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Belfast City Council prioritises Covid-19 city recovery

Date: 18 Sep 2020

Belfast City Council has set out an extensive plan detailing how it will support communities, businesses and vulnerable people as the city continues to face considerable challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘Belfast: Our Recovery’ maps out a wide range of practical support across the themes of our city, our services, our communities, our environment and our digital innovation.

Councillor Christina Black, Chair of Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee said: “As civic leaders, we’re bringing together our resources to work with the NI Executive, its departments, key city partners and communities so that we can keep citizens safe, whilst continuing to safely deliver high quality essential services during this pandemic.

“At the same time, we’re working to build business resilience, community capacity and digital innovation. We’re investing in jobs-led growth of our key sectors, concentrating on developing people’s skills, regenerating and animating our city centre and building connectivity between it and our arterial routes.  And we’re harnessing the opportunity to accelerate our path to a zero carbon future.

“The last six months have demonstrated once again just how resilient Belfast’s people are – and how much we can achieve if we all pull together. We’re absolutely focused on getting our great city back on the road to recovery – on protecting our communities, improving their quality of life - and on realising our ambitions for Belfast’s inclusive growth and prosperity.”

The council will be working alongside communities and city partners to deliver a series of medium and longer-term interventions to build the foundations for Belfast’s sustained recovery. 

Actions include:

  • Working with the Department for Communities, Department for Infrastructure and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to implement a £3m Revitalisation Fund to assist the city’s recovery efforts and support the planning and safe reopening of the city and key arterial routes.
  • Delivering the £3.4m Forth Meadow Community Greenway project funded by Peace IV to create new opportunities for people to safely use outdoor space and improve connectivity
  • Delivering a programme of weekend cultural and arts animation until January 2021.
  • Adapting services to make sure they are as safe and accessible as possible.
  • Investing £8m in the redevelopment of Avoniel Leisure Centre and £17m in the restoration and extension of Templemore Baths.
  • Working with central government and other funding bodies to bring forward further financial support packages for communities and the third sector to help address many of the social challenges which will be amplified as a direct result of the impact of the pandemic.
  • Working with local communities and partners to bring forward an ambitious, unique and significant programme of investment in tourism assets, infrastructure or products that will attract additional footfall and expenditures into our neighbourhoods – including plans for a major transformational visitor destination that would serve as a catalyst for the economic, social and cultural regeneration of the city centre.
  • Working with the Department for the Economy and other partners to ensure people gain the necessary skills to remain in or enter the local workforce.
  • Bringing forward a new £8m neighbourhood regeneration fund to drive recovery and transformation in communities.
  • Revamping the business start-up offer and supporting social enterprises and co-operatives
  • Boosting key growth sectors through the £850m Belfast Region City Deal investment.
  • Re-imagining the city centre, including addressing the need for increased city centre living.
  • Identifying investment opportunities for the development of clean energy infrastructure and exploring zero-emissions transport infrastructure.
  • Enhancing digital literacy and skills development to support people to access employment.
  • A Renewed Ambition programme with our private sector partners – Team Belfast.
  • Creating a world class innovation district, smart port and smart city core to showcase our global ambition and digital capability to attract investment, talent, businesses, and create new and better jobs.

Belfast City Council will be drawing on Belfast Region City Deal investment, public land assets and digital innovation amongst other levers to help sustain and create jobs, provide skills and employment programmes and support community facilities and local businesses.

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