrangements for the following 5-year period.
  6. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office on email
  7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  8. Follow us on twitter @CommunitiesNI

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