Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) has urged people to apply for the Northern Ireland High Street voucher scheme to help support and promote local businesses across the district.
The High Street voucher scheme is now open for registration with the first cards being issued at the beginning of October.
The £145m programme will offer pre-paid cards worth £100 to all over-18s and aims to help those businesses in retail and hospitality which were hit by the pandemic.
NMDDC recently launched a new campaign promoting the Council’s ‘Make It Local’ message to help relaunch the unique business offering that the district boasts, as well as stimulate the entrepreneurial resilience of Newry, Mourne and Down.
NMDDC’s Chairperson Cllr Cathy Mason said: “This campaign not only shines a light on the key sectors represented across the district but also highlights how businesses here have worked hard to establish a safe shopping practice in light of Covid-19 regulations.
“It has been a particularly difficult period for our local traders and the voucher scheme is a great initiative that has come at an ideal time as we approach the winter holiday season. The initiative will help boost our local businesses following the drop in footfall and reduced trade brought about by the pandemic.
“Our message is clear; Newry, Mourne and Down is open for business. Our local businesses are outstanding, diverse and resilient. Now is the time to step up and support them by making it local. I would strongly encourage people from within the district to avail of the voucher and shop locally.”
Local businessman Darren Kearney, who is the owner of Oakley Fayre in Downpatrick, added: “We are so pleased to be open to near full capacity again, which has only been made possible with the support of our staff and loyal customers.
“This has been a difficult time for many industries and the hospitality industry has been hit very hard, so we welcome any incentive or investment scheme that will help bring people onto their local high street.
“Supporting local gives back to the small, family-run businesses that are the foundation of the Northern Ireland economy.”