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A new dawn for Belfast City Centre Management

Belfast City Centre Management, the organisation behind improving business life, public spaces and the safety of Belfast city centre, has undergone a strategic review of its operations resulting in a move towards a more commercial model and new governance structure.

Mark O’Donnell, Director, Belfast Regeneration Directorate, at the Department for Communities is pictured with Geraldine Duggan, Belfast City Centre Manager

This structural change will see Belfast City Centre Management change its Board structure from a representative Board to a refreshed Board structure to reflect a more commercial approach to its delivery.  The new commercially focused Board will comprise of a group of independent strategic experts committed to taking the organisation forward by identifying new opportunities and projects.

The company will also convene a new City Strategic Forum, ensuring that the skills, insight and expertise of the outgoing Board members, alongside other strategic partners, will continue to influence and encourage strategic decisions for the benefit of the city.

Projects which will benefit from the new structural change and direction will include:-

  • City Centre Beat Initiative, now in its fourteenth year of operation, provides two dedicated police officers to improve safety for the business community in the City Centre.
  • Retail Crimewatch, an award winning project with over 400 members, is aimed at protecting businesses by issuing exclusion orders to prolific offenders helping to reduce shoplifting and retail crime.
  • Festive Lighting, supporting the retail and hospitality sectors during their busiest trading periods by installing and expanding the scheme across the City Centre.
  • The Night Time Volunteer Steering Group comprises volunteer groups who support people in distress and those who are vulnerable or in need.  Belfast City Centre Management acts as a coordinator enabling the groups to share information and support the statutory bodies during key events and weekends.  The groups can have over 200 volunteers on the city’s streets on any one evening providing vital support to all.
  • City Centre Performance, undertaking research across a number of key areas, Footfall, Retail Sales Tracking, Vacant Property Analysis and Health Check and Bench Marking; providing essential data for members of its Retail Steering Group.

The new Board will enable Belfast City Centre Management to use this information to make more independent, strategic decisions allowing future projects to be more financially viable, controlled and performance-led allowing any profits made to be reinvested for the good of the entire City.

A process will now begin to recruit the new Board members which will be completed based on skills and expertise relating to business, finance and marketing.

Geraldine Duggan, Belfast City Centre Manager said: “We are delighted to begin the process of change within Belfast City Centre Management.

“Our role within the city has always been to deliver additional services to Belfast City Centre. These fall under three themes; Public Space Management, Safer City and Economic Performance which contribute in a measurable way to a cleaner, safer, more attractive, accessible and economically vibrant city in partnership with our strategic partners the Department for Communities and Belfast City Council.

“Our new model will help better these projects and more importantly make them more commercially focused, enabling the inclusion of other strategic stakeholders who will bring fresh ideas and scope on how we can drive Belfast City Centre Management forward for the benefit of everyone who works, lives and resides in the City Centre.

Lisa Toland, Head of Economic Initiatives and International Development at Belfast City Council said: “This marks a positive change in one of our city’s most important organisations.

“For over 20 years, Belfast City Centre Management has been providing an essential service in the city and the new proposed changes will only seek to enhance their offering.

“Belfast City Council will continue to work in partnership with Belfast City Centre Management and look forward to the new Board and Strategic Forum which will further enhance the offering in Belfast City Centre.”

Mark O’Donnell, Director, Belfast Regeneration Directorate, at the Department for Communities said: “Business Engagement is one of Belfast City Centre Management’s core strengths. The importance of this role has been evident lately as the city centre tries to recover from the devastating Primark fire.

“The formation of the City Strategic Forum will enhance the Department’s working relationship with key stakeholders to work towards the sustainable growth of the City.”

For further information on Belfast City Centre Management visit http://www.belfastcentre.com