Minister announces new Vibrant Business Destinations scheme

Date published: 31 January 2022

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has allocated £475,000 to Belfast City Council to strengthen the competitiveness of retail communities along arterial routes.

Minister Hargey sitting at her desk

The Vibrant Business Destinations scheme is a pilot initiative that will enable Belfast City Council to support business groups to develop focussed action plans for their area and apply for funding of up to £40,000 to deliver initiatives aimed at increasing footfall and creating more vibrant destinations.


It is open to business groups outside the core city centre and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), that wish to set up a new, constituted business association or reenergise existing business associations that have been inactive.


Minister Deirdre Hargey said:

“This will specifically support those traders who are outside the city centre boundary and established BID network, to come together with Belfast City Council to drive forward the regeneration and competitiveness of their area. 


“The pandemic has undoubtedly had an impact on our high streets.  This is just one of the initiatives I am delivering to help breathe life into these arterial routes in Belfast.” 


The scheme will be led by Belfast City Council and interested groups are invited to submit an expression of interest. If successful, they will go on to a two-stage process to develop an area-based action plan and will be eligible to apply for funding up to a maximum of £40,000. 


Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, Councillor Ryan Murphy said:

“Retailers, particularly those who are not in our city centre or on the High Street, have been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic, and indeed the challenges that existed before Covid.  We are committed to supporting our retail sector as we continue our Covid-recovery journey, and we want to make sure those businesses outside of the city centre also feel supported.  This scheme will help to strengthen the competitiveness of business destinations along Belfast’s arterial routes and make them more vibrant.  I would encourage those who are eligible to get in touch, complete the expression of interest and help shape and deliver this important initiative.” 


Belfast City Council is inviting expressions of interest for those wishing to apply to the programme. More information is available here 

Notes to editors: 

  1. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office on email
  2. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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