19/09/2018

Primark Donates £500,000 To Support Businesses Affected By Fire

Retailer Primark is donating £500,000 to Belfast City Council's City Recovery Investment Fund.

The fund is being set up after a number of businesses have been severely affected by the fire at the Bank Buildings which happened over three weeks ago.

A cordon remains in place and 14 firms have been closed for up to four months.

A Belfast City Council spokesperson said: "Primark is very keen to support small businesses in the city centre – in particular those that have been severely impacted by the fire.  The company has asked Belfast City Council to distribute this funding on its behalf.

"Belfast City Council is developing a City Recovery Investment Programme which includes immediate, medium and longer term proposals to support businesses, re-establish and sustain high levels of trading the city centre in the lead up to Christmas and beyond, increase connectivity across the city centre, ultimately ensuring the city’s economic resilience.

"The contribution made by Primark will be an important part of that overall programme delivery.
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"Council and its city partners will continue their engagement with traders and landlords. Following the outcome of Friday's meeting, more details will become available around how businesses can access the funding and when."

Ulster Unionist Party's Economy Spokesperson, Alan Chambers MLA, said: "I hope that this donation will lift the spirits of traders coming to terms with either a complete temporary closure of their premises, or falling trade resulting from greatly reduced footfall.

"The drop in trade can be very scary with the added worry of whether the customers will return when normality is restored. Traders can draw on their professional experiences to deal with competition and other adverse trading conditions but when the cause is totally outside your control, it is difficult to cope with the sense of helplessness.

"I am sure everyone trading in the city centre will welcome the Primark donation and also be reassured by the commitment given to Belfast by the company management to get back trading as quickly as possible. The disaster will doubtless have been quite a body blow to them as well. Hopefully Belfast shoppers will reciprocate this welcome gesture by continuing to support Primark once new premises have been located, and all the other traders in the city centre especially with the busy - and vitally important - Christmas trading period fast approaching."

(CD)

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