In a few day’s time, the fate of the second term of Northern Ireland’s first ever Business Improvement District, Ballymena BID, will be decided.
And BID Board members, run by a collective of owners and representatives of local businesses, are urgently encouraging all local traders and stakeholders in Ballymena to come together and vote YES.
The 450 eligible business owners in the Ballymena BID area have until the 30 March 2021 to cast their postal vote. The businesses span retail, professional services, hospitality, leisure and tourism. For a successful YES vote, they need over 25 per cent of these businesses to post their ballot papers and vote. 50 per cent of those votes must be in favour of the Ballymena BID Renewal Business Plan.
The BID Board have big plans to build on the success of the first term, with the roll-out of their recently published Business Plan for 2021 -2026. If successful, it will see a budget in excess of £1M budget deployed within the town over the next five years, which will double as part of a post-COVID, economic recovery strategy for Ballymena town centre.
The first term, which has been hailed as a huge success by levy payers, stakeholders and board members has been instrumental in helping to build and maintain Ballymena as Northern Ireland’s premier retail and hospitality destination of choice.
Stephen Reynolds, Chair of Ballymena BID wants to build on that success.
He said: “The next two weeks sees us enter a crucial time for our town which will be fundamental to securing our integral place in the economic recovery of Ballymena.
“The past five years have allowed us as a Board, most of whom operate a business in the town, to work closely with other local business owners to decide what our town needs most going forward.
“We operate at a local level, using our combined local knowledge and experience to continue to formulate the best way forward for Ballymena.
“I feel strongly that the BID business model will be fundamental to the success of our town centre recovery strategy.
“The BID was established to encourage growth, development and continued investment into the town centre. During our first five-year term we have been instrumental in helping to build and maintain a clean, safe, accessible and welcoming experience for local shoppers and visitors alike.”
“I am encouraging everyone to get their postal vote completed and returned as early as possible and vote YES in favour of BID 2 for Ballymena.”
The Ballymena BID was the very first BID district established in Northern Ireland in 2015. There are now over 300 Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) throughout the UK. It is a tried and tested business model that works.
Stephen continued: “We now urgently need every local business owner to work together in mutual support to help Ballymena rebuild and recover during these challenging, economic times.
“As someone who has owned and operated various businesses in this town for the past 35 years, I genuinely can’t see a better way forward than the current BID strategy.
“As with every town centre, there will be challenges ahead. However, there’s a definite synergy to be had by everyone working together.
“That includes our colleagues at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Ballymena Chamber of Commerce and Ballymena Retailers Against Crime. Together everyone achieves more for the greater good of our local economy.
"As much as we have seen quite a number of returned ballot forms, there is still a substantial proportion which remain outstanding. With the shutters remaining down on many of our local businesses some local traders have experienced challenges in receiving their mail….including their BID ballot forms.
Stephen concluded: “We are now calling on our local business community to urgently support this important initiative and make sure you have posted your ballot before the deadline. If you have not received your papers, duplicate or replacement ballot papers are available by contacting our BID manager Emma.
“£We will then ensure that your vote is couriered in advance of the deadline. I would encourage all of you to vote YES in favour of the new Ballymena BID. The closing date for votes is 30th March 2021.”
For further information about the Ballymena BID or for duplicate ballot papers, please contact Emma McCrea – Interim Manager, Ballymena BID E: firstname.lastname@example.org M: 078 8544 0296 or 078 5413 3310 Or you can visit: wwwballymenameans.com